Letters to the Editor
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.
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.