Letters to the Editor

Divisive task

February 14, 2012


To the editor:

The school consolidation working group is now in full crisis mode, toiling under its divisive charge to decide who among them will be sacrificed in this the latest round of school closures. It is a painful exercise to behold. And it was clear from the outset that any consensus born of such a cynical process would never accurately reflect the will of the people. We are a community animated by optimism and self-sacrifice, not division. It is time to change courses.

Members of the working group, unite as one voice in opposition to your charge and recommend a new process designed to harness the creative energy of unity. Announce that you are rejecting the district’s false choices and begin to explore all available options. Send a clear message to the school board that this community will no longer entertain school consolidation proposals unless and until the district has presented a convincing case for action grounded in reliable data, rigorous research and professional feasibility analysis.  Use your remaining time together to develop standards and procedural safeguards that shift the burden away from the public and onto the district, where it belongs.       

We have the opportunity to rise above the din of manufactured crisis and start building the framework for a dynamic new school planning model, one that not only advances our educational goals but also helps shape smart, sustainable growth in Lawrence for years to come.  If the working group would take the lead, the school board would surely follow.   


mustrun80 6 years, 2 months ago

What a wonderfully written LTE full of meaningless self serving platitudes.

Yeah, closing a school in the midst of the worst recession since the 30's is the end of the world.

Well done.

spiderd 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes. Did the lte writer write this while you were in the bread line or did you step out of line for a moment?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

Demolition By neglect policy

The consolidation group was given the task to decide which schools to close. No other decision was acceptable. That task was decided before the group was formed and did not leave open whether or not that type of decision was best for taxpayers or the school district.

Much of our districts school building problems have been the result of a demolition by neglect attitude of a previous administration and BOE members. Apparently driven by a private agenda to build new buildings. An attitude USD 497 taxpayers can never afford.

In essence our initial tax dollar investments go straight to hell when taxpayer owned property does not receive the attention and care legally expected or required of the admin and the USD 497 BOE.

The following example represents the magnitude by which a demolition by neglect attitude impacts the taxpayers as opposed to maintaining structures as expected:

How should the school district pay for a $16.5 million maintenance backlog in elementary schools? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

Notice the $20 million USD 497 $$$ spent on the PLAY sports project could have rehabilitated all of our elementary school facilities.

When future options are presented to USD 497 taxpayers, the option of spending annual capital outlay funds over a 3-4 year period as opposed to a another bond issue or increasing USD 497 taxes should be among them

In fact it would be quite thoughtful for this BOE to take steps that would never again allow millions upon millions upon millions of USD 497 tax dollars to be spent without USD 497 taxpayer approval. I reference the reckless spending on the most recent PLAY sports project.

Let the voters decide whether or not they want to be reckless.

Respectfully, Merrill the taxpayer.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow, a link to a 5 year old poll! Way to keep up, merrill

wolfy 6 years, 2 months ago

Watching the WG in action makes you appreciate how great it is to live in a town like Lawrence. They disagree passionately but always are respectful to one another. They all bring different backgrounds and expertise to the process, but no one dominates the discussion. Dr. Doll also deserves credit for his hard work and devotion. Great work everyone.

aryastark1984 6 years, 2 months ago

Could not have said it better my self. If there was anything good that came out of this fiasco it was the input from RSP. We now have a more accurate picture of projected growth in this city and we would be fools not to make decisions informed by that information.

Chris Lempa 6 years, 2 months ago

Here is RSP's report to the school board which includes projected population in current catchment areas: http://www.usd497.org/AboutUs/SchoolBoard/Agenda/2011.12Archives/20120109d/rspppt.pdf.

Other Consolidation Working Group materials can be found at http://www.usd497.org/Consolidation

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Families for Education

Kansas Families for Education, Executive Director, Kathy Cook. 15941 W. 65th Street, #104 Shawnee KS, 66217. 913-825-0099. http://www.fundourpublicschools.com/index2.php?page=home

This is quite an active organization. Probably 10 years of active duty on behalf of public school funding. This group does work tirelessly on school funding issues.

Kansas Families for Education does spend time in Topeka,Kansas.

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