Archive for Thursday, June 10, 2010

Letters to the Editor

June 10, 2010

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter of Mrs. Kite. I am sure it won’t do any good, but you need to get some of your facts right. If you haven’t noticed, we have been in a small recession. I say small because this recession is nothing like it was in the ‘30s. Most of us couldn’t cope with what the ‘30s brought to teachers then; they had to be teacher, principal, nurse, music, art, all in one. Feed their students, put wood in the heating stoves and try and educate children. I do realize this is the technology era, but there are reasons for everything and this recession has been brought on by too much waste and spending.

One of my neighbors who is in her 80s called me one day to ask me, just why are Baldwin people griping about Marion Springs Elementary School? I told her I really didn’t know, but for 25 years they have been trying to close Marion Springs. When Marion Springs was consolidated into the Baldwin school system in the late ‘60s, we should never have let that happen. It was a school that was already paid for and we wouldn’t be continually trying to keep our community school open if it hadn’t been for consolidation.

Mrs. Kite, we haven’t had summer school for the regular children for several years before the recession; however, we do continue to have summer school for the special needs children who need it. As for buses, the country children ride buses that are 15 years or older and mine that I drive has 215,000 miles on it and children ride over an hour now. Some of the newer buses are used in the city and have a 30-minute route and, yes, we bus drivers get paid the same. It is hard enough to get country children to school on time in bad weather without going further into Baldwin. The new buses we get are saved for activities and sports. The longer children are on buses, the more their safety is at risk.

Our school board member Ande Parks stated in a letter that it wouldn’t save our school district that much money to close a building. Board President Alison Bauer stated in our public meetings that 85 percent of the budget is salaries. You want to raise salaries, and I understand that because I haven’t had a raise in three years either, but I do have a job, at least for now. Everyone has had to sacrifice; it’s not just schools budgets, it’s everything. Life isn’t fair sometimes. It sounds from your letter, Mrs. Kite, that all the Baldwin children aren’t getting their fair education; wrong, cutting back doesn’t always hurt us, but makes us stronger and we appreciate what we do have.

We pay high dollar taxes and would like to see something for our taxes. Farmers don’t get a choice on their salaries; they take what is given to them at the time of harvest or sell livestock, but they have to pay high dollar for machinery, seeds, fertilizer — they pay the price they’re asked to pay. If it wasn’t for the country farmers and families you wouldn’t eat. We all like to eat. We can’t afford any more bond issues, because we are paying high taxes now, and crowding up schools we help pay for isn’t the answer. The world is sacrificing now and getting better, it makes us a little humble, no matter what our titles are. God our creator humbled himself all the time, maybe you should start praying for our schools and hard times instead of complaining and pointing fingers.

Darlene Schwarz

Rural Baldwin City

To the editor:

The Kansas legislature closed its 2010 session by passing a $314 million sales tax increase to avoid further cuts to educational funding. Gov. Mark Parkinson commented, “The bipartisan, balanced budget on its way to my desk reflects the values and priorities of Kansans. The 1-cent sales tax is a temporary solution which prevents permanent damage to our children's education..........”

This is a temporary fix and our school board members need take this opportunity to prepare a long-term plan to ensure the financial stability of our district. They believe they have made the necessary cuts to be in a position to absorb another decrease in state funding if necessary. However, the status quo of the district is not acceptable. Our school board needs to be looking toward the future and answer the question: How will the cuts that have been made be reinstated to ensure the best possible education for all students?

When will the positions for the school nurse, the industrial arts teacher, the SPED teacher, the at-risk tutor, the school resource officer, the high school social worker, the certified teachers aide in the Reading Resource room, the custodians and others be filled again? When will buses be retired prior to reaching 20 years of age? When will our buildings be repaired and maintained at an acceptable standard? When will the technology in the district be upgraded and maintained in order to prepare our children for post-secondary opportunities or the workforce upon graduation? When will junior high and high school lockers be replaced? When will building budgets be reinstated?

As a community we must hold our elected officials accountable. Part of this accountability is strong financial decisions. It is time to consolidate our elementary schools in order to give all students opportunities to explore education opportunities and excel at their highest level. These children are the future leaders of this community, state and nation. We owe them the best all-around educational opportunity we can provide.

Amy Carlson

Baldwin City


Torch 8 years, 7 months ago

Some valid points Amy. However, you continue to live under the impression that children need all of the things you list in order to get the 'best all-around educational opportunity'.

They don't, and that's the problem the Board faces. We're a country of gluttony and over the years things have been added to the schools that frankly add absolutely nothing to furthering education.

Personally I would wipe out all Arts education beyond 8th grade. That should be extra-curricular just like sports - and paid for by the participants.

In any case it's time to cut to the bone and build up again with more sanity. We don't need any more 'Athletic Directors' earning $65,000 a year like we did a few years ago.


thtb 8 years, 7 months ago

Torch, you could not be more wrong if you tried. We do owe it to our kids to give them the best possible education. I think you are in the huge minority on the issue of education. Not funding education is short-sighted and all the evidence shows that when we fund schools properly it isn't a cost, but an investment for the future. Your suggestion of taking out art education is off the deep-end and furthermore it is one of the pillars of the eight intelligences and one we can not afford to get rid of.


BigCat 8 years, 7 months ago

THTB, the evidence does not support your claim. Education funding just keeps going up and up since the inception of the Department of Education, however test scores just keep going down and down.

What this country really needs is a voucher system.


BigCat 8 years, 7 months ago

Well said Torch and Ms Schwarz. It seems to me that there is a small group of people with loud voices that want and want and want. However they don't want to sacrafice anything in times of need.

The slide show given the other night at the school board meeting was misleading. Most of what was shown just needed cleaning, not repaired. Not a budget issue.

What really needs to be addressed is why is the idea of closing the schools an issue in the first place. Mr. Dorothy and the School Board repeatedly said that if the bond issue was passed then there would be no need to go after MS or VES. So, either the board and Mr. Dorothy were lying, or their was extremely poor planning on their part. By that I mean, if the two schools were closed it would put the IC and PC at capacity leaving NO room for growth. This means that they should have built bigger schools to begin with, or leave the current two open. Long story short, if these schools get closed they can forget about getting another bond passed in the next 15-20 years as all trust will have been lost.

One final bone to pick, what is wrong with the parents providing some of the school supplies? You are going to have to when your kids go to college, why not spend a little now to ensure that your kids get a good education. I understand that some people think that they can't afford it, but they can. Don't buy that $5 latte at Starbucks, don't rent videos, drop the unlimited data plan on the cell phone, etc. There are lots of ways for a family to save a little money to help their children. It's just that some parents think that they are entitled to it. Stop relying on the feds to fund the schools because they could screw up minute rice. Take education in your own hands and stop waiting for a handout. Whatever happened to working for something?


markdunn 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we should have a really big Bake Sale.


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