To the editor:
Despite Douglas Darling’s reluctance to provide the enrollment data I asked for, I finally obtained the information from Kevin Gullett, the district’s chief financial officer.
Mr. Darling indicated that radical changes to the elementary school boundaries will have to be put in place if the requested bond issue does not pass. The current boundary map is located at https://www.usd453.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=213732&type=d&pREC_ID=474051
I recommend that the boundaries be changed anyway, since Anthony clearly has a huge chunk of Leavenworth that belongs to Lawson, and Henry Leavenworth has a huge chunk that belongs to Anthony. It is no wonder that the Leavenworth elementary school is overcrowded, since it takes the lion’s share of the city.
Mr. Darling also said the school board struggles over the numbers of students in each elementary school every September, telling me to watch a video, instead of reporting to me – one of his original supporters – what he knows. Instead of watching a tedious video of a board meeting, I asked Mr. Gullett for the demographic facts of enrollment for each school for the last five years, which are also available at http://datacentral.ksde.org/report_gen.aspx
To determine the current ratios of ethnicities at each elementary school, I only focused on the number of boys from the four largest ethnic groups: white, black, Hispanic and multi-ethnic.
I was pleased to discover that all four elementary schools have roughly the same number of Hispanic and multi-ethnic males, but, as I had worried in my earlier letter, I discovered a greater disparity between the percentages of white and black males in each elementary school, with Henry Leavenworth and David Brewer both containing a larger percentage of white males than either Lawson or Anthony, with a corresponding drop in the number of black males in the first two, especially at David Brewer.
The district could easily reorganize the elementary schools to alleviate both crowding and underenrollment without having to move fifth-grade students to the middle school, necessitating its enlargement, by reorganizing the district’s elementary school boundaries and by allowing students to transfer to an elementary school outside of their boundary only if that transfer helps balance out the ethnographic nature of the school.
While I applaud the district’s desire to improve storm shelters for the schools that don’t have adequate ones and appreciate the idea of having a dedicated pre-K (the new K, for those who don’t follow education changes) and kindergarten building, the rest of the bond issue is unnecessary expense, and the board should be sent back to the drawing board to come up with a better, more progressive method to improve our educational institutions than what they have currently proposed.
Our children deserve the best we can provide for them, not half-baked ideas.
Remember, Mr. Darling, you serve us because most of us do not have time to attend meetings or to watch videos, so rely on you to be our eyes and ears. Do your duty, especially when one of your constituents asks you to.