To the editor:
Several people have approached me about my recent letter regarding the need for USD 453 to build its own pool in order to free up the scheduling for the city’s indoor pool at the community center.
One rather athletic man mentioned that he had heard that part of the funding from the current bond issue being voted on soon will go toward purchasing land to build more sports fields. He wasn’t certain what kind of fields would be built, but had heard they could be baseball fields.
Currently, the baseball and softball teams for Leavenworth High School use the sports complex located on 20th Street.
A $57.8 million bond issue was approved by city voters in 2008, a short decade ago.
According to an article in the Leavenworth Times on Sept. 7, 2017, Superintendent Roth mentioned that the bond could be used to buy land next to Henry Leavenworth Elementary School for sports fields.
According to a visual aid with an article from Jan. 27, 2018, a sports field would also be built north of the renovations for Richard Warren Middle School. The same article discusses closing Lawson Elementary, built in 1999 to combine North Broadway and Lincoln elementary schools, because of low enrollment and poor planning on the school district’s part because it lacks “adequate space for parking and dropping off students.”
Nowhere can I locate where the residents of north Leavenworth, who are serviced by Lawson Elementary, were interviewed or surveyed about the closing of Lawson and how it would affect them.
Since CFO Kevin Gullett was too busy to respond to my email inquiries about the bond issue being put before Leavenworth residents, I had to dig for all of this information myself.
My assessment of the situation is that someone is bored and wants to spend some of our taxpayer money by extending the 1999 bond that expires this year, which is why there would be no additional levy, but no levy relief, either, if this bond passes.
While there might be some crowding in one elementary school, the simplest and most cost effective solution would be to bus those kids from the crowded elementary school to the one with too few students in it.
With so many sports fields already in existence in Leavenworth, including the impressive city sports complex on 20th Street, we don’t need more.
What we do need is for our kids to have access to a competition level swimming pool housed in one of our school buildings. Lansing managed to build one, and a 220,000 square foot high school with sports fields, with half of the money USD 453 has asked of Leavenworth city residents in the last two decades.
Lansing, by the way, anticipates enrolling as many as 700 more high school students in the future.
Now all I have to find out is how many of our Leavenworth students want to move.