Archive for Thursday, September 30, 2004

Letters to the editor

September 30, 2004

To the editor:

Soon the Kansas Supreme Court will render a ruling on Judge Bullock's funding decision, a ruling which could have close to a one billion dollar price tag.

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I am not qualified to discuss the legal aspects, but I would like to comment on two of the possible issues, a) the minority/disadvantaged issue, and b) the consolidation issue.

The Kansas City, Missouri, School District spent about two billion dollars on its desegregation program. The closure of the so called educational gap was about 12 percent.

Kansas spends about $270 million a year on its At-Rick Program. Much of this money is directed toward minority and disadvantaged students. If this amount were consistent over 12 years, over $3 billion would have been spent. The Kansas City, Kansas, School District would have received about 72 million. The results: In Kansas City, Kan., almost every high school, every middle school and about one-half of the elementary schools failed to make AYP (K.C. Star 8/13/03). In the Topeka School System, with respect to the combined Hispanic/Black student population on the reading tests, about 55 percent met proficiency at the elementary/middle school level, and about 35 percent on the high school level. On the math tests: elementary level, 63 percent ; middle school, 35 percent; high school, 18 percent (Assessment -- Topeka Public Schools 6/23/04). On some of the tests, there seemed to be a nice increase at the elementary or middle school level in the past year. At the state-wide level, the sub-group, African American, failed to make AYP (K.C. Star 8/13/03).

With respect to consolidation, the Augenblick-Meyer study wants to close 50 small schools basically because they are too small, even though most offer a strong core, are academically successful, and have a high percentage of participants in extra-curricular activities. Are they expensive? No! In base aid per student, they only cost about two percent more than larger schools of the K-12 total budget. Most have not maxed or nearly maxed out their LOB; whereas, most larger schools have. Will the funding formula be tweaked to hurt them?

Is the solution to the minority-disadvantaged issue something more than just money, or more money? Why should students of often smaller successful schools have to take a cut or have their schools closed? Will there be a provision for accountability?

Leo V. Kerwin

Wellsville

To the editor:

Hestia Study Club, a member of Kansas General Federation of Women's Clubs, hosted the Second District Convention on Saturday, Sept. 25, at Ives Chapel.

The members of our organization are most appreciative of the community support we received. We were proud to show off Baldwin to the women in attendance.

Specifically we thank the following for their support and donations. Connie Deel, representing the Chamber of Commerce; Baldwin State Bank; Cranberry Market; Discoveries; Espress Yourself; Chamber of Commerce; Vintage Flea; Bittersweet Vine; Ives Chapel Ladies and C. Designs. Thank you all.

Mary Jane Chubb

President Hestia Study Club

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