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Lawrence school board to seek $92.5 million bond issue

Journal World Staff - Please try to get us a list of the necessary upgrades and repairs, and the cost for ONLY the necessary things. I am curious how much of this proposal is actually just a wish list that incompetent district leadership has allowed to balloon into a bloated, misguided attempt to secure an insane amount of money.

Also, please make it clear to the citizens of Lawrence that taxes are set to go DOWN after we finish paying off the last bond. Passing this bond will make taxes go back UP. The district's claim that taxes will not be affected is misleading at best (I would call it a blatant lie).

December 20, 2012 at 11:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence school board to seek $92.5 million bond issue

This is CRAZY. 90+ million dollars?

I have a way to make this very very simple - 2 bonds.

The first bond is exclusively for needed updates and repairs. There will be a very defined list of things for the money to be spent on before the bond is approved. We can vote YES on that bond.

The second bond will contain all the nonsense and fluff that is completely unnecessary. We can vote NO on that one.

I find it completely ridiculous that a bond of this size is "needed."

Come on, school board and district leadership, learn the difference between needs and wants. They teach it to the children in the schools. Until you separate the needs from the wants and make two different proposals I have no choice but to vote NO on this bond.

December 20, 2012 at 11:03 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: Communications basics; more pre-bond input sessions

Interesting that none of the LJW regular posters seem to care much about money wasted locally. Good thing everyone loves to yell and scream about fiscal responsibility at the federal level, but nobody wants to waste time worrying about money here in Lawrence. It's not like we pay local taxes, and I'm sure the bond issue will magically pay for itself.

October 25, 2012 at 4:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: Communications basics; more pre-bond input sessions

Hmmmm, I'm pretty sure that people within USD497 have expressed deep concerns about wasted money, stolen property, hiring friends and relatives over qualified applicants, and nickel-and-diming schools in order to boost department funds for spending on things that will never see the inside of a school. There are people running around with USD497 credit cards who only have to answer to friends or relatives about expenditures, and contractors who get hired for projects even though they're not capable of completing the project within any kind of acceptable timeframe or within acceptable industry standards. Why hire the best contractor for the job when you can hire the one you like! When this happens USD497 breaks up payment for the contract into small amounts in order to circumvent the required open bidding process for large, expensive projects. The list goes on and on and on...

Oh, and let's also mention that the communication between upper administration and the people in the schools and the people in the community is about the WORST IT'S EVER BEEN. Employees are afraid of retaliation for raising concerns, and the public is ignored.

I despise Brownback for his policies and his politics, but if his task force can put an end to the cronyism and corruption that goes unchecked at USD497 then I'm all for it. Current USD497 administration, you've had your chance to clean up the mess, but instead you've chosen to focus on sweeping the filth under the carpet. Well, the carpet is looking pretty lumpy and it's starting to stink.

October 25, 2012 at 9:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence school board’s goals outlined for bond issue

Please link to a statute, law, or ordinance that addresses bullying. I'm pretty sure grownups are allowed to bully one another.

And why stop at giant bold font for your super relevant comment? Where's the all caps? MAN UP AND USE ALL CAPS NEXT TIME!

Thanks for taking the time to share your views on the bond issue. Now, back under your bridge, troll.

September 27, 2012 at 4:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence school board’s goals outlined for bond issue

Receipts and explanation of what the last bond or bonds were used for, and if there are concerns about that information then we need to know what oversight will be applied to spending this time around to make sure that money is used appropriately and goes where administration says it will go.

Transparency, Oversight, and Accountability - three things that presently seem very lacking in USD497 administration. Tell me where the money went and why. Otherwise, no more money.

September 27, 2012 at 3:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence school board’s goals outlined for bond issue

Anyone notice that USD497 hired AOS to "audit" the school district's technology department, and AOS has recommended that we need to spend a bunch of money?

Maybe they'll recommend some more $400 phones that include a bunch of features that will NEVER be used in a school district. You know, more phones that are just like the ones in EVERY classroom, office, and staff room right now, but the new ones could have color screens and video animations! Seriously, if you want a perfect example of unchecked excessive spending just look at the phones purchased with the last bond and ask "Why in the world did a public school district need to purchase some super-expensive, feature-rich phone for every classroom when the only function that it really needed to perform was making phone calls?" I'm guessing those were purchased through AOS, and I bet they never said, "Hey, wait a minute. You guys might be able to save a ton of money if you buy the less expensive model that fulfills all your needs at half the price."

Why not hire a salesman to tell you what's best for you? And, pay him for his consultation services as he explains that what you really need is to buy more goods and services from him.

An actual audit is supposed reveal ways to: 1. improve efficiency, 2. improve effectiveness, 3. reduce costs (usually as a byproduct of 1 and 2). What are AOS's recommendations for reducing cost and waste in the tech department? How does USD497 compare to other school districts in terms of technology spending, integration, and support? Are technology department staff knowledgeable and qualified?

AOS takes nice care of the tech department. Invites them to private suites at professional sporting events and things like that. No conflict of interest there.

Perhaps a real audit should be performed by an outside party that has no vested interest in the outcome of the audit. Seems like a no-brainer.

Wait, nevermind. Just spend more money and never ever look back.

September 27, 2012 at 11:39 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence school board’s goals outlined for bond issue

Oh, ok. You're suggesting that since Weseman is gone we shouldn't be able to hold anyone accountable for how the 2005 bond was spent. Weseman didn't take the money with him when he left. Much of the 2005 bond money has been spent on Doll's watch.

I think people just want accountability. I want to know how the previous bond money was spent before handing the school district another HUGE pile of cash. If you send me to the store with a $100 bill and I return with $60 worth of goods and no change and no receipt would you send me shopping again?

September 27, 2012 at 10:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence school board’s goals outlined for bond issue

Please show us the receipt for the last Technology Bond. I'm pretty sure some of that money was diverted to the athletic fields. No more money until the previous bonds can be fully accounted for.

Also, what are the credentials of the Technology Director? I know that Doll and his sidekicks have no tech background so I'm assuming the tech director is well qualified to manage a multi-million dollar pile of cash. Who is the Technology Director, what are their credentials, and what experience do they have overseeing a large scale investment such as the one being proposed?

September 27, 2012 at 9:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

First Bell: Kids should probably go outside; and a bond issue update (kind of)

Here's a good question - Did the school district use some of the money from the previous technology bond to cover part of the athletic field funding when that project went way over budget? This question has been floating around for quite some time so perhaps someone should look into it. Once again, a legitimate audit of technology funds seems necessary before the public considers approving any more technology funding.

One more question - Can someone offer a list of high-level tech department employees (including the director) along with their education, previous technology experience, and current IT certifications? It would be crazy to trust millions of dollars to a bunch of unqualified, uncertified amateurs. Who's running the show, and can we be confident they know what they're doing?

September 5, 2012 at 11:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )