To the editor:
I won't vote in favor of the school bond issue, and no one I have spoken with about it will either. They think it isn't necessary, and don't support some things the school board wants to do.
First, people view the closing or re-purposing of the Lawson school as unnecessary. And they don't see a legitimate need for our school system to operate a pre-school, basically a babysitting operation. That isn't a normal function of a school board. We taxpayers shouldn't be operating pre-schools in competition with the private ones that exist. Those generate family incomes for the people who operate them. This pre-school at Lawson could put them out of business.
Will the people using Lawson pre-school pay for its services, and at what rates, or will this be just another charity service delivered at taxpayer expense? I don't want my taxes used for such a purpose, and neither do others I've spoken with.
Second, people believe our school board is definitely very hasty in condemning school buildings that would be treasured in other towns all across this state. One Kansas paper recently had an article about the town celebrating the 90th birthday of one of their grade schools. They weren't calling for it to be torn down or closed. Here the school board would claim walking within a block of it would be dangerous to your health. The folks in that town sure didn't see it that way.
It has been suggested to me, and very seriously, by several people, that our school board acts to close schools down and build others so that favored business people here can profit from building new ones and re-purposing the old ones. They've seen a pattern developing, and it's one they don''t like.
No one offered any proof of it, but they do believe its true. If that were the case it would indicate some extremely nefarious behavior, and probably prosecutable behavior.
I think our school board needs to reconsider this proposal and actually determine whether these changes would lead to better education or just be more window dressing.
Recent figures from the U.S. Department of Education indicate that 65 percent of eighth graders in our public schools are less than proficient in reading, and that 67 percent are not proficient in math. Our public schools are seriously under-performing and throwing money at the problem won't solve that. Many studies have shown that to be the case.
I'd like to see some ideas from our school board about how to improve the performance in our schools not make them more costly edifices to failure.
We are a state that spends around 60 percent of our total state budget on education. We should be seeing spectacular performance for that type of investment, but we aren't. Newer and better buildings isn't the answer. People across this nation view the teachers’ unions as the problem. They say the unions don't want the problems resolved so they can always demand more money to fix a situation they don't intend to fix. They claim the money is the important thing to teachers’ unions, not the kids’ education. And they may very well be exactly right.
Maybe our school board, for a change, can come up with some ideas that well work, not just demands for better and better buildings turning out very poorly educated kids. Doing the same thing over and over again with the same results isn't the answer.