To the editor:
I attended to three of the four information meetings regarding the bond issue with Dr. Roth presenting information at all four meetings. By the way, there were probably six people at the first meeting, none at the next meeting, two at the third meeting (my friend and I) and maybe 25 at the evening meeting.
I asked Dr. Roth at the first meeting if he planned to stay as superintendent and see all of this through if the bond passed. His reply was, “I plan to, but you never know as there is never a guarantee.” I also asked Dr. Roth at the evening session if our current board members would be decision makers. We have two board members, for sure, that are against the bond issue. The other five are questionable on their ability to make decisions for the community.
They propose to spend $9.3 million to remodel Lawson Elementary for prekindergarten-kindergarten. This includes busing students to another school that is not included in the cost of the bond. For example, if I have a child in kindergarten and a child in the third grade at Henry Leavenworth, I take both children to Lawson. My third-grader rides a bus to Henry Leavenworth. After school, my third-grader rides a bus back to Lawson and I pick both of my children up at Lawson. I am not sure how safe this is for one thing. Do we really need one building for prekindergarten-kindergarten at one school.
I asked Dr. Roth at the evening meeting if the district was satisfied with the success of their prekindergarten-kindergarten schools and he said “yes.” Henry Leavenworth has no room for prekindergarten-kindergarten due to what a lot of people believe was poor planning on the district’s part for building Henry Leavenworth and other decisions made in the last bond issue. So why pay $9.3 million to remodel Lawson when they are satisfied with their current prekindergarten-kindergarten and take less funds we should have available to build on at Henry Leavenworth?
I asked Dr. Roth if they planned to close down Lawson when they start the $9.3 million remodel and his answer was, “I’m not sure.” He added he was sure they probably would not want to move children at the semester. Is this planning?
The question was also asked at the meetings regarding the storm shelters. The storm shelters are actually new gymnasiums and the burden of proof will be on the district that they are actually FEMA-qualified storm shelters. I agree they need another gym at Warren, but take funds the district already has and build a new gym at Warren.
Dr. Roth keeps saying our taxes will not increase with the new bond. True. But a friend of mine called the County Courthouse to ask if this was true. She was told if the bond issue fails, our taxes will go down. If the bond issue passes, our taxes will remain the same for the next 25 or more years.
Go online to the May 25, 2018, editorial www.leavenworthtimes.com/opinion/20180324/letter-thoughts-about-school-bond-election and see what the bond is really going to cost by Donna Gillette. Donna explains there are other expenses (attorney fees, underwriter, financial adviser fees, printing costs for advertising yard signs and mail-outs for the bond, cost of campaigning, interest projection). The bond will cost an estimated $60,669,800 not $36.7 million. The estimated cost is required by law to be published in the Leavenworth Times at least 21 days prior to the election. The information is in fine print: Classified section, page B8, May 4. Hidden facts?
Dr. Roth brought up the issue of drawing in students especially from the new housing district the Reillys are building. I then mentioned that was Lansing school district. He said, “Yes, it is, but why would parents want to put their children on a bus and ride on Eisenhower to Lansing?” Then why do you want to bus children all over Leavenworth to their school(s)?
My husband and I live within two blocks of Warren. The current traffic issue is overwhelming without adding a fifth grade. Parents drop their children off to avoid driving to Warren and park on our street and pick their children up in our area to avoid the traffic both before and after school. Add a fifth grade and there will be more traffic. I also have a huge concern with fifth-grade children being with older children especially before and after school. Parents drop their children off rather early and I see some picked up rather late. I know if I had a fifth-grade daughter, I would not want her to be around eighth-grade boys before and after school. I am sure it would be the same for fifth-grade boys. Does a parent really want their fifth-grade boy around eighth-grade girls?
If you go online to the Leavenworth Times, you can access an editorial by Tom G. Sterner, “Thoughts about the school bond issue,” at www.leavenworthtimes.com/opinion/20180324/letter-thoughts-about-school-bond-election
Mr. Sterner presented how improvements can be made without a $36.7 million bond. He indicates there is already a way to “fix problems” without increasing dollars to taxpayers. I encourage you to read this article.