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Archive for Sunday, December 30, 2012

Letter: Board integrity

December 30, 2012

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To the editor:

A recent article noted that voters were concerned that 2005 school bond funds were not used for their intended purpose and may still cause suspicion among voters. School Superintendent Rick Doll disagrees, stating that such arguments are not accurate. As a former school board member, I have to disagree with Dr. Doll.

At a board meeting that I presided over in 2006, a discussion was had regarding the construction of a $40,000 tower at Lawrence High School for aesthetic purposes. I disagreed with the proposal. The proposal to construct a tower was not in the original plan. The board promised the public that bond money would only be used for necessary projects such as improved science classrooms. After a lengthy discussion, the board voted 6-1 to allow construction of the tower. I believed the decision went against what the board told the community when we asked the voters to support the school bond.

In a 2006 article in the Journal-World, following the meeting, former school board member James Hilliard said he was astounded that the board had proposed construction of the tower and voters would feel like the “board had pulled the wool over their eyes.”

My commitment as a school board member was to provide the best resources possible to enhance educational opportunities for our students and teachers. Achieving this goal requires integrity and transparency. If this current school bond is approved by voters, then it is essential that the board proposal be accurate, equitable and honorable.

Comments

Milton Bland 1 year, 3 months ago

Rick Doll, the ultimate liberal! Use of public funds for any purpose other than the one the public approved is dishonest and probably illegal. It will be very interesting to see what the Kansas Attorney General has to say about this matter.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 3 months ago

It will pass, unless a bunch of local public employees get the ace in 2013 and then they feel a financial squeeze. They will start thinking with their pocket book and not how to get into others.

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lunacydetector 1 year, 3 months ago

a tower is very important in educating our children and if you don't agree then you must be against the children. that tower makes some children look up and when they look up they're forced to hold their heads up high - which is good exercise for the back and it makes the child look up, like looking up at their teacher while sitting on a single leg gravity defying, ergonomically designed, imported from germany chair in their classroom - that's situated to the right of the plasma flat screen high definition message board in the hall that tells the students that wednesday is half day/teacher gets an appointment with their doctor (to collaborate) day, or it notifies them 'what's for lunch.'

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William Ed 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm sure there will continue to be "errors of omission," as was noted in Dr. Doll's explanation of why funds were not spent erroneously when the "extra" funds were found from the last bond. He stated that there was a lease/loan entered into by the school board to cover a short fall in funds. He did not mention the fact that the amount of the shortfall was previously reported as a minor amount of $9 Million to be paid back over 10 years. That translates into a reduction of around $1 million each year from funds available for upgrades and maintenance of our schools. Does that mean that Cordley could already have a new boiler, if it weren't for the funds committed to the football stadium? How about Kennedy's roof? And the beat goes on..

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melott 1 year, 3 months ago

And why would you think that promises about plans or accounting would be kept?

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buffalo63 1 year, 3 months ago

Thank you Mr. Ortiz for your letter. When we elect people to represent us, we would like to be able to trust they would make wise decisions, especially where public money is involved. However, it takes much time and effort to follow the acts of these officials, whether school, city, county, state or federal positions. I remember three instances where the school board "spent" or at least cited the $2 million left-over bond money as funds to finance projects. The last time was the athletic fields. I assume it was actually spent that time. This is the very reason I will vote NO on this bond issue unless very specific plans are laid out and a way to account for the funds being spent is included.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

Thanks for the transparency.....

Good Job Mr. Ortiz

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 3 months ago

So, who were the 6 and who was the 1 ? Names please JW?

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