Archive for Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Letters to the editor

March 26, 2003

Dear Baldwin Community,

Over the past several weeks, many of your neighbors and friends have asked me to be a write-in candidate for Position 6 on the USD 348 School Board. Because I have regularly attended school board meetings for the past five years and have participated on a number of committees for the district, I agreed to be a write-in candidate. I cannot tell you my answers to questions that have not been asked. However, I can and will ask questions if elected to the school board.

Some of the questions I have right now include: Why did no board members publicly object when the superintendent announced in February the solution to budget shortfalls was to eliminate the equivalent of one person in each building? The heart and soul of education, teachers and support staff, and successful existing programs must be the last cut ever considered.

And, just how does school district money get spent? What is the per pupil cost to run our elementary schools? If the per pupil cost is not relatively equal for each building, why is there an inequity?

Speaking of inequities, one of my major concerns in USD 348, why does Marion Springs have an average class size of 11 and Vinland and Baldwin Elementary have average class sizes of 17? Why should only 60 students enjoy the luxury of smaller class sizes when 500 students cannot? Maybe it is time to ask the difficult questions of closing or consolidating schools, redrawing attendance boundaries, or utilizing existing schools as attendance centers by grade rather than stand alone schools. Would any of those kinds of changes help save money? To my knowledge, the district has not publicly asked these questions.

Getting answers to these questions raises another major concern of mine, communication. Why are there no district sponsored public forums in which patrons can comment on issues and can ask questions and get answers? In this electronic age of instant communication, why do board members not have e-mail addresses on the district Web site?

If you have similar questions or you would also like answers to these questions, please write in my name, Betty Bullock, for position 6 on the USD 348 School Board on Tuesday, April 1, April Fool's Day. I want to know the answers, and I will work very hard to get the answers to these and other questions you have. No foolin'!

Thank you,

Betty Bullock

Baldwin City

To the editor:

It is more difficult to focus on local issues with the war in Iraq under way, but I encourage all community members to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday. For our schools, this is a vital election.

With the worsening state budget situation, the next school board may face many tough years ahead. If I am elected, I will listen, ask questions and work diligently to make sure any cuts are shared equally and no programs are unfairly eliminated. My immediate goal would be to maintain academic and extracurricular programs the community sees as valuable components of any well-rounded education, such as art, music, drama and athletics.

I also will rely on my varied experience in education and the community. I taught English and journalism at the high school level for eight years in both public and private school settings. I understand the workings of schools, curriculum development and the need to support teachers. I have had experience dealing with a multitude of issues currently facing Baldwin, such as attendance/tardy policies, open lunches, security systems and budget cuts.

I encourage everyone to vote and I ask for your support. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or by e-mail at tscohen@grapevine.net

Stacy Cohen

Baldwin City

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