Archive for Thursday, October 7, 2010

School board sets date for rural schools public hearing

The Baldwin School Board listened to patrons' opinions on the possibility that the two rural elementary schools might close during the spring. A large crowd is expected Monday night after the school board set Nov. 11 the date for a public hearing on the topic.

The Baldwin School Board listened to patrons' opinions on the possibility that the two rural elementary schools might close during the spring. A large crowd is expected Monday night after the school board set Nov. 11 the date for a public hearing on the topic.

October 7, 2010

Veterans Day in the Baldwin School District might end up turning into a battle over the future of Marion Springs and Vinland elementary schools.

That’s the date The Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education chose for the public hearing regarding the future of the two outlying schools. It will start at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 in the Baldwin Junior High School auditorium.

The school board passed the motion to have the public hearing by a 4-2 vote Monday night. Board Members Ruth Barkley and Blaine Cone voted against the motion. Board Member Josh Mihesuah wasn’t at the meeting.

“Just because you have the hearing, it doesn’t mean that you are closing any building,” Superintendent Paul Dorathy said. “You just have to hear what the public has to say about this matter.”

Dorathy suggested the board have the public hearing in the BJHS auditorium because of its capacity. He said it would also allow for speakers to come on the stage and speak into a microphone so everyone will be able to hear them.

Four of the six board members were OK with moving forward with the process to have the public hearing.

“I am in favor of going through with this process,” Board Member Bill Busby said. “As most of us recognize, we aren’t talking about closing the rural schools because they aren’t doing a good job. We are making do with less, and we have no choice. I’m not sitting here telling people that this process will result in better education in a net fashion. However, it seems like it’s a way to deal with it in a financially responsibly fashion. If we don’t maintain competitive salaries in this district, where are we going to get good teachers?”

The board debated for 30 minutes on the topic of closing the schools and the consequences of closing the buildings. Barkley and Cone had concerns about the building’s upkeep if they are closed next school year.

Cone asked Dorathy about the liability of MSES and VES if they are closed. Dorathy directed the question to Cynde Frick, district director of financial operations.

“If we use the building for some district purpose, even if that’s storage, it will stay under our blanket policy,” Frick said. “That means it will have the same rates it has now. Plus, it will have the benefit of the blanket policy.

“If we did not use a closed building for any purpose, the worst-case scenario is after a year or so of being vacant, it would probably come out from under the blanket and be a stand alone,” he said. “That means higher rates and it could go to actual cash value. So the plan is to use any closed building for storage, and we have plenty of things we can store.”

Cone and Barkley said they were concerned about the effect of the temperatures on the buildings if heating and air conditioning are shut off. Barkley also had issues with the idea of closing the buildings, instead of looking at other options to save the district money.

“Three years ago we all sat at this table and looked critically at our district,” Barkley said. “We created a vision and how we could achieve that vision, part of that was floating this bond issue. We were focusing on early childhood education with the new building. It’s not that anymore. We don’t have Parents as Teachers or Rainbow Preschool there. We shouldn’t betray what the voters wanted us to do, which was focus on early childhood education.

Board President Alison Bauer said circumstances had changed in the past three years.

“Well Ruth, I agree with you in part, but three years ago when we did our strategic plan the economy hadn’t tanked,” Bauer said. “When we passed the bond issue, the economy started to tank, and we didn’t know how much further we would be cut by the state. I agree that those buildings are valuable assets, but at the same time I don’t think the discussion on how we are going to care for them in the future has a whole lot of bearing on deciding whether or not we are going to have this meeting tonight.”

Board member Scott Lauridsen said he wants to do what was best for the entire district.

“We are hurting in grades 6-12 at the expense of this vision for what we wanted to do in early childhood,” Lauridsen said. “To me, that’s compounding the problem by not recognizing that things have changed. I don’t like the fact that it has changed, but it’s my responsibility to react to those changes and do what’s best, which means we can’t do everything we wanted to do for that early childhood vision.

“I still think we can be, relatively speaking, as good as anybody in the area in what we are doing for K-5,” he said. “I stand behind that. I think moving the average class size from 17 to 21, based on everything we know has happened to us, I think we are delinquent in making this move.”

The school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the District Office. The board will allow public comment at the meeting before the board discusses its strategic plan for district buildings.

Comments

Torch 4 years, 2 months ago

Pretty interesting here.

Wonder how many people will have the nerve to stand at the microphone in front of everyone and demand that the schools be closed. I'm guessing not many.

On the other hand it would be quite easy to stand there and weep and say 'It's for the kids!'

Here's an interesting quote:

“Well Ruth, I agree with you in part, but three years ago when we did our strategic plan the economy hadn’t tanked,”

Um...if you go back to the articles on this very website on the passing of the $chool Bond in 2007 there are several posts from myself and others warning that the economy was on the cusp of a recession. I personally told a couple of board members myself. I believe I said: "The last thing you want to do when a recession is coming is take on more debt."

We were ignored...but don't imply that there was no warning that the economy was tanking...there was plenty and the board - and many of the people of Baldwin - disregarded it. Now it's time to pay the price.

Close the schools and move on.

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

Torch, what is your position when the Board comes back in 3 years for another bond to increase capacity at the PC and IC? Where will you be on that issue? Will the school closings be such a great idea in the face of millions of dollars? Look down the road and bit and see what this is going to do financially to the district. When this decision is made on the closing schools, you are already locking future events in place - the question of IF there will be another bond issue is gone. It will become a question of WHEN there will be another bond issue.

Secondly, I agree with your wisdom at the time of the bond offering and now. There were some grave inklings when the bond went through about the state of the economy. But exactly how good of a job did the Board do three years ago in setting that vision for the district if it is so easy to abandon now in the face of "economic" crisis? In setting the vision did they just assume a "rosey" outlook? And finally, what does their decision making three years ago, tell us about their ability to make decisions today? A leader sets a vision and sticks to it - the overall plan may be tweaked here or there as other circumstances change, but you do not abandon the vision that was set out; especially not a vision that was built upon the people passing and ultimately paying for a $25 million dollar bond. If the taxpayers weren't feeling used before, they should be feeling used now.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

I agree completely with Chicrambling and with Torch.

People on here confuse my reluctance with closing MSE and VES, with this silly notion that I want to keep them open for the kids!! No, my issue has always been that this BOE and Administrator seem to lack any real ability to safely plan what is best for our kids.

The comment made by Alison Bauer truly show one of two things imho either utter ignorance of economics and current social trends or a complete disconnect from her job as a Board member. If she could not tell we where going into a massive depression 3 years ago then she was living under a rock. Everyone knew in fact some experts were saying this was coming as early as 2005. For Alison to sit there now and claim we had no clue then truly makes me wonder how capable she is to lead a bake sale much less this Board.

Also for Scott to now say we came up with a vision just 3 years ago, but now we have some issues so we have to abandoned that vision and go in the EXACT opposite direction does seem quite strange, almost like someone who might not have agreed with that vision in the first place. Then he states that the vision he says he helped create is hurting grades 6-12, that also makes me think that the Board is not capable of making a strategic plan at all, much less one they plan on sticking with.

Especially when in making those plans included spending roughly $3 million on new athletic fields that we definitely didn't need. Perhaps Mr. Busby should have spoken up 3 years ago when he was helping to make that strategic plan and said something about how it had already been a year since we have given any raises to those quality educators we must keep and maybe sacrificed those athletic fields from the Bond and put that money to funding something that would actually have made their job of educating our children easier.

So now here we are three years later the same BOE and Administrator telling us they failed in their vision, but asking us to trust them with a new one?? I think not, not with out some serious consideration.

Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me.

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Torch 4 years, 2 months ago

Chicramblings - I think where our paths diverge is that you think we need the capacity and I don't. I think schools in general are bloated and over-staffed and that classrooms of 25 - 30 students (the norm 30 years ago) is just fine.

The cream will always rise to the top in a class and the dregs will always be the dregs. So you have the top 20 percent and the bottom 20 percent that are going to do what they do no matter what the teacher-student ratio is. In a class of 30 that means a teacher has 18 kids to work with where they may make a difference. Beyond that...what about the concept of using your star students as teacher's aides? 100 years ago when I was in the military you took a pre-test on a subject. If you scored high enough you were made an assistant instructor. I digress.

Even if we decide ultimately to open up rural schools again they're going to need to be built from scratch. Those facilities - especially Marion Springs - are woefully inadequate and should be bulldozed. Even if we just mothball them and re-open them when we're all fat and happy again in 5 or 10 years it will still cost ridiculous amounts of money to bring them back into service. The money isn't there now and I'm guessing there won't be a lot of support to take out another $10 million to re-build the facilities.

It's actually a lose-lose situation. But I think the lesser of the two evils right now is to close them and deal with increased class sizes until we - once again - get hammered for another bond to expand.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow Torch seriously there is just so much wrong with your concept of education I'm not sure where to start.

Let's start with class sizes. 20-30 kids per Teacher is not only going to make you lose good Teachers you have, since the Teachers will hardly be able to teach those kids much less be able to manage that many 5 year olds. Then in regards to your comment about the cream and the dregs, you obviously have never been in school since you would realize that the way our current education system is set up is that it teaches to the slowest child in the class room. There is no honors or AP K-5 classes available to those kids that might be the cream you speak of, no they have to sit there bored stiff listening to repetitive instruction to those dregs as you put it. The cream students then start acting out and get into trouble develop bad habits and overall suffer under such a large meat packing approach to education you propose.

As far as opening or closing MSE or VES neither one of those schools are in such great disrepair as you state and if they are can you please cite direct proof that this is the case. Also please cite someone other then anonymous posters on here as your proof. You seem to keep mentioning this in quite a few of your posts but never offer any proof as to these statements. That holds as much water as if I kept posting that, I have heard that the Torch is a internet troll that likes to make inflammatory statements about things they know nothing about while picking their nose. Do you see how easy that is to make statements of opinion and masquerade them as some sort of fact or reasoned judgment?

While I do agree with you that we are facing a lose lose situation her I completely disagree with you on how to proceed. There are several other area's that can be lost before we focus on cutting into the education of grades K-5.

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

Torch, I am just looking at the capacity by school which was published in the fact finding report. My comments about capacity have nothing to do with class size, but what I am interpreting to be the maximum number of students that the building has been "scoped" or "approved" to hold. Now, at what point those buildings will reach capacity based on an updated growth or population projections is also another issue. The data that is currently used dates back to 2006-07. I have ran numbers using 2% annual growth at K-5, 3%, etc. You get the picture. The capacity numbers will be reached quicker than most people realize.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

Agreed, Chic...we have about 2 maybe 3 years of growth if we close both rural schools.

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Julie Craig 4 years, 2 months ago

I can't find the quote from Mr. Dorathy anywhere that said the plan is to sell the building that housed the Old PC on the open market. I read it here last week.

Does that mean the Administration and School Board will need new offices? Does that mean the Rainbow Preschool is out on the street and the Wrestling/Cheerleader practice gym will have to be replaced?

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Redflyer 4 years, 2 months ago

Torch, How many times have you been to Marion Springs? I want you to provide proof and facts or even examples of why you say it needs bulldozed? That building is in great condition and provides everything it needs to operate. You keep saying it needs bulldozed but will never elaborate on why?? So please provide some proof or shut up about it being bulldozed!!! You seem to be a very negative person with alot of hot air to blow and nothing to back it up with....

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

I don't know if I just read a comment, but my understanding from researching some of the archives is that something would be done with the Old PC building - Baker was supposedly interested, maybe a joint venture with other organizations in town to make it some type of a community center, etc. Point being - nothing has been done with it. But if the Board has their way, there will be two other buildings sitting vacant, or how was it put in the above article, "used for storage". Last time I check unused buildings on a balance sheet is not good news. But that's okay right? We are only paying 16% of the budget for debt costs every year so we can "afford" to mothball buildings and use them for storage.

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

Great Gazoo, my sarcasm wasn't directed at you. Just frustration at this situation. I understand the point you are making (I think), that the Old PC houses offices and activites that may also need to find a home which further stresses the capacity or space issue.

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Julie Craig 4 years, 2 months ago

Well, apparently the school district still has enough money to hire a lawn service for the High School.

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Redflyer 4 years, 2 months ago

Secondly, All we are asking for is Mr. Dorathy and the board to provide an accurate report that shows where they are coming up with this $400,000. They sure can tell you how they propose to spend it but I haven't seen a proposal on detailed accurate numbers on how much we would save by closing Marion Springs or how much we would save by closing Vinland. Then take into account the cost for maintenance. They haven't even decided on how they are going to maintain the buildings, whether they are going to leave the heat and airconditioning on or not? If they don't leave the temperature controls on then the building will deteriorate due to the extreme weather conditions and be useless. So how can they even know the figure of the savings if they haven't even made decisions that directly reflect the potential savings?? I've been through the fact finding committee report and it has such a broad spectrum of potential savings from $192,000 to $425,591 for the two buildings. I want a concrete factual number in writing on what the savings will be, not a broad estimate.

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

I am happy to share my list of other issues with the Fact Finding report number - for the first year potential savings, you need to factor in the costs to remodel or renovate the PC and IC for the rooms that are becoming classrooms. For ongoing savings you also need to calculate the incremental transportation costs. Right now just one bus from Marion Springs and one bus from Vinland bring Jr High and High School kids in - I think every bus route from the rural schools will have to continue into Baldwin. There is also an error in the teacher's salaries that needs to be corrected. The ongoing utility cost is low as it takes 75% of the annual utility costs - this doesn't work as the majority of that cost is propane for heat that will have to continue whether it is occupied or not. Also, don't forget to add in the interest and the debt service costs of the $200,000 from the 2007 bond that was utilized in those two schools. We will be paying for that for years.

I agree - this needs to be what analysts call a "fully weighted" analysis to get to the true picture. We have to stop throwing out that this will save $400,000/ year. It won't. And if you don't believe me, just read the fact finding report and think of what it takes to run a school and move kids to other schools. Then you will realize everything that is left out.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

Chic is there anywhere you can post that report so others could Download it??

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

This directs you to the Fact Finding Committee page, please scroll down and select "Close Two Close - Section 3"

http://usd348.com/home/committees/fact-finding-committee/

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sparky 4 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for posting this Chic. Reading through a lot of this just baffles me. Baldwin schools haven't grown that much since I was a student here, but it seems as though we have twice as much administrative positions. Assistant Principals? The number of Secretaries??? Athletic Director??? Why did we keep expanding the staff, but not the number of students?

And reading through the "Close two schools" fact finding report, I think it just made my decision on which way I'm leaning. I don't see any good that could come from closing them other than maybe "trimming the fat" of some of the staff that you want to get rid of. Other than that, why would anyone close the schools if these reports tell you plain and simple that we're going to be over capacity on these new buildings that we were duped into paying for.

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BigCat 4 years, 2 months ago

According to Mr. Dorothy he says the board is pursuing the option that saves the district the $425K. I want to know what option that is? The Fact Finding Report doesn't list options...it gives estimates on what would be saved. That estimate for closing both schools was $193K to $425K. He doesn't even seem to understand his own report. Hey BOE...give us hard numbers! Show us where EXACTLY the savings are coming from before you do anything.

To me this seems like the schools are being railroaded by the board. I don't know why or what they are trying to hide, but is seems that most of them want to close these schools regardless of facts, reports, public desire, etc. And I don't want to hear another Board member talk about losing teachers to other districts BECAUSE THERE ARE NO JOBS! I know this and I live this.

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citymole 4 years, 2 months ago

Torch.... do you just sit at the computer eating Bon-Bons waiting for your opportunity to be the first to post your negative opinions ? Let me take another guess, your kids are the cream floating at the top of the class as well as sports, so to hell with everyone else. As long as they excel and you have bragging rights for thier sports accomplishments as well as a new Activities director to add to the cream, things are wonderful in your world. You keep mentioning bull dozing Marion Springs. When were you there to observe the failing state of that school or is that more of your assumptions? You seem to be a very negative, bitter and selfish person. And now that BaldwinDad mentioned it.. every time I see you in passing I cant help but think "Internet Troll".. sorry... but in a nut shell just from this post this is your negative intrusion: And yes... Im sure you will be the FIRST to the microphone as well ! TORCH- "Wonder how many people will have the nerve to stand at the microphone in front of everyone and demand that the schools be closed. I'm guessing not many.

On the other hand it would be quite easy to stand there and weep and say 'It's for the kids! "Close the schools and move on."

Those facilities - especially Marion Springs - are woefully inadequate and should be bulldozed.

'I think schools in general are bloated and over-staffed and that classrooms of 25 - 30 students (the norm 30 years ago) is just fine. '

The cream will always rise to the top in a class and the dregs will always be the dregs.

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Julie Craig 4 years, 2 months ago

If the board were to give a specific list, it would be too easy to put a name and face to the budget cuts. Be realistic, Baldwin, this is mainly about cuts in personnel at the elementary level. The elephant in the room is the 6.5 teachers, a principal, and all the support staff that will get cut. I'm just glad I don't have to make the decision about who is let go and who still has a job.

I just hope that crushing the Vinland and Marion Springs communities is worth it to the Board. I also hope, good decisions are made in regards to the budget in the future. Along with this "hard" decision, let's ask some other hard questions. . . Is the High School principal really worth 90,000? Is the superintendent worth $135,000? Is the technology staff worth $246,000? Do our principals really need 12 month contracts? etc etc etc.....

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

I was waiting for someone to make mention of contracts for Public Service workers. I don't understand why we really have to sign a contract with any of the employees that work for Public schools whether they are School teachers or administration. I don't have a contract where I work, why should public employees be treated any different or better then the people that pay their salaries??

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defenestrator 4 years, 2 months ago

bd,

There are certain positions in government that are very "unstable" due to the potential volatility of the local elected leaders and therefore no decent business-minded folks would take the jobs without certain time guarantees. Oftentimes the positions require living within a proscribed geographic area and therefore the candidates will have to sell an old house and buy a new one just to be able to take the job. I guess I see some of this as a necessary minor "evil" in order to get smarter people to take the substantially lower salaries that these positions pay. I think this is an important view to consider.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

So basically it's like another job out there....OK I didn't see any real difference and your explanations reaffirm the fact that we do not need a contract.

Also in regards to Superintendent position, I don't consider making 3 and half times the median income in an area as lower paying jobs. Also almost all the teachers are making more then the median income for the county, so once again no they don't pay less.

Actually on average Public service jobs pay 20 to 40 percent better then the same job in the private sector especially when you factor in benefits.

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 2 months ago

Weren't these board members voted in because of their stated "...vision for what [they] wanted to do in early childhood..."? If so, it's time for a recall.

The Kansas Educational Employment Board lists 80 positions as open and advertised for educators in Kansas. There are 23,155 job seekers.

Those of you who expressed so much concern that the existing teachers would leave due to the BOE's confounding inability to maintain our schools, etc. shouldn't worry. There will be NO teachers going anywhere in this current job market. Their options are so dismal they won't even leave when they have 21, 25 or more kids in each classroom. What they will do, however, is leave in droves as soon as the economy picks up . They will find positions in districts who DO have a vision for early childhood learning and have kept their class sizes within reasonable limits. By increasing these class sizes, we would be knowingly hampering the ability of our teachers to teach effectively. Who wants to keep a job one knows one cannot do?

The squawking by what's-her-name about not knowing the economy was going to tank is only an attempt to relieve herself of the responsibility of pushing such a ridiculous bond and now abandoning the stated goal behind it. Unfortunately, she clearly doesn't know that her disclaimer makes her appear totally dimwitted and uninformed. Where there's smoke there's fire, right?

Based on the inability of the BOE to hold and provide REAL numbers involved in the closing of MS and VES, it seems reasonable to assume that they do not have the ability to make decisions of this magnitude. BaldwinDad, after reading this article, I wouldn't trust any of them to be responsible for a bake sale - even a small one :)

Would a recall vote be possible? Would it slow down these decisions?

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defenestrator 4 years, 2 months ago

Ummm, you do realize that there will be four school board positions up for election in April 2011 don't you?

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BigCat 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes I do realize that and I doing something about it. The problem is that the BOE has to make this decision before December. Why you ask? That is a good question. If I remember, it is a deadline that they set for no good reason. Sounds to me like Obamacare. Hurry up and do this before the public really understands what is happening.

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defenestrator 4 years, 2 months ago

Not quite sure if you are for or against closing the schools, but dollars to doughnuts says that this bunch won't close the schools. They already have shown signs of folding like a cheap suit based on their previous conviction that the schools ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BE CLOSED. Now they're just trying to figure out how they can kick the decision down the road far enough that the next elected School Board actually has to deal with it.

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BigCat 4 years, 2 months ago

My hurry up comment was being sarcastic. I'm not quite sure where you see the evidence of them folding under pressure. They have moved ahead with the public hearing. If the BOE wanted to back out of it, just don't hold the hearings. What I see from the board is an entity that already has it's mind made up (minus 3).

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 2 months ago

Who is going to buy the old PC, anyway? At this moment, Baker sure doesn't have any money to be throwing around. It is going to sit there and fall apart and end up as a blight on that area of Baldwin. Same for MS and for VES. I pity those that live directly across from the old BES-PC.

Maybe the school district should take all that stuff they have to store and put it on ebay. If they have enough crud to utilize the old PC, MS AND VES for storage, perhaps one should look not only at the purchasing record and those decision makers, but also at the unnecessary expense spent to hold on to things in storage. There is something wrong there.

Didn't I just read an article on Yahoo! that it was all the rage to down-size and consolidate these days? Clearly, our BOE is way behind the times and has unmistakably outdated thinking :).

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 2 months ago

Defenestrator: I think the BOE will make the decision to close the schools well before April if they take that course. Additionally, demanding accountability from these people will send a necessary message to others who might think of following their example in the future. There is nothing wrong with that and everything right with it, IMHO :).

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defenestrator 4 years, 2 months ago

Commented above that there is no way that these clowns will have the courage of their convictions to close the schools even though they say that it is inevitable. They are caving fast and furious in the face of mounting pressure from the pitchfork/torch-wielding rural crowd. Look it, I don't have a real vested interest in the underlying inherent educational issues at stake, but it is a bit troubling to know that these folks don't have the guts to stick with what they think is essential to the financial health of the district.

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

Does it matter where you are from if you take exception to this issue? I don't have kids at either of the elementary schools in question, but it has yet to been proven that this is "in the best financial interest" of the district. Can you point me to where a full analysis and disclosure has been done on the ramnifications of this decision? And I don't mean in just Year 1, but Year 2, Year 3 and so forth? How about some planning and projections? If we want to discuss financial health of the district, let's do it, but it is something more than the fact finding report above.

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true_bulldog 4 years, 2 months ago

That's the problem. What is essential to the financial health of the district? I personnaly don't know that answer and I think that's where the school board is with it. I honestly see both sides. I wish the board well with this decision. It's a tough one.

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BigCat 4 years, 2 months ago

There are alot of things that the district has now that are neither essential to the financial health nor essential to EDUCATION. Yet the board can't seem to realize that they were entrusted with EDUCATING our kids. Not craming them into buildings, not EXTRA-curricular activities, not providing the latest and greatest technology. EDUCATE them. Everything else is fluff and filler that is not essential.

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Bloggerboo 4 years, 2 months ago

Ha, Bigcat, maybe, just maybe, there are others who believe that there are many, many facets to a quality education. Unlike what some folks think, student-to-teacher ratio is just one of many aspects.

While you say that technology, athletics, and other things are just fluff, you couldn't be more wrong, and that is very sad. But, my hunch is that when you have children in the high school and their literature and history and science books are were written in the 1990's, you'll complain about that, too. Or when they have requirements to do things on computers and the internet, but they have to share one computer or laptop for every five kids, you'd complain then, as well.

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BigCat 4 years, 2 months ago

Blog, I agree, there are many facets to a quality education. I have been a part of and surrounded by education and educators all of my life. My point is that this district seems to forget the basics of education. Calling the other stuff fluff might have been a bit harsh, however there are cuts that could be made other places instead of closing two schools. How do you know I don't already have a kid in the HS? You don't. Lastly, class sizes do matter a great deal. Especially at the early ages. I have seen the effects of large class sizes over and over. The kid will get behind and struggle to catch up. This usually continues into HS, so yes K-5 education matters a great deal.

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Bloggerboo 4 years, 2 months ago

If you have kids in the high school, why aren't you more upset about the completely unfair treatment they have received, thanks to a lack of funds? Which I attribute to keeping unnecessary primary schools open, but that is my opinion. If they can find other ways to pay for some of things, I am certainly willing to listen and fine with it.

See my previous posts, some of them maybe months ago, about how I believe our high school kids are being short-changed.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

Bloggbooo, once again you misdirect your anger at K-5 education. If your kids in HS or JHS are using text books that are over 20 years old as you state then you need to be also asking why should I trust anything this BOE or Administrations says since then just spent almost 3 million dollars on on FLUFF like Baseball and track fields, when my kids don't even have current text books.

Also don't try to brush it off that this is a new problem this is something that has been an issue, if what you say is true since they took over 4 years ago. While I agree that the main focus of the BOE and Administration should be on early education, I would assume that the almost $90, 000 we pay in text books fees as community each year at enrollment on top of the taxes they get both state and federal was going to buy newer text books for ALL our kids to use.

But, yes the Sport Fields are Fluff the fundamental goal is to educate and while sports can be useful they are just a tool in helping teach them the basic parts of education, they should never come before buying updated text books for ALL our kids.

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Chicramblings 4 years, 2 months ago

True Bulldog, that is the million dollar question! I want to make the best financial decision for USD 348 both in the short term and long term. If there is a reason why one has to be sacrificed for the other, than I want to understand the trade-off. Right now, the more I hear/read comments of the BoE and the Superintendent, I can't figure out where we stand. Slash the schools and spend the savings? Huh? Economy has tanked, so they can't stick to their "vision" from three years ago? What? And finally, for the Superintendent to constantly refer to this as the $425,000 deal on the table, really? Is this the guy we want leading our District? C'mon now - most are wise enough to know that you don't always count on getting the highest number in a range, right? (Note: see my other blogs as to the lack of the validity to the $425,000.) As I see it you got two choices on how to feel about this situation - either manipulated from voting for a bond for a vision that is now going to be abandoned because the economy is too tough and swallowing all the crap the first time around, or disbelief that the BoE and Superintendent are trying to get us to swallow the crap again. Let's get educated about this decision and ensure that we understand what we are signing ourselves and future taxpayers up to fund.

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true_bulldog 4 years, 2 months ago

Chic, you hit the nail on the head. Let's get educated about this decision. I would like to see more of that and less of the bashing various people, i.e. those for closing the schools, those against, the school board members, the superintendent, etc., etc.

Educating our children is one of the most important things we do. We've done that well in Baldwin City for a very long time. And, yes, that includes Marion Springs and Vinland. We can't let that go. What is the best long-term answer? I don't know and if everyone else would be honest, they'd admit that, too.

But don't downgrade Paul Dorathy and the school board for it. The mess we are in is not their fault. The voters, not Paul or the board, approved the bond issue. I will say right now for the benefit of Torch and NanCrisp that they, indeed, did warn people about what was going on. But the voters passed it. Let's deal with it. Paul and the board, consisting of people who care, are.

Lastly, I have to say something. While I rarely, if ever, agree with Torch, there is one thing that I do agree with him completely. He hasn't done it for awhile, but here we go. The paragraph=friend.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry True, but I disagree with you on one issue. The BOE and the Administration and their level of fault. They both took a year and looked at the entire district as a whole, then put together this Bond. All the while saying this is what we needed and all the while knowing we were in an economic depression and living in state that was going to be facing major budget problems for years to come. Yes, the Public did vote for it and approved it, but it was done on the belief that the BOE and Administration were making the BEST overall decision for ALL our kids.

Well, here we are now 2 years later and it turns out that spending $25 million on new schools and athletic fields were not the most prudent course of action, since they are now wanting to close schools and cram kids into rooms that were never intended to be classrooms. All the while telling us how they haven't given the educators that teach our children a raise in four years and that that half the student body(according to some) are using 20 yr old text books.

No, I'm sorry but imho this is entirely the fault of the BOE and the current Administration. Since the reason we are so short on funds now is not totally due to the Depression we are in, but also do to the large amount interest we are paying for those Bonds that they have proposed and we approved believing that they knew what was best. We would have been fine bidding our time and using the current buildings to their fullest extent, instead of now were we are proposing to let 3 sit empty while we continue to pay to maintain them all the while paying payments on the new one we just built.

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 2 months ago

One thing I would like to know if why these oft mentioned highschooler textbooks Blog keeps harping about hadn't been purchased before? I mean, 20 years is a long time.

This has become a common theme for Blog, but if the books were purchased in 1990, it seems as though this should have been addressed prior to the admission by a current BOE elect that her head is buried so deep in the sand that she was shocked that suddenly, the economy had tanked - three or so years later. Is this yet another example of the stellar management provided by those who are in charge of the managing the budget? Or, is it another example of the incompetence of our treasured and faultless educational administrators that have been so highly defended by Blog? Boy, I am sure confident in the leadership ability at this point :).

I fully realize that the current board members have not been here for entirety of this pathetic saga, but the huge push they involved themselves in to create such a stellar early education environment, the massive amounts of money their community has been (and will continue to) pay to implement this promised vision, the trust that the BOE is ready to discard and the sudden abandonment of their goal is, frankly, disturbing.

Early education provides a basis for furthering education. It's lovely for those who have taken advantage of what has been historically offered by the BES, but it's wrong to take that away from others when you're done with it and have used it up already.

If your kid has trouble with the existing extra-curricular system, get your crud together and figure out how to offer it to them (as in: be a parent and stop expecting a public system to subsidize your desires 'cause that pretty much equals being on welfare, you know) and let my children get a decent education that will set them up to succeed in high school and beyond - just as you expected and accepted for your children.

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Buckeye 4 years, 2 months ago

I agree with you hipgirl!! In light of some of our BOE's past decisions/visions, I think it is only fair we question their visions for our district's future. If we are dealing with a current/future budget issue, why would our administration choose to immediatly spend that savings? How can we promise teacher's increases to their salaries if we don't yet know our state's budget? Yes, they deserve it, especially if you cram more kids into their classrooms, but can we guarentee we will have the money? Or is this a brilliant move on the part of our administration to pad the idea for closing the schools with no intention of paying up? We've seen promises made , but not kept before. Let's not give the board permission to write checks our ENTIRE communty can't afford without them answering ALL the realities of those decisions.

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sparky 4 years, 2 months ago

Not to mention that they'll probably need that $400,000 (plus more) in a couple years to open those schools back up because we won't pass yet another school bond to allow them to expand because we're overcrowded.

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lisagaylesmith 4 years, 2 months ago

Don't fool yourself. If the schools close they will never be reopened.

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BaldwinDad 4 years, 2 months ago

Also Dorathy is supposed to speak TONIGHT to the Marion Springs CSO meeting and will be taking questions so if anyone is interested in hearing what he has to say you should show up.

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1776attorney 4 years, 2 months ago

After talking to 4 or 5 people who are involved in the school district, I've come to the conclusion that it's time to look for a new superintendent. I found that almost every person found their encounter with the current administration to be deceptive. Their first comment about the current superintendent was that he would stand right in front of you and lie to your face.

I say this with some hesitation knowing that this is an anonymous blog. But I heard similar comments from everyone I spoke with.

So many things these past 4 years have been mismanaged by the administration and certain School Board members (not everyone of them), it's now time to clean house and enlist better and different people who guide the district for the community and students of Baldwin City and not some arrogant, stone-headed fantasy of being like Johnson County.

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