Archive for Thursday, October 16, 2008

Letters to the Editor

October 16, 2008

To the editor:

Lumberyard Arts Center board of directors would like to thank all of those who came out to enjoy an evening of food, music and community fellowship while supporting efforts to fund the renovation of a downtown landmark into a community art center.

Special thanks go out to Gloria Roach for arranging for the wonderful music for the evening and for securing sponsorship of the bands from Heritage Tractor, Christopher Leisler, dentist, and McFarland Aviation.

Baldwin State Bank and Mid-America Bank donated generously to help cover costs of the wonderful food that was served. Sonic Drive-In donated buns and napkins; Hickory Creek Barbecue donated barbecue sauce, ladies of the Hestia club for the yummy homemade cookies, especially enjoyed by the band. Baldwin Junction Greenhouse and Cranberry Market supplied beautiful mums to brighten the night and 128 creative and colorful “pigs” by children of the community decorated the entryway.

Once again, the talents of Chris Lorenzen are lauded not only for the “piggy” flyer that we look forward to each year, but also for the pattern for the coloring contest.

Thanks also go out to the men of Delta Tau Delta for helping with setting up the tables, and the women of Phi Mu for providing ice.

We are blessed to be working with such a supportive community and look forward to serving you in a facility that you will be proud to say you had a part of building.

Diane Niehoff, president

Lumberyard Arts Center

To the editor,

There are well-meaning, good people on either side of the bond issue in question. Careful, thoughtful comments have filled this column during the past several weeks. But, for me there are a few basic truths that cannot be ignored. We cannot deny the need faced by those who teach, those who learn, and those who perform in our schools. The needs are real. The needs don’t disappear because of challenging economic conditions. They will be with us until we do something about them. It’s what we do that counts.

Our children benefit or suffer from our decisions and actions. Our children are powerless to make any of the changes necessary for a full, well-balanced, 21st century education. Instead, they look to us to know what must be done and provide what is needed. It’s what we do that counts.

We can’t turn back the calendar in order to do something that might have been done more easily at an earlier time. Neither can we anticipate that it will be easier tomorrow – or next year – or a decade from now. Indeed, it is more than likely that it will only be more difficult. What we do know is that the children attending school next year – and the decades that follow – will benefit to the degree that we accept our responsibility now. These children are ours. The responsibility is ours. It’s what we do that counts.

Vote “yes.” Do what we must.

Walt Bailey

Baldwin City

To the editor:

I urge you to vote “yes” on the USD 348 bond issue on Nov. 4. Extensive thought and planning has gone into the details of this proposal by members of the community, school staff and the architects. The biggest item on the bond issue is funds to build a new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center near the existing Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center. Evaluation of the current primary center indicates that it would not be cost effective to continue to invest in this older building and that the site is too small to meet current—not to mention future—needs. The proposed bond issue seeks to provide students with high-quality facilities in the most fiscally responsible manner.

If we fail to pass the bond issue on Nov. 4, district patrons will probably end up paying more for school facilities in the long run. Several factors are as follows:

1) The strong likelihood of higher interest rates in the future. Right now, low interest rates would result in significant savings on the bond issue.

2) The possibility of unfavorable changes in state support for new facilities, which at present are generous. The state will kick in 27 percent of the cost of the bond issue and will provide an additional 25 percent of the base state aid for each student in new facilities for two years.

3) Without a successful bond issue, the district will likely be forced to spend much of its limited capital outlay funds (allocations for non-instructional costs) just to keep the primary center habitable in the short term, leaving other needs, such as investments in technology and other items linked to student achievement, short-changed.

Surrounding school districts have been busy upgrading school facilities and this partly explains why many of them shoulder higher school tax mill rates than Baldwin’s. (We had the fourth-lowest rate among 13 nearby districts as of last year). Are these high costs for education worthwhile? I think so. As we move into the 21st century, an increasingly global society and economy provides new challenges and new opportunities. Competition for good jobs is increasing. People move internationally for better employment. Jobs are routinely outsourced to workers around the world to provide the best product for the cost. A good education is a key to success in this environment. Students with weak math, reading, technology and critical thinking skills face tougher odds. Preparing students for life in this changing world is a daunting task for schools. Providing modern facilities for modern learning is one important part of the puzzle. Please vote “yes” for students and their future on Nov. 4.

Bill Busby

Baldwin School Board member

Comments

Torch 5 years, 6 months ago

"Our children benefit or suffer from our decisions and actions. Our children are powerless to make any of the changes necessary for a full, well-balanced, 21st century education."

If your children stay in the area they'll be strapped with two school bonds. The cost of living in this town will be so ridiculous that there won't be any children left to teach.

Baldwin repeatedly demonstrates short-sightedness. Look to the last decade when we've spent millions upgrading our infrastructure - still not done - because of the lack of foresight by previous city councils.

While you may think this is an argument to pass the bond it really isn't. Since you are staring a recession right in the fact (which I've been pointing out for MONTHS) now is NOT the time to burden our city with more debt. Sorry. It's just not smart.

No one in their right mind saddles themselves with more liabilities when the economy is collapsing.

Vote no for now. Come back when we weather this horrendous economic crisis.

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beevo 5 years, 6 months ago

I concur with "torch". To vote “Yes” on the 2008 USD 348 Bond Issue would not be an intelligent decision. The complete burden of this recession has yet to hit our economy. President Bush said; “We're facing a real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans. “ He also warned that economic damage could be "painful and lasting," I worry about how this recession will affect the people in our community. I especially worry about the elderly & the retirees who this year have been financially battered. They have helplessly watched as their retirement savings have been eroded by the largest Wall Street upheavals in seventy years. I have never voted “No” on a school bond issue! However at this time I believe it both is my moral and civic duty to vote against this school bond. However, you will have to make your own decision.

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Bloggerboo 5 years, 6 months ago

Beevo and Torch clearly don't know how to protect their own money, nor can they see an incredible investment deal when it is right in front of their faces.

Torch, what do city council decisions have to do with this?

And, don't you realize that new and updated educational facilities and opportunities actually draw people, families, and teachers into the district? We will not be left with no one to teach in Baldwin City. Just the opposite, in fact.

Not too mention that when you actually research the facts about cost of living BC, we are not any higher than most, and are actually lower in some ways. See the mention in the Safe Room article about the school mill levies of surrounding districts, or how our electric rates are 100th on the list of Kansas towns, with 54% paying more than us.

If it is expensive to live in Baldwin, it is just as bad elsewhere. Why not give a reason for some people to go ahead and move here, thereby improving the economic outlook for all of Baldwin City?

Plain and simple, Torch, you are just against education, and that fact certainly disqualifies you as someone I will listen too when it comes to knowing what to do for our children. Your comment about removing music altogether proves my point.

For the other dozen or so people reading this, please make your own decision, as Beevo states, but please get all the information. Don't let someone who doesn't understand economics and is a lifelong school district critic sway your opinion.

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conservative 5 years, 6 months ago

Question for someone to answer:

When do we have to start paying increased property taxes for this bond?

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Bloggerboo 5 years, 6 months ago

November 2009, 1 year from now.

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beevo 5 years, 6 months ago

Starting the school bond payments on November of 2009 should not increase the overall cost. The bond expenditure should be the same dollar amount if started within the first year.

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anordinaryjo 5 years, 6 months ago

I can only pray that the lack of Presidential election discussion here isn't indicative of voter turnout. Our great country was once the leader in standard-of-living, and a beacon of peace and prosperity for all the world to see. We became that way not because we had the most business executives, but because America had the biggest middle-class in the world. Not anymore, I'm sad to say. Almost everyone I know works longer hours, has less money in the bank then ever before in their lives, lives off of their credit cards for the most part, and are so broke that there is little to separate them from people who work for minimum wage, other than owning a few more "things". Why is that? Our current President has spent Trillions and Trillions of our tax dollars on helping Big Business, as part of the Republican Party's stated financial policy of "Trickle-Down" economics- help Big Business, and prosperity will trickle-down to the people. Yet 10 million + Americans have lost their jobs, 4 million + have lost their homes, in spite of our country's workforce having to work harder, for longer hours. So I see all this, and I start to really question the effectiveness of this economic policy. It's when I read about AIG, a huge insurance/financial conglomerate, who, after coming to us hat in hand to borrow 110 Billion dollars, fly their execs to the Caribbean for a half million dollar party, that I realize that the working man is being complete ignored by Republicans. This is the guy who get's up before the sun, has a short moment with his family, if he's lucky, then off to work. Not getting home till his kids are in bed, exhausted, he grabs a quick bite while watching a bit of news. This is the guy that has been abandoned by this administration, by his lifelong political party, but he hasn't the time to stay informed on what the candidates are really about. It's up to all of us, to help this average guy who is and always has been, the backbone of America, with intelligent conversation about the facts of the issues, not dated and meaningless party slogans. Because this average guy is our country's greatest natural resource, and is in such deep, deep trouble, all over America, if we don't help him by getting involved in the political process, and get our neighbors involved, and make the smart choice on Election Day, he will disappear. He will be replaced by his broken self, too poor to care, to downtrodden by a system that threw all it's money at Big Businesses till it was too late to save it's middle class.

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Bloggerboo 5 years, 6 months ago

@anordinaryjo - Pretty easy cheap shot there Jo. Sure, blame everything on the Republicans, even though Democrats have been in control of both houses for the last two years. And of course it can only be the Republicans and this president to blame for the economic metldown. All his fault, sure. Pretty easy to lay that blame when you have absolutely no understanding of how these problems began or escalated. It is ALL of government, both Dems and Republicans who are to blame.

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