To the editor:
At the Oct. 14 candidate forum at Leavenworth City Hall, not one question was about the spending problems of the Lansing schools, which are located in the 40th State Representative District.
A letter to editor in the Times on Sept. 22 promoting Debbie Deere for state representative said that she “served as a leader of the (Lansing) school board, she was extremely instrumental in the approval process for the new high school …” The one with the Olympic-sized swimming pool, a large building with not enough students to fill it and a gigantic tax increase for district patrons as well as taxpayers across the state. Seems schools are not underfunded but do have a spending problem.
The Aug. 17 Times front page story by John Richmeier outlined the recent spending down of District 469 school reserves over the last four years. New superintendent Darrel Stufflebeam said he was preparing to take over in late June when he learned that their district had few financial reserves because about $7 million was spent from reserves during the last four years. “About $3 million was spent from (Lansing District 469) reserves just last year.”
Stufflebeam’s Times column Aug. 18 reported that 469 overspent its budget the past few years. He said that the “legislative solution for school funding equity increased funding by $38 million …” Your current legislators voted that amount for low property wealth per student districts. That would be the same legislators about whom KNEA member Riddle, in her Sept. 20 letter, complained aren’t allotting enough money for education.
Stufflebeam wrote, “School board members approve bills every month. But that does not mean they keep a running total of what the expenses will add up to.” Wow. He said this is more of a superintendent’s job. Well, hello. Who hires and fires the superintendent? Who supervises him? The school board, where Vice President Deere is a leader, that’s who.
Considering how Deere approves spending that does not reach the classrooms, shouldn’t we expect the same behavior from her in Topeka now that she wants to be state representative for the 40th District?