To the editor:
The Sept. 6 Journal-World article titled “Growing interest” leaves readers questioning the priorities of City Hall and the school district. Both are establishing “community gardens” because, as Bob Schumm says, it is absolutely wonderful we are showing kids what they can grow and how to take care of things. What?
Our school board proclaims budgetary problems that have led to staff reductions and school consolidation to save money, yet they want to hire a “community garden liaison” by October to oversee the community garden? Where are their priorities? None of our schools are at 100 percent levels on their student achievement testing. Some subgroups are significantly below standard. Wouldn’t a better priority be to expend valuable resources to improve student achievement in reading, math, science and history versus teaching them gardening?
The city of Lawrence has many critical economic issues regarding unemployment, sales tax shrinkage, empty storefronts and economic development. Community gardens do not rank among our critical priorities. Yet the city is wasting time planning how a community garden program might work? People are hurting. How about planning to significantly reduce unemployment in Lawrence and improve our overall economic climate?
Lawrence does not have a cohesive long-term economic plan for its future growth, industry mix, tax base mix, future financing requirements, etc. Such a plan would provide discipline in their decision-making and personal priorities. Currently any idea whispered in a commissioner’s ears distracts from critical priorities.
City Hall and the school district need to refocus their priorities.