To the editor:
The first time the USD 453 school board voted, the bond debt issue did not pass. President Carney, unwilling to accept that vote, arranged for a special meeting and another vote. The story of how the vote changed is all in John Richmeier’s Times front page photo with the caption that Superintendent Roth speaks with board member John Goodman before the start of a special meeting. Goodman later voted to put $36.7 million and $23.9 milling debt issue totaling $60,669,800 before voters.
Experience and brains mean everything when voting on candidates for the board. It is the Board of Education after all. The first thing such qualities tell a member is that they do not work for the administrators or the teachers. The administration and the teachers work for the board and the board works for the patrons who pay the bills.
Nancy Klemp is a businesswoman and the most experienced board member having worked on both sides of the aisle. At that very meeting she offered Goodman an education worth more than the pre-meeting arm-twisting by the superintendent, but he opted out.
Klemp gave a number of well-thought out reasons why she did not support this debt issue, listing first how the money was to be spent. She explained that the proposal for the addition to Warren Middle School and moving fifth-grade classes to that campus would increase enrollment there to 1,000 students. She said it would be better to refurbish and use the former West Intermediate School already owned by the district to house fifth- and sixth-graders. The district closed that building in 2014 and it was leased to the community college with a three-year contract that ends this year.
Klemp suggested an addition could be constructed at Leavenworth High School to house a new technical education center. None of these ideas were considered by the outsider DLR group that was hired to sell this project. They don’t get paid unless the bond debt passes, so you can guarantee they have been allotted enough money for campaign mail-outs and even yard signs to influence those ill-informed who vote yes regardless of the facts.
Thumbs up and thanks to Klemp. Thumbs down and no thanks to Goodman.