OPINION

An election is coming – go vote

Rich Kiper/Leavenworth
Rich Kiper

In about 40 days, Leavenworth County residents will have a primary election for school board and Leavenworth City Commission members. In the 2017 school board and city elections, turnout was 13.7%. 

That is incomprehensible. School board and city officials are the closest government agencies that affect our daily lives. They affect how our local schools maximize academic performance, attract and retain quality teachers and administrators, engage with parents and others in our community, ensure facilities are adequate and the schools are safe and prioritize spending.

Our Leavenworth city commissioners make decisions on zoning, downtown revitalization, special use permits, street and sidewalk maintenance, issues regarding unsafe structures and appoint members to local boards and commissions. They provide an opportunity for the public to attend and speak at commission meetings. 

But 86.3% of Leavenworth eligible voters could not bother to vote for those who interact with and for us. Yes, there are family emergencies and sudden changes in work schedules or conflicts regarding youth activities. Things such as those will affect a few voters, but the overwhelming majority of that 86.3% are too lazy or don’t care about how our cities and county are run.

The upcoming primary election is extremely important because of the contents of President Biden’s education plan.

The plan includes “(making) sure teachers receive a competitive wage and benefits.” Will the federal government determine how much teachers should be paid? Different locales have different tax bases. Leavenworth city cannot have the same pay structure as Wichita or Overland Park or more populated states. Get ready for another tax hike.

The plan states that “every middle and high school student (should have) a path to a successful career.” Can’t argue with the concept, but, again, who pays for new trade school facilities and teachers?

Biden will triple the funding for Title I funding for low-income families and districts. Great. Do we just print more money?

Biden’s plan forgives student loans for teachers. Forgiving loans is a bad idea all around. Why just teachers? Where will it stop?

The plan calls for better facilities. We see the newly-constructed facilities at the Warren school campus. Will our taxpayer money now go to fund schools in New York?

There are potential issues which our local and state boards of education may have to contend with sooner or later.

One can hardly miss TV news reports on what is happening in our nation’s schools. 

I have twice written columns about allowing boys who identify as girls to participate in school athletics as females. I provided data on why that is a very real problem. Biden’s education department appears to be siding with allowing transgender people to participate.

Teaching history is a mega hot-button issue. Residents of Leavenworth County should challenge every school board candidate to explain their views on Project 1619, Critical Race Theory and whether the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are racist. 

Will Biden’s education department dictate how teachers are to address students when such words as he, his, her and she are deemed non-inclusive?    

Rutgers University and so-called scholars from other universities are calling for Ebonics, slang and what most of us would call bad grammar to be accepted as proper speech and writing. 

Almost every country on the globe is united by a common language. English has been the language spoken here since the first British colonists arrived in 1607. Nevertheless, there are those who reject a common language in favor of whatever form of speech someone chooses to use.

The Democratic plan proposes that an additional 35,000 to 60,000 new psychologists and counselors be placed in schools. Only more taxes can pay for them. With federal money comes federal strings. Do we want the federal government to dictate to us what line those people must tow?

We need people on those boards who are unwilling to adopt the “woke” agenda, the takeover of local school boards by the federal government and efforts to revise our history.

For you 86.3%, pay attention to what is going on and vote for school board candidates who will protect our children from the whims of the left and the Biden administration. Vote for city commissioners who will best serve us.

Rich Kiper is a Leavenworth Times columnist.