Archive for Monday, December 13, 2010

School board closes rural elementary schools by 5-2 vote

The Baldwin School Board voted to close Marion Springs and Vinland elementary schools by a 5-2 vote Monday night. The schools will close at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

The Baldwin School Board voted to close Marion Springs and Vinland elementary schools by a 5-2 vote Monday night. The schools will close at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

December 13, 2010

After months of discussion and public input, the Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education voted Monday night to close two rural elementary schools at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Superintendent Paul Dorathy's proposal to close Marion Springs Elementary School and Vinland Elementary School passed by a 5-2 vote. Board Members Blaine Cone and Ruth Barkley opposed the motion.

“We can’t keep doing the same things with less,” School Board President Alison Bauer said. “We’ve been continually cut from the state and we’ve made cuts everywhere, but we can’t keep doing that. I feel like Mr. Dorathy made a difficult and painful recommendation to us. We’ve looked at other options and none of them were attractive.”

Marion Springs and Vinland combine to house 139 students this school year. With Monday's vote, those students will be attending Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center and Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.

The estimated cost savings of the elementary consolidation is $420,678 and most of that is personnel cuts. Starting next fall, all elementary students in USD 348 will be attending BESPC and BESIC, which are the two newest buildings in the district.

For more on this story, pick up Thursday's edition of The Signal.

Comments

Torch 3 years, 7 months ago

Tough decision but the right one.

It only took 3 years for people in this town to recognize the recession and to take an appetite suppressant. The rest of the country has been doing things like this for the last couple of years.

Education in general is bloated, but it was ridiculous to keep financing the rural schools under current fiscal constraints. They were a waste of tax payer dollars a long time ago, however, and frankly it's about time.

Well done School Board members who had the courage to do this. Your name will be Mudd now...and your children will be ridiculed - but that's politics in Baldwin.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree with Torch our Educational system is bloated, but I can't imagine why the Dorathy and 5 members of the BOE chose to cut the most efficient use of their education dollar before cutting other Extra curricular activities like Sports, Arts and Music. While they are beneficial to kids, they are not the main job of our district and should have been first on the chopping block of budget cuts.

I don't have an issue with closing the rural schools what I do have an issue with is cutting the K-5 educational budget less then 3 years after the BOE and Dorathy said their strategic plan was to strengthen it.

Even with a recession that started before the new Bond was proposed this Administration has shown it lacks the insight and common sense necessary to run our District with the best interest of the kids.

Hopefully people will now wake up realize this and vote for a change and get rid of a cowardly Administrator and BOE who didn't have the balls to make the hard budget cuts but rather took the easy way out and in doing so penalized the youngest of the kids in our school district.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 7 months ago

If you think this was the easy way out, you are out of your mind. He, and the BoE, have risked being spurned, being called names, being slandered by two communities of parents, and, of course, their positions on this board, or their jobs, in the case of administrators. Torch was right about one thing, their names will now be mud. How is this the easy way out?

Finally, if you don't think each and every one of these board members agonized over this, then you are completely delusional. I spoke with almost all of them, and this was a very, very difficult decision. Your slandering them now in a public place, behind an anonymous name, in fact, shows you to be the coward.

Sure, you'll say I am anonymous as well, but I haven't been calling any public officials or school administrators out on these boards. I have been defending them for the tough job they have to do. It isn't easy dealing with irrational people like you, and on top of that having to make very hard, sometimes unpopular, decisions.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually I too have spoke with them Bloggerboo and I have told them face to face that this is the cowards way out.

Dorathy knew the appropriate cuts to make but he didn't want to make them since he knew that he would face an even bigger backlash from the community when he told them that he was cutting into the Extra curricular budget versus focusing on a smaller group and then using disinformation to divide the community.

Yes, their names will be mud as it should be with any politician that makes abysmal decisions while in office and uses lies to get their agenda passed.

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AmyIrenie 3 years, 7 months ago

This is kinda sad to hear. I was a BES bullpup, but my good friends are vinland/marion springs alums. They are such cute little schools. Cutting the costs of the buildings makes sense, but aren't there going to need to be more school buses for those kids? Also, will the staff at Vinland and Marion Springs be offered jobs in the district? Some of those staff members are the best educators. I would be deeply saddened if their talents weren't recognized and they weren't incorporated in to the moves as well.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually Amy their is NO savings in closing the buildings, the actual savings is coming from firing teacher from either the two outlying schools are from current staff in town.

This is what people have failed to understand the buildings were paid for and cost hardly anything the real costs cutting comes from cutting the educational dollar spent on educating our children rather then cutting it from the part of the budget that is spent on entertainment.

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AmyIrenie 3 years, 7 months ago

Ahhh, so then those staff members I was talking about will not be given other opportunities in the district?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Who knows....it is really sad because the dealing I have had with the principal and staff at the new PC have been pretty negative while the dealings I had with all the other schools has been quite remarkable.

Time will tell who Dorathy decides to fire and who he decides to keep.

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greyghost 3 years, 7 months ago

Those with the least seniority will be cut. Whether they work in town or in the rural schools, it does not matter -- it's strictly tenure. Just more unemployment, really. Just less people to pay for the district debt load.

Some on this site cry about being able to attract and retain good educators. What are they saying now? Absolutely nothing .... I can tell you that this is not a good advertisement for our district at all.

Now, the fruits of the boards labor will be very public and transparent when enrollment figures come out next August/September. We shall see what damage has been done. I know if I were a rural patron, I would be petitioning to be absorbed into another school district at all costs!

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree...I know quite a few rural parents that are going to send their kids next year to a different district, whether it's in the best interest of the child or just out of spite wont matter, what will matter is a decrease in enrollment will mean less money for the district.

Honestly, I'm looking at pulling my child out of the district and letting my grandmother and Wife home school our child in one of the new online schools. It's cheaper in the long run and I can better control what type of people and kids my child comes in contact with this way, but I hate to see them lose the socialization they get from school.

But I can accomplish that by simply getting involved with other social activities around town.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

Thanks the classroom size hysteria is over !

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straightforward 3 years, 7 months ago

Absorbed into another school district? really? so you think the Santa Fe Trail school district is going to keep the Marion Springs school open or will those kids be bussed to their attendance centers in Overbrook (K-2), Scranton (3-4) and Carbondale (5-8)?

This is the common sense decision that should have been made years ago. Keeping schools that small open is an inefficient use of taxpayer money. Look around the state over the last 50 years and you'll see that many school districts have undergone various sorts of consolidation because their administrations made the same common sense decisions. My only regret is that tenure, as opposed to quality, will decide which teachers are let go. It's regrettable that anyone has to lose a job but unfortunately that's reality.

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greyghost 3 years, 7 months ago

Not a very "straightforward" remark. Scranton? I was thinking Lawrence or possibly even Ottawa, but whatever. How about Lebo?

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straightforward 3 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence may be a viable option for some in the Vinland area but for those living in the western part of our district, the Santa Fe Trail district would geographically make the most sense. In that district, 3rd and 4th graders go to an attendance center in Scranton. Read my post carefully and you would have understood that.

What district you leave for isn't really the point. The point is that either way, Lawrence, SFT or Ottawa will not keep the MSES or VES buildings open and those kids will not be able to go to a small, rural school with 10-15 kids per grade. Moving your children because USD 348 is closing their grade school would really just be a knee-jerk reaction to spite the Baldwin school district. Otherwise, your children would already be going to school in that other district.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Straightforward you do realize that MSE and VSE were actually the most efficient use of your tax dollar??

They housed like 10% of the student body for like 2% of the budget...also even if they were not an effective use of tax money, then Dorathy should have never promised the entire community he would keep them open and waste $200k on upgrades for them less then year ago.

Also if they should have been closed because they were not cost effective then the BOE and Dorathy should have designed and built the new PC to accommodate all the students, but they didn't.

Like I have said before my issue is not with the closing the schools, it's with the horrendously bad management we are still receiving in this district even though we pay a premium for it. Dorathy is a liar and a politician not an educator and as such should be dismissed also some of the current BOE are either blind or simply could care less about academics as long as they get their little things like new athletic fields or shiny new performing art centers.

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LAGNAFinaCJ 3 years, 7 months ago

I only hope the supporters of the Vinland/MS schools (including myself) were/are wrong all along. And that we actually do save over $400k in closing the schools.

I do realize it was a hard decision too, just a very sad one.

And Torch.... you are ignorant to think the kids of the Board will be ridiculed by the children of VES/MS. what an idiot.

Dan Wilcox

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LAGNAFinaCJ 3 years, 7 months ago

I only hope the supporters of the Vinland/MS schools (including myself) were/are wrong all along. And that we actually do save over $400k in closing the schools.

I do realize it was a hard decision too, just a very sad one.

And Torch.... you are ignorant to think the kids of the Board will be ridiculed by the children of VES/MS. what an idiot.

Dan Wilcox

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hipgrrrrl 3 years, 7 months ago

BaldwinDad, there are many opportunities for home schooled kids to interact with others beyond just the local Parks and Rec stuff. A quick web search on local associations will give you lots of options. Plus, there is an absolute wealth of online resources for homeschoolers and homeschoolees :).

I vote everyone hit the BOE where it hurts the most and evaluate other options than the BES when it comes to providing education for their kids. We are. Our three little "cash cows" are going elsewhere.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 7 months ago

The fact that you all think this decision was made out of spite or some hidden agenda is just remarkable. I guess you are going to get your payback now, huh, by taking your kids elsewhere? Good riddance, if your kids are anything like you.

If you just want to say it was done out of ignorance, then fine. I would support your right to think that. But why not stay and help educate then? Too greedy and selfish for that, I suppose. Oh well.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

LoL...this coming from the woman who was upset over the fact her kid had to wait two hours for a bus to come give them a ride from their recreational activities. Why not get up off your butt and pick them up yourself, but no you expect others to pay for your child's fun time.

It's not being selfish, it's just getting tired of paying for a minority of kids play time. My taxes were supposed to be used to educate kids not to sponsor plays, sporting events or water the football fields., if you want that you pay for it, then do it with your own dollar.

The only selfish person around here is you and people like you that expect everyone else to pay for their child's play time.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 7 months ago

That is not anywhere close to what I said. No wonder you have such a negative view of me, if that is what you got out of that post of mine.

I believe if you check back to that post, you will see I was condemning the fact that student-athletes were forced to go to an event several hours (close to three) prior to its start, and sit in bleachers to do their homework. If there had been money for two buses, which was always the case previously, those kids could have spent that time studying at home or in the library instead of in a loud gym on bleachers. And it was just a tiny example of how money spent on buildings that aren't needed does affect other kid's education negatively. May not have been the best example, but it was an issue for me that week because it directly impacted learning and homework.

Of course, with the budget so tight now, I am happy to deal with those cuts, so long as we aren't paying for other unnecessary expenses, like keeping two buildings open for 140 kids.

Regardless, you didn't address my main point that the board didn't appear to me to be acting on some hidden agenda with regards to their decision last night. It was purely financial. Again, they could have closed those schools years ago if that was their number one priority.

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Chicramblings 3 years, 7 months ago

Bloggerboo, if this was purely a financial decision, then it should have been done years ago - saving $400,000/year is significant in good economic times as well as in troubled economic times. In fact, any of the past leaders of our district should have done it! Just think where we would be now? So, don't you kind of wonder why all of these superintendents and boards in the past were so wrong if this was such the right financial decision? Again, in my book, saving $400,000 ANYTIME is worth closing the schools. So maybe, as I have calculated, posted and presented and others have questioned, the numbers the Superintendent gave as to the savings are not accurate? They do not include all the costs nor all the benefits of this decision. And the one thing they do not include or even remotely contemplate is students exiting the district as a result of this decision.

Whether one cares to admit it or not, education, like most things in this society, has become a consumer decision. Under this preface, one of the recourses a dissatisfied consumer has is to take their "dollars" elsewhere. A wise business leader would have 1) included in the financial analysis something for the impact of the students exiting, and 2) would have tried to market and sell this idea a bit harder to prevent student losses. I think good politicians call it "compromise" and some business leaders call it "damage control". So to the extent Hpppgrrll and others exit the district that is their right as a consumer and as a parent in trying to find the best education for their child. All we can do is wish them well and try to retain them in the community so their property tax dollars and sales tax dollars are helping in some fashion.

The naysayers can start now that this is not a "business", and so on. Go ahead, but that is part of the problem. We are in a new time - new economic cycles, new rules. Start looking at the larger socio-economic picture - strong, creative schools not only prepare our youth for tomorrow to be our future taxpayers, they attract individuals to the community, they employ workers, they impact the value of homes and businesses.

Now, was there some hidden agenda? Hmmm...don't know. I can certainly understand why some would connect the dots leading in that direction. Maybe it depends on which side of the road you are standing and which the way the wind is blowing?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

How about I don't care that student athletes that CHOOSE to participate in an EXTRA curricular activity are not bussed too and from those non-essential school activities in a timely manner.

Once again the job of our schools is to educate our children. If you want your child to play in sports, the band, create art or act in a play, then you pay for it yourself.

It's the height of selfishness to expect others to pay for something that is not an academic requirement and then demand that cuts be made to other children's academics first to finance those activities.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 7 months ago

Then why do almost 100% of the other public schools in this nation provide some sorts of these activities? Because they understand that balance and variety are good things. So is culture. Also, that intelligence and education are not just about reading, writing, and arithmetic.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

So, all public schools used to promote segregation did that make it right??

I'm not arguing that sports, arts and music don't offer some benefit to children's education. I honestly think they do thus the reason my child is involved in those types of activities.

However, I do not think they offer more benefit then the basics of Math, Science, and English which is what we are cutting with the proposal that was passed on Monday night. Also these additional types of activities can be easily provided by other groups at a much less reduced costs then our school district which is mired in regulations and red tape.

The bottom line however is that they are not academic requirements and as even you noted only Public schools which are failing us continue to promote these activities at the expense of base academics.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

I hate to burst your bubble but nothing is being cut - it is being consolidated. Why is it you seem to lack the ability to grasp that, get over it or accept it.?

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sparky 3 years, 7 months ago

And just why should we accept it and get over it? The decision had already been made, the opposition didn't like it, so they kept ranting and raving until the decision was overturned. Now you're saying that this group should just accept it and get over it when thats not at all what happened after the decision was made the first time?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

I hate to enlighten you ignorance ksrush, but this is a cut to academics Dorathy himself confirmed that this is what he is doing.

Their is no savings in consolidating the schools he is cutting the K-5 education budget and since he is doing that. The results is the schools had to be closed since he is firing teachers to get the cuts he is making. Since the teachers are being fired their is no one to teach all those kids therefore they had to close the schools to make it possible to give him the ability to make those budget cuts.

I just wish people would wake up and realize this....it drives me crazy that people are still willing to trust this BOE and Dorathy given their track record of errors and half truths.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

That is some of the most incoherent bable I have seen posted in quite some time. Please keep posting the entertainment value of your posts are priceless.

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maxine 3 years, 7 months ago

Did anyone know that one male board member blurted out loud that "education does not matter" during the intense debate about school closings. Who is this man? Obama? or Maybe just an butt kissin superintendent fan club member. Or, has the BOE ever thought about cutting staff and salaries at the district office? And what about the comment made at the monday night meeting about the old elementary building not being for sale now. Did the high cost of repairs just get cheaper or does the district office need the whole building to add more employees?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Maxine do we know the name of this Board member...really it would not surprise me if it was Dorathy himself since he strikes me as a politician more then an educator.

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lisagaylesmith 3 years, 7 months ago

Oh. He has said with his actions many times that "it is NOT about education." It is about sports and naming ballfields for him. I think we should name the first modular unit that goes up in town after him since he was so ready to close the rural schools and pack everyone into the new buildings in town.

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lisagaylesmith 3 years, 7 months ago

How about the need for the police officer to be present at the meeting? That was such a nice touch.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 7 months ago

This is such a disrespectful comment, Lisa. Grow up, will you?

Take a look at what happened at a board meeting in Florida to understand why there might possibly be a need for an officer: http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/14/florida.meeting.shooting/index.html?hpt=T1

We don't know where the crazies are until they show up toting their weapons, so it never hurts to be prepared.

And, of course, it couldn't possibly be that perhaps the local law enforcement community was aware of the hostile feelings this vote could bring about and just decided to show up to steer off any crazies, could it?

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 7 months ago

I don't know how that is disrespectful? You sir are an idiot!

how is that for disrespectful.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

It's over - grow up and deal with it

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mellowyellow 3 years, 7 months ago

People need to stop bashing Mr. Dorothy & the school district & "get on with it!" Well said ksrush.

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outlander 3 years, 7 months ago

Board Members Blaine Cone and Ruth Barkley I want to say thank you for your effort in trying to get the town to see what a big mistake they were making by closing down the two schools. AS FOR THE REST OF THE SCHOOL BOARD AND MR. DOROTHY YOU CAN ALL KISS MY RURAL ASS!!!!!

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey Outlander not sure if you heard, allot of the parents from MS and VSE are talking about boycotting next year on the count date for funding.

Not that I agree with this since it will hurt allot of kids whose parents didn't support closing the rural schools, but if all the rural students from the IC, PC, JHS, and HS were to call in sick that day, it would put the district one step closer to hopefully filing bankruptcy. Then with the district gone we could perhaps seriously look at getting someone to privately step in here and run the schools properly.

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true_bulldog 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes, well put. You can kiss my rural ss, too. I have believed in these schools for many years. They are great. No doubt. But I'm afraid the economics of our time has forced their clossure. I understand. I think it makes sense although I know there are vast amounts of money to be saved in administrative costs. We still have to do that. It's all we have left. So, administrators throughout the district, kissmy rural ss.

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 7 months ago

Haha. I think it is funny. Now maybe you all will agree that this board and most important the Superintendant does not have the leadership ability to run this district. They are money hungry want new buildings for every school, and all new facilities for everything and who pays the price. We do.

He played you all to get the bond passed. Now they have what they want. I just hope all of you remember this in three-five years when they ask for the next bond issue to build a Junior High on Bullpup.

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AmyIrenie 3 years, 7 months ago

Uhm....maybe a police officer being present at the meeting wasn't such a bad idea. Check out what happened at a Florida school board meeting. http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2010/12/shocking-video-ex-con-takes-school-board-hostage-killing-himself

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Nathaniel Johnson 3 years, 7 months ago

I believe that this will all seem so trivial in the next few next years when the district is consolidated into a single county district. The votes are now in place in State government for the forced consolidation of our school district into a super-district. I pointed out that this was the major platform item for our State Representative(elect) and no-one was particularly bothered.

Does anyone remember why we got a new superintendent? It was because the last one was at best incompetent and, at worst, defrauding the school district. Mr. Dorathy is definitely a politician. It is a political job and he has done an excellent job representing the school district's interests. Remember the hole we were in before he came along. We had just spent a small fortune on new text books that touted this idea of spiral learning but were so horribly ineffective that teachers dug out their 20+ year old books and taught from them instead. These are the kind of screw-ups that are NOT happening anymore. Our student's test scores have risen remarkably over Mr Dorathy's tenure.

I personally wish the board had voted to retain the outlying schools as they essentially promised to keep them open if the most recent bond issue was passed. George H. W. Bush said "Read my lips. No new taxes." and still signed a bill to raise taxes. It was the right thing to do and he did it despite knowing that it would cost him the next election. This is a similar case and I think that we need to remember that the Superintendent and the Board acts on behalf of the district and the students who are educated in it and are obligated to vote for what is in their (the students) best interest.

For those people who believe that their is some intrinsic difference between "rural" and "town", I would like to point out that the difference that existed 20- 30 years ago are largely gone. This district is well along in transitioning from a rural district into a exurban zone. This transition will define our politics and shape our decisions over the next generation as more people from the suburbs "escape" to Baldwin. The suburban value system is markedly different from a small town value system. Not wrong or bad, just different. If you look at towns like Gardner and Eudora you should see indication of the type of social transformation that has and will continue to occur here. If you do not like it then perhaps you might want to mosey along. There are a lot of great towns further west.

Nathaniel Johnson gruyere.emmentaler@gmail.com

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Cityboy 3 years, 7 months ago

Jimmy ... an interesting poll would be did/do you support the BOE closing the rural schools?

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm almost positive they already did one and it was like 2 to 1 against closing he schools.

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Torch 3 years, 7 months ago

The issues surrounding this decision had very little to do with education and 'the kids.' In my view here are the reasons this was so hotly debated...in no particular order but will try to keep the bigger points at the top:

  1. Funding cuts from the state.
  2. Convenience for rural families. (Ironic given they all come to Baldwin eventually anyway.)
  3. The perception that smaller classes mean better instruction. (In this case the increase by consolidation is insignificant in my opinion.)
  4. Not wanting to cut jobs.
  5. Teacher 'workload'
  6. Already insane taxation levels within Baldwin (people are tired of paying for luxury.)

Like Mr. Johnson posted above me, I believe in short order this will mean very little. Once the consolidation happens and the sky doesn't fall, children don't come home weeping, and people realize that 4 more kids per class doesn't make it impossible to learn then things will settle down.

If - as has been asserted by those in favor of leaving the schools open - it's 'about the kids' then I believe they'll find they are better off. No more cold lunches at MS. Cleaner facilities. More opportunities to integrate socially.

Most importantly the District should become more viable financially and ALL students in the district will benefit from that.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

That is were your wrong Torch we are not better off financially with this decision since Mr. Dorathy has already made plans to spend the money he is touting we will save on non-essential expenditures.

This means no actual savings and when the budget cuts come next year which they will, then we will be in the same boat as we are now. Well, except for the facts that we will have a hotly divided community, kids sitting in a schools that were not built to hold them and teachers already dealing with large classes where the kids who need the most help are just pushed through the system.

No matter how you want to cut it this was a bad decision and Mr. Dorathy needs to step down. He lied to all the people in Baldwin to get the Bond past and then used the on going and obvious economic downturn as an excuse to cover up his lies and those of the certain BOE members.

I guess what really kills me the most with your arguments Torch is you go on and on about how stupid it was to pass the Bond, but yet you now trust the decisions of the same people that proposed it and lied to get it passed. As if they can now be trusted...talk about being naive.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

Well Bald, at least one portion of your arguement is wrong. Looking at many of the other "rural" posts in this and other blogs, the class rooms are not going to be over run with "rural" kids as their parents will be sending them out of district. or home schooled or ... ( right )

Nate Johnson hits the nail on the head with his post. Baldwin is changing ( not growing but changing) so the options are either " adapt and prosper " or " head west young man " Happy trails!

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

LoL....yes your right and the people who will end up paying for it is the people that stay here.

I guess you answer to this is yeah we won!! Now we have to pay twice as much and we didn't save anything!!

And Nate is not right there is still a huge difference between the schools and the communities as pointed out by every student that has attended MSE and VSE. I'm not arguing which is better or worse, but there is a difference. I'm not sure what makes Nate thinks that is not other then his own opinion, but I have visited all the schools and I can see the difference.

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Torch 3 years, 7 months ago

I wanted the rural schools closed 5 years ago. My position on their closing has nothing to do with trusting the current members of the school board.

If you think - as you stated above - that there is no cost to running those buildings you are incorrect. Not only is there maintenance and utilities those buildings are aging and very soon will require major rennovation - at which time the rural parents would ask for even more money for improvements like a kitchen for MS, etc.

In any case I'll agree to disagree with you. This was the best move for the fiscal health of the district.

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Cityboy 3 years, 7 months ago

If Mr. Johnson is correct, I cannot wait to see the outcry from the community when we are forced to consolidate Eudora, Wellsville, and Baldwin. As it stands right now, if we did this and only eliminated the Superintendent plus staff for two of the three schools, tax payers would save/reallocate $600,000+ annually. It is probably a lot higher than that.

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boredstiff 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Dorathy does not get to pick and choose who keeps their job. It is done by seniority. That is the sole determiner in cutting teaching job.

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maxine 3 years, 7 months ago

The decision has been made OK. We get it! But don't be surprised when the next bond issue comes before us in the next five years. The district already has a plan. Just try to remember our aging community and the fact that their taxes keep rising and the social securtiy checks don't. We have a lot of them maxed now as well of the rest of the residence. Of all the people in know in Baldwin, non have said they voted for the last bond issue. Was it the 950 votes from BU students that do not pay taxes. That's my guess! Then they ought to check out the cheap materials used in the new school. I'm a truely disappointed in our Baldwin Signal for not giving our community all the facts that come out at these meetings and not reporting news in our area that is not brought to them. Get some real news! Go looking for it!

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true_bulldog 3 years, 7 months ago

Maxine, while I may agree with you on the Baldwin City Signal needing news, I will correct you on your attempt to blame the bond's approval on the Baker students. That just didn't happen. When the Signal had an editor, this editorial appeared.

Debunking ‘Baker vote’ myth Our View Editorial September 3, 2009, 1:00 a.m.

We’ve heard references to the “Baker University vote” over the years, but not quite like this past year when Baldwin City voters approved the $22.9 million bond issue for the Baldwin School District.

The measure passed by a slim margin, 2,087-1,775, and opponents of the bond issue have been quick to blame the “Baker vote” for its passage. It’s always easy to blame something on someone else.

But in this case, it just doesn’t hold water.

Voting data from the Baldwin City precincts was examined last week to see just how many Baker students voted in November. That was done by looking at addresses and names to determine locations and people who were Baker students.

The list totaled 182 names that were verified. The bond issue passed by 312 votes. Even if all 182 of those Baker students voted “yes” on the bond issue and those votes were thrown out, the measure still passes.

Although we’re not surprised by that, we’re glad to be able to know that it wasn’t the “Baker vote” that made the difference. We’ve always held the view that while Baker is always a factor, it doesn’t determine an election’s outcome.

Why did only 182 out of more than 900 Baker students vote here? It may look like a poor turnout, but it’s more likely because the vast majority of those students voted in their hometowns, either personally or by absentee ballot.

Why would that be when that election was supposedly the “coming out” of the younger vote because of the race for president? Easy. If those out-of-state voters wanted their vote to count in putting Barack Obama in the White House, they certainly wouldn’t vote in Republican-dominated Kansas. In-state students obviously had more interest in the races from their areas.

Of course, the review of the ballot data can’t reveal how those students voted or even if they went further down the ballot after checking off Obama. There have been claims made that students were urged at various gatherings to “vote yes” on the bond issue. We don’t know how much of that went on, if any, but we also know a thing or two about young adults. Tell them to do one thing and they’ll likely do the opposite. We don’t know if that’s the case here, but it could be. And it doesn’t matter too much since only 182 of them voted anyway.

For those who need more convincing, do you recall the spring election for mayor and city council where mayoral candidate George McCrary predicted victory for him because he was going to take the “Baker vote” and even appointed a Baker student as his campaign manager?

Result: Ken Wagner 422 votes, McCrary 231.

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mellowyellow 3 years, 7 months ago

Did you folks know that the "excellent" Vinland school didn't make standard of excellence?

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mellowyellow 3 years, 7 months ago

"Vinland Elementary School made the standard of excellence in third- and fifth-grade reading, as well as building-wide in reading." I stand corrected - no math or science awards at Vinland.

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

Who cares this was never about whose school was best it had more to do with what was best for the district and the kids that are just starting to learn.

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tomfoolery 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, who cares. It's not about whose school is best. I am not too sure it is about money/budget either. People have been trying to close the rural schools for the past 20 years. I think it might have been a combination of jealousy, money, and misunderstandings that came to the decision to close the schools. If it were about money they would just cut sports and make the student athletes pay for everything. Of course if that decision was made the legislation would jump right in. The fact of the matter is the government is to blame.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

which kids, the "rural" or the whole district

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm sorry Ksrush your question makes no sense to me since keeping the funding in place for K-5 education benefitted all the kids iin grade K-5 not just rural or city, but all 600+ kids in the PC and IC.

This closing will benefit no one and in long run I believe that years from now we will see it actually cost the district way more then it was proposed to save. If you take into account the loss of students, the lower test results from those schools, and additional costs for keeping those buildings on the books which is what Dorathy is proposing, but then again with Dorathy's history of lying to his employers who knows what his plan is.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

Ya got me there B - Dad. I can't argue with if' 's and speculation

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BaldwinDad 3 years, 7 months ago

But you can support them...I see hypocrisy is your main strength.

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Individual 3 years, 7 months ago

A bill was introduced in the Kansas House of Representatives in 2010 to include the requirement that a school district have a full-time equivalent enrollment of at least 10,000 students. http://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-kansas-schools/kansas-school-consolidation-information-reform-bill-introduced/ Hmmm.... The Lawrence School District has just over 10,000 students. Baldwin has a few hundred students. It sounds like some powerful libertarian interests from Wichita would like the state to put Baldwin into the Lawrence School District, and buss Baldwin's students to Lawrence. It wouldn't be much further for the Marion Springs students to go to Lawrence, than to Baldwin. If that occurred, then the Marion Springs families probably wouldn't have much less clout in the Lawrence District, than they did in the Baldwin District on this vote. In the early 1960s, the Marion Springs District No. 101 was an independent district. Later, there was a dispute over whether the Baldwin District or the Overbrook District would obtain the Marion Springs students. I don't recall whether the Lawrence District was also interested. There were hearings on this at the Douglas County Courthouse. A small part of the Marion Springs district went to Santa Fe Trail, and the larger part went to Baldwin. In decades earlier than the 1960s, numerous residents of the Marion Springs area went to high school in Lawrence and Ottawa. Maybe more consolidation isn't the answer. Maybe the answer is keeping open the buildings that you have, while being more prudent about expenditures on extracurricular activities and their facilities, and the extras that aren't essential to basic education.

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ksrush 3 years, 7 months ago

Or consolidate if you don't have the funds

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mellowyellow 3 years, 7 months ago

There are several states looking at consolidating all school districts in a county to make 1 district with 1 superintendent. This isn't a new or novel idea. Educational funding is tight in other places other than Baldwin City & this just might be where we are headed.

Douglas County is served by seven school districts. * Lawrence USD 497 serves Lawrence and the Clinton Lake area. * Baldwin City USD 348 serves Baldwin City and most of southern Douglas County. * Perry-Lecompton USD 343 serves Lecompton and most of northwest Douglas County. * Eudora USD 491 serves Eudora and the northeast part of the county. * Santa Fe Trail USD 434 covers the southwest part of the county. * Wellsville USD 289 covers extreme southeast Douglas County. * Shawnee Heights USD 450 services the extreme western part of the county including Big Springs.

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dentallover 3 years, 3 months ago

There are several of you who sit here and bad mouth how bad Mr. Dorathy is and how is has lied, he is a coward and all this other crap.That is so arrogant of all of you. Have you really sat down and thought about it. Mr. Dorathy has been in education for over 20 something years. Pretty sure he doesn't go to work every day deciding how he can lose his job he has worked very hard for. He stresses everyday of how he can do a good job for his district! He doesn't want to fire good teachers..and doesn't get the choice of who goes!!!! Closing those schools will save the district money. One they are old schools which means heating and air is higher in cost. Also the electricity, taxes, insurance..have you thought about that chunk of money they would be saving???? Have you people ever sat down and thought what the fine print is for the BOE and Mr. Dorathy. It just disgusts me you guys dont look and get all of the information before you just start bad mouthing everyone! The BOE and Mr. Dorathy know exactly what they have to work with and what areas need to be worked on. I think Mr. Dorathy has cleaned the district up alot since he has been there even though the economy has put a big demper on things. I thought you guys would stand aside your own town.

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