Archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Letters to the editor

March 19, 2003

To the editor:

Throwing our babies out with the bath water?

In all of nature, you find an innate intelligence that manages to preserve each species through the careful protection and cultivation of the young. Examples abound not only of parents but all adult members of animal communities taking heroic measures to insure that the young flourish. One notable exception, as evidenced by the current state of panic throughout our state regarding education, must be the human species. At a time when the development of our children is at a crisis, instead of taking steps to try to preserve the quality of their education, we are more concerned with what we can take away from them so that we won't have to feel the extra pinch in our taxes.

I'm dismayed at the March 12 Baldwin Signal article stating recent actions of the School Board and possible ideas for further cuts. Some of the same programs we fought hard to retain last year appear once again bound for the chopping block. With the election of new school board members imminent, now is the time for candidates to take heed and citizens to speak out: We don't want to know how you're going to cut educational funding; we want to know how you're going to rally this community to defend and protect the educational opportunities that currently exist. A school board should serve the needs of the children first. The taxpayers of the Baldwin area have repeatedly shown their support for education, by passing bond issues to build school buildings, by raising funds to add new programs and equipment, by electing State representatives who are pro-education. With all this community support, why wouldn't our school board propose a plan to preserve what we have, rather than to seek to dump programs right and left without regard to how it affects our community as a whole?

With a growing population of young families, now is not the time to eliminate from our community the only full-time preschool/daycare facility in town. Over the past eight years, numerous Baldwin Families have benefited from the existence of the Early Childhood Center (formerly the Baldwin/Baker Lab School). With a 7-0 vote that even the director of the ECC didn't know was coming, a vital community service has been obliterated. Fortunately, a few caring citizens who have seen this possibility looming already have begun to take steps to see that a new daycare/preschool facility may be opened, but getting something in place by next fall will take a lot of community support. Likewise, there is not much planning in place to offer arts-based opportunities for our youth if our school board decides next to eliminate elementary art. As it is, even though there is a theatre group and an Arts Council in our community, the only ongoing art education available to our children is the twice-monthly class they now receive at the elementary school. Truly, we get a lot of bang-for-the-buck with our elementary art teacher, who serves three grade schools on a single salary.

Unlike some specialized programs, the Early childhood Center and elementary art are opportunities available equally to all children in our community. Surely we can devise a plan to cut back without having to cut out programs that provide such broad benefits. Everyone knows there is a budget crisis that is going to have a major impact on our schools. There are two ways to handle a crisis: panic or plan. I would like to see our community respond with less panic and more planning.

Nancy Crisp

Baldwin City

To the editor:

I am writing to thank all of the people who stopped at my table by the Post Office on March 8 and 15. We now have 18 new registered voters in Baldwin City. In addition, a great number of people stopped by to talk with me about the issues of greatest interest to them, and to find out where I stand on these issues. I only hope that this level of communication and participation continues after the election. This is what representative government and the democratic process are all about.

There is a tendency to ignore or write off the local elections, with the majority of voters only participating in the state and national elections. What we need to remember is that we are still a small enough community that everyone's voice counts, and everyone's opinion has value. The actions of our local officials have direct, observable effects on our daily lives, unlike much of what happens in Topeka or Washington. Our elected officials don't know what we think if we don't tell them, first at the polls and later in person. I encourage all registered voters in Baldwin City to go to the polls and let their voices be heard on April 1.

See you at the polls!

Nancy Brown

Candidate for City Council

To the editor:

W were reminded recently of how fast a year can pass by, especially when we're having fun. This realization came about as our membership in the Baldwin Athletic Club had elapsed and we were asked to consider renewing our membership. Well of course we did, as we feel most fortunate to have the athletic club to serve our needs and to make our lives more healthy.

We think you should stop in and see what the Baldwin Athletic Club has to offer. As for us, we offer out thanks for the opportunity to work out in such wonderful surroundings and to see so many of our friends enjoying it, too.

Norma and Marvin Jardon

Baldwin City

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