Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2010

Letters to the Editor

June 17, 2010

To the editor:

When asked to vote “yes” so a new school could be built in town, we had no idea it would be used as a way to move our children out of the school we love. We raised our taxes willingly and we feel betrayed. The smaller communities do not want to be forced to be a part of the larger community. Don’t we get a voice in this?

We have parent volunteers cleaning. “Hot” lunches brought from town are cold. We have inferior playgrounds, combined grades and a shared principal. Still we ask the school board to keep our schools open. We want to stay in our small communities. There are hurt feelings and damaged relationships and it will be hard to feel united with educators who were fighting to close our school. Our teachers do not want to move to town.

The fact-finding committee told us closing schools would not save a significant amount of money. Those were not the same numbers used in the presentation at the June meeting. If the money saved by cutting teachers and closing schools would be used to resurface a basketball court or replace lockers, that is just another slap in the face to the rural taxpayers. Smaller class sizes are in the best interest of the district as a whole and that is research based.

Lisa Smith

Baldwin City

To the editor:

This is to all Day Out With Thomas helpers. A big thank you goes to all the organizations, food vendors, Midland Railway members and Baldwin City volunteers for the superb job you all did to make 2010 Day out with Thomas a success.

It takes approximately 135-150 persons a day to make DOWT run smoothly. We’ve had many comments on how well all venues were handled.

Thanks, again, for the successful year in 2010.

Midland Railway and

Linda Ballinger

Event co-coordinator


Torch 8 years, 6 months ago

"We have parent volunteers cleaning. “Hot” lunches brought from town are cold. We have inferior playgrounds, combined grades and a shared principal."

Sounds to me like the conditions your children are going to school in are apalling. It also sounds like there are untold thousands of dollars worth of improvements necessary to bring the facilities up to standard.

Thanks for providing the best argument yet for closing those barns before the rest of the district has to spend even more to suit you personal needs. Your children come to Baldwin eventually anyway. It's time for the whole district to think of where the vast, vast majority of the students go to school and quit pandering to special interest groups.


crystalharris 8 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever been to Vinland or Marion Springs? Your "barn" inference was in fact one of most rude comments I have ever heard. Not sure where you get "untold thousands of dollars worth of improvements to bring our facility up to standard" by what Mrs. Smith said. Nobody indicates inequities or facility issues when they want to use our popular gym. That one room in itself would be a shame if it was not available for community or school use.

If you want the district to homogenize everyone's needs further by allowing everyone to have exactly the same thing and that never mind that teaching and enriching our children should be #1. It seems as though pandering to our special interest groups differs than pandering to other interest groups? How does that work...don't do as I do but do as I say? If your community and academic haven was constantly under attack and being consumed by petitions to close your school because of inequities, based on incomplete and at best, guesstimates, in the FFC report, the "bottom line" and "your coming here anyway" mentality is not the case for educating all children. ALL STUDENTS need the best opportunity to learn and that does not always follow the "vast majority".


lisagaylesmith 8 years, 6 months ago

Why would a person want to comment without using their real name? Could it be they might be embarrassed to voice their opinion so that everyone knew what they had to say? The point I was trying to make was not that the rural schools were "barns" but that we had already made many concessions and taken cuts to keep them open. We have also voted to build a nice, new school in town so those kids could have a building as nice (or nicer) than ours. Some of the voices that want to shut the rural schools keep talking about equitable spending. The rural patrons pay more than half of the tax dollars that build schools and keep them open. We should be able to have the small part of the budget it takes to have our children in our own communities for grade school. They will be in town eventurally, as "torch" says and that is too soon for most of us. Equitable spending would actually mean that the rural communities get MORE of the budget, not less or NOTHING.


Spiderpig 8 years, 6 months ago

It doesn't matter what the rural patrons pay. Not all of the rural patron's kids go to those barns. If you would like to use this as an argument find out how many of those people have kids that go to the money pits.

By the way, your schools are staying open. Why are you guys still posting?


sparky 8 years, 6 months ago

So with your logic Spiderpig, does that mean if I live in town and don't use the schools, then I don't have to pay for them?

I DO live in town and choose not to use the public school system, does that mean I don't have to pay on the THREE school bonds that I have been paying on?

You call them "money pits," yet all the discussions I've seen is that by closing them will save a couple hundred thousand dollars (not chump change by any means) but this is what percentage of the total school budget? Has anyone compared schools (city vs. rural) on a cost per student basis? I'd be interested to see that number.


Spiderpig 8 years, 5 months ago

Actually I am saying that her argument doesn't mean anything.

It amazes me that no one cares about saving "a couple hundred thousand dollars" EVERY YEAR!!! You also have to realize that we get paid to have kids in new buildings for 2 years. Probably just a couple thousand / kid / year though.

You can see whatever numbers you want. If you are for keeping the outer schools open then you will twist them to help your argument. If you are for closing the outer schools then you will twist them to help your argument.

None of this matters because the school board is happy with the status quo. Change is tough so we will ignore it and hope it goes away. We should all go to the drug store and talk about this over a malt.


reganjill 8 years, 5 months ago

We could EASILY save a couple hundred thousand dollars by getting rid of all sorts of things and by NOT having to close any schools at all. Starting with sports. It is the job of educators to educate, meaning to teach children basic math, reading, science, geography, history. However, these things are not being taught, or at least not up to par in the average high school because the emphasis is on passing so you can still play in the big game, not in learning the actual curriculum. If we got rid of cheerleading, football, tennis, track, soccer, ANY sport at all and that would save money then that should be put first over cutting a school and teaching jobs. If parents are so bent on their kids playing sports they can send them to Lawrence or into a special league. That's what happens up until junior high anyway. At the very least the system could cut out sports of the junior high and keep things in a local league and then continue sports in high school. OR make the teams try out teams to that only the kids who are actually any good get to play. Kids who don't have skills and who don't have a chance of getting scholarships just take up money anyway. This would also help kids get motivated and have a work ethic about something if they strongly desired to play on a team they had to try out for then they'd work harder at it.

The point is education is being put last and that is wrong. It is absolutely laughable that we are building new auditoriums and new school buildings and new tracks when we can't afford to keep the heat on during winter for the school buildings we already have. The rural schools are making sacrifices so that the town schools can keep their sports, but it shouldn't be a one way street.

If kids are bad, don't give'em detention, keep them after school and make them clean off dry erase boards, or sweep the halls. For earth day the students are taken out of class and sent outside to plant a tree or weed a garden or pick up trash. Why just on earth day? Go ahead and use it as a punishment too and then there'd be money saved on late night janitor cleanup.

There are multiple ways to save money without closing any schools.


Monkey 8 years, 5 months ago

"“Hot” lunches brought from town are cold" This is funny to me cause when my mother in law worked at Marion Springs the lunches were fresh and awesome. She made home made rolls for the kids, so they never used to be hot lunches served cold.


BaldwinDad 8 years, 5 months ago

I have come to realize that Torch is synonymous with Troll on this furom.

"In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response"

The reason people are still posting about this Spiderpig is that some mis-guided people in Baldwin are still trying to close the outlying schools, even though this will mean increased costs in the long run for everyone, as well as poorer academic experience for all kids grade K-5 with crowded class rooms. The additional cost will come once we close those schools, then we will have to pass a new Bond to either re-open them or build larger schools in 2-3 years since our current new schools will be out of room.

So in order to save that hundred thousand you presume to think we will get by closing them we will shuffle kids around busing them in some cases up to hour in order to bring them all into town. Then again that # you give is very flawed since it doesn't take into account the large number of students will not be attending school any longer as their parents will be pulling them out of MSE and VES if they are closed. So, at roughly $4k a student even if only 10% do yank their kids out of the USD#348 district, that means roughly $80k lost.


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