Chicramblings

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Gotta love the determination of the "conspiracy theory" folks. They just don't give up, do they? And there is no limit to the reach of individuals involved in this conspiracy. Kevin Bacon is going to turn up somewhere, I just know it!

I'm just curious, Newsie have you talked with all four of the newly elected board members to know their "agenda"? Or are you just basing this on who supported what candidate and assuming you then know the individual and their agenda?

Furthermore, there is more upon which to evaluate the Superintendent than what is revealed or seen by the public. A well-rounded evaluation rests on much more than whether or not one agrees with one of many items recommended to the Board of Education by the Superintendent. Items like leadership skills, communication, vision, development of administrators, etc. are base factors. I give the current BofE the benefit of doubt that they considered and based their decision on such factors and what was best for the district, not on some heresay or fear of future plots.

Finally, regardless of where you stand on Superintendent Dorathy, the name calling and dividing of our community needs to cease. For our community and school district to be successful in the times ahead, we are going to have to pull together. It needs to start here and continue on the streets, in the coffee shops, at the bars, etc. - have respectful, fact based discussions and then, if necessary, agree to disagree and move on.

April 26, 2011 at 3:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter to the editor

I further recall that the incumbent was questioned later by a candidate on what exactly was in the 1% number - if it included all costs and the incumbent wasn't able to answer. Easy and shallow to quote numbers, more difficult to be able to understand them...

April 5, 2011 at 2:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

None

Good point greyghost. I think technically Kite, Dunbar, Chapman, Nelson and Christie are rural dwellers. Don't know about the other candidates. Maybe I'm missing how "rural candidates" are being defined? Maybe the moral of the story is not to discriminate based on address, but discuss facts, meet the candidates? Oh wait, sensibility is overrated and not nearly as dramatic as conspiracy theories...

April 1, 2011 at 1:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board closes rural elementary schools by 5-2 vote

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?

December 14, 2010 at 6:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board listens to patrons at public hearing

Bloggerboo, your points about enrollment growth assumptions can be applied to all assumptions utilized in the model including the validity of the $400,000 "savings" this will bring to the District each year. Obviously changing each assumption results in different answers and views. The best thing to do is to establish a "base" set of assumptions and then actually run the model through various scenarios to see if the decision is palatable in both the best-case and worst-case scenario.

I did try to make it realistic by looking at the Enrollment Projections and Enrollment information in the Fact Finding Report to come up with a starting point of 2%. I could easily make a case for it being 1% or as high as 2.85%. Heck, we could even go negative which is interesting.

As I stated previously, sometimes decisions must be made for the short-term at the detriment to the long-term. This maybe one of those times; however, the District should speak plainly to its taxpayers about the potential long-term impact. The District provided a road map to "potential" future budget cuts. Let's do the same with this decision - provide a plan that addresses now and later. Plain and honest communication may actually help to unite everyone. It certainly can't hurt the situation.

November 17, 2010 at 1:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board listens to patrons at public hearing

I am not an advocate for closing or not closing VES/MES, but here is my two cents on the issue. (Disclaimer: please note that I don't address what is "fair allocation" of funds or who "deserves" what. I believe you make a sound financial decision first, then allocate the proverbial "pie" second.) With the short-term economic issues before the District, the financial impact of closing the two looks good even though I believe our Superintendent has overstated the savings. However, a good financial decision is not based on the short-term alone; one has to look at the future consequences of the decision. The District has not publicly presented it's mid to long term plan, but here is a go at it with the District's numbers.

Assuming a 2% growth rate (which appears to be reasonable based on past history of the district), the K-5 population will exceed the maximum capacity of the PC and IC in 5 years. If you care to use the District's poorly planned savings numbers (and I will multiply correctly now), the savings to date in 2015-16 for closing the two schools will be $2 million dollars. The estimates from our Superintendent to add a pod onto the PC is $1.7million dollars and he does not know exactly what it would cost to add onto the IC - extending an end with 4 classrooms probably $1.5m.

So with some basic financial planning, for this to be a good financial decision, the "savings" should outweigh the future costs. So, in 5 years, the consolidation will "save" the District what? Well, if we expand both schools, it will actually cost us. If we just expand one school, we will have a maximum savings of $300k -$500k. Some believe reopening one closed building is an option. The savings would be dependent on the exact state of the buildings after 5 years of abandonment. I further discount this option due to history of small towns across the Midwest. Once a school is closed, it is closed.

Also note if the District decides to spend or reallocate the savings from closing the two elementary schools, then this decision, again, will cost the District as it will have to come up with the funds to expand facilities. There are times and financial reasons, to sacrifice the long-term for the short-term; this maybe one of those. If it is, let's just put the options and impacts on the table truthfully for the taxpayers.

Many of you think this view is incorrect; however, one of the problems with the District's financial scenario is that it hasn't viewed the longer term impact of decisions. Some of you think that this simplistic financial model doesn't apply here, but that too is part of the problem and why debt and interest costs are 16.2% of the total budget of the District. Closing two schools may end up being one of the short-term cuts that have to be made for economic reasons, but due to its longer term implications, I would try all other measures that are easier to "put back" - options that don't require dirt and mortar.

November 16, 2010 at 7:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

BCRC interested in old BESPC

The only thing that would make more sense to your suggestion is if both buildings and the old gym are put on the auction block or up for sale, not just the old primary center. I guess while there is room to move 120 kids, there is no room to move the 12 or so district employees occupying the old intermediate center?

November 16, 2010 at 2:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rural School Closings

Seriously Bloggerboo, go read all my other posts not only on this thread but elsewhere that date back a while. Not jaded, but frustrated at the lack of information from the district. That's it. I have already apologized for coming off as callous and uncaring in my original post. Case closed. Thanks.

November 11, 2010 at 6:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rural School Closings

Ksrush, I have made specific information requests and have pointed out what information is missing to have a good financial analysis. I have decided what to think about the consolidation and that is I don't know how the board can make a decision based on information in the fact finding report. It's not a stalling technique or anything else. I just know if I were a board member, I wouldn't rest my decision on it. If anyone would look at this decision 4 years in the future using the fact finding report, it appears the District will be spending money to expand capacity at a cost that could nullify all the savings. It is the lack of future planning and thinking that has gotten this district where we are now.

November 11, 2010 at 5:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas schools facing $50 million budget shortfall

Ksrush, I have read the other three articles on the district and finances, including the two where the district would like to give away buildings to BCRC or give away right away to city... does that make sense? I am aware that Baldwin is the highest in mill levy. And do you think the consolidation of schools is going to reduce it? We are stuck with that designation until property valuations or growth moves it. Additionally, do you know what moved us to this highest position? The bond that as Mr. Dorathy pointed out, the "taxpayers" passed.

Finally, you and I are coming at this from two different financial perspectives. I am just looking at the overall financial decision in the short, mid and long term of consolidating schools. Specifically, if in 3-5 years the district will really save any money or are we just setting ourselves up to definitely raise taxes by having to expand the IC and PC. Are there other alternatives or cuts that can be made, as mentioned previously, to get to the same place that won't have a long-term cost? I understand your view is more based on the split of funds and who is getting more of the pie which is a view I can understand as well. Neither is "wrong" just two different lenses to the same issue. However, whatever way the district decides to save money, it truly does need to be saved and not reallocated. A spending of any "savings" will ensure that our taxes will go up next year.

November 11, 2010 at 5:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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