To the editor:

The following is my personal responses to two of the questions I’ve been asked or read in the paper specific to the upcoming USD 453 bond issue. 

Q: Why is the district choosing to use Lawson as the site for the proposed early childhood center for pre-K and kindergarten students? 

A: The school district has no control over where people choose to live within the district’s boundaries, nor should it have that type of control. Lawson sits on a block that is less than four acres that has been owned by the school district since at least the 1950s. Its neighborhood has experienced a steady decline of residential rooftops. Site guidelines found on the internet for new elementary schools are almost six acres in size. By revamping the school into an early childhood center the district can alleviate the problems regarding the small size of the Lawson site. This was also a decision that took advantage of an existing district asset over a more costly land purchase and new construction.  

Q: Who was involved in the development of the bond process? 

A: Stakeholders from every school were engaged in this process. The Leavenworth school district made an open appeal to all interested individuals – parents, staff and community members – last fall to volunteer to serve on the committee associated with developing this bond proposal. I personally know two Lawson Elementary School parents who volunteered to serve on this committee. They provided their input on the development of the plan presented to the school board. These two individuals have been highly engaged and committed to the process. They have regularly attended board of education monthly and special meetings since the first of the year.

Thank you for your attention. I stand ready to answer additional questions from Leavenworth citizens. I urge you to vote for the bond issue when you get your ballot in the mail.

Editor’s note: Douglas Darling is the president of the Leavenworth Board of Education.