The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Lansing bond: Now is the time

  • As a former Lansing School Board member for eight years I am excited about and support the proposed Lansing school bond initiative.
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  • To the editor:
    As a former Lansing School Board member for eight years I am excited about and support the proposed Lansing school bond initiative.
    In my eight years on the Lansing School Board, we worked as a team to move the district in proactive directions, including facilities…the first step was in gaining community support for the new Lansing Elementary School and District Auditorium that was part of a long-range plan for facilities in the district. Then we purchased 154 acres of land in the projected housing growth area in 2008 by saving money for four years in capital outlay without increasing the mil levy.
    Planning for the future is a complex and sometimes frustrating endeavor, as we never fully know what the future holds. Historical experience, data gathering and dissection, collaboration with city leadership and staff regarding building permits and city planning allows educated guesses as to how our community will continue to grow and develop.
    No longer a school board member, I continue to expect accountability to taxpayers and my personal responsibility as a taxpayer has not changed. To me, this means encouraging our staying "ahead of the curve," utilizing our existing resources wisely, and demanding and supporting proper and proactive planning, as well as taking advantage of current market conditions and state aid when it is available to stretch our tax dollars. That is being focused on the future and a responsible taxpayer, wouldn't you agree?
    The facts: 1. Lansing is a growing community. No one denies this fact. 2. Lansing has a long history of providing educational excellence. No one denies this either. 3. Our current educational facilities are at, over or near capacity. There is no denial here. 4. This plan addresses needs of all grade levels (K-12) through the construction of a new high school, renovations to the existing high school to make it the new middle school, moving 4th and 5th grades to the existing middle school making it the new intermediate school, and opening classrooms for enrollment growth at the elementary school. This is in alignment with previous bond issue planning and the most current facilities study as well. It is using existing resources wisely, continuing to move ahead of the curve to allow for future continued growth, and responsibly using taxpayer dollars by taking advantage of the lowest interest rates in many years, the lowest construction costs in a long while, and 41 percent of our bond principal and interest being paid by the state of Kansas (yes, tax dollars from across the state) over the life of the bond.
    It would be disheartening if this bond issue does not pass, because the needs will NOT change, and the school board will most certainly have to run another bond issue to address the needs, and in the short-term, increase the Capital Outlay mil levy (tax increase) to pay for modular classrooms and band-aid fixes. To me, that option is a complete waste of our tax dollars.
    Page 2 of 2 - NOW is the time for our community to continue to proactively and responsibly move into the future. Please join me and vote YES for our kids AND community by passing the Lansing schools bond issue on Nov. 6.
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