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Rural School Closings

Bloggerboo, you don't know the intent behind my words and you can't read my attitude via blogs, so we will just agree to disagree.

Second, I am not apathetic to the High School and Junior High nor am I saying that any school deserves more funding over the other. If you will notice that most of my posts have to do with trying to get UPDATED (not 2 years old) financial facts as well as additionally information about the upfront costs such as the costs of retrofitting IC classrooms to fit 4 year olds for one year. I have also questioned if all the financial benefits and costs have been fully considered in their analysis. For example, there is a school funding benefit for new facilities for the first two years they are open which is not in any analysis. Likewise there are additional costs that have been raised (transportation as more buses will have longer routes, interest expense on parts of the bond that were invested in VES And MSES, special education funding, etc.) that are also not in the financial analysis. I also want to look at what happens in 3 to 5 or 5 to 7 years. What is the estimated savings from this project at that point? When we will we have to expand capacity and add on to the IC and PC? What will that cost? For example, if we save $400,000 a year now to spend $1.5 million 5 years to add a pod to the PC, does that make sense?

Additionally, I have neither said that I want to close or not close the rural schools, I want a sound financial decision. If we are not making a sound financial decision first, then what is the point of debating how the pot is split?

November 11, 2010 at 4:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rural School Closings

Bloggerboo, sorry for attributing the original comments about tissues and popcorn to you. They were not.

November 11, 2010 at 10:20 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rural School Closings

I didn't say that I wouldn't "listen", just said I wasn't looking forward to those comments as much as you inferred your disrespect for those that look at this decision through an emotional view. My apologies if I came across as not wanting to listen. Maybe I misread your comment about "tissues and popcorn"?

Even thought it's not possible, I wonder if a question-answer session would be more beneficial to the community then the continued commenting. I guess no sense in wondering about something that can't happen...

November 11, 2010 at 10:03 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas schools facing $50 million budget shortfall

You bet I read the article. I think the taxpayers understand the $10 dollar headlines that sell newspapers like "Consolidate schools to save $400,000" without digging into the details or viewing things from a longer term perspective. Sure, the schools can be reopened at a later date, but have you reviewed history in the neighboring communities or anywhere about that happening? It doesn't happen. As to specific expenditures for the savings, at the September Board Meeting, an expenditure "wish list" was discussed. Was it just poor timing to discuss such expenditures at the same time district patrons are also being told "we need to save money, consolidate schools"? Hmm, could be bad timing, then maybe not when the school administrators were asked for the information. And thanks for the sarcasm, but the full time Athletic Director was on the high school's wish list as the current one was cut to part time. Great way to spend educational funds?

As to raises, check your facts. How many in corporate or public ventures have gotten raises in the past three years? Most are going through the same pain - working more, getting paid less as cost of living degrades a base salary that is stagnating. The previous scenario is for those people still having jobs - many more that were laid off are still unemployed. Also, chat with some of the teachers. Most of them would say, yes they want a raise, but more importantly they are happy they have a job...I am not saying that they don't deserve it, but hard times require hard choices.

To your point about my "item 3", the shared administrator is between MSES and VES. The kids are going to lose it anyway under the school consolidation, so what's your point? Would you still say "sorry kids you lose" to them for having one less administrator under the school consolidation? The decision to "rehire" retired individuals, is the Board's. If you have issues with it, take it up with them. My point is simply - are we considering all alternatives that may be available. According to this Board Member's statement her list came to the same amount of savings as the school consolidation.

I am supportive of doing what it takes, including closing schools. What I object to as a taxpayer is the lack of information presented by the district of exactly what school consolidation will cost now and in the future. The Superintendent even admitted this morning that all the financial information isn't in for the decision. Do you really know that it will save $400,000 a year? Probably not.

I am frustrated by the "mixed signals" being sent by the District - "close schools to save money" but here is a wish list of ways to spend money. Or let's abandon the vision the district formed and used to pass a $25 million bond. Doesn't any of that make you question the financial facts backing up all these decisions?

November 11, 2010 at 8:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rural School Closings

Why don't both of you practice some respect for another's opinions? Just because it is not your opinion does not invalidate or make it less important. Let everyone speak. I am not looking forward to people claiming how their kids have been "robbed" by having the two rural elementary schools open, nor am I particularly interested in listening to the blubbering about how this is the best and only financial choice. I am sure that those comments will be there spades...

November 11, 2010 at 7:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board public hearing scheduled for tonight

Ksrush, as I responded to you yesterday, yes this is a financial decision, but the Superintendent even mentions above, not all the financial information has been considered. Are we sure this will save the $425,000 that it is touted to save? I am tired of the cries of "financial mismanagement" in this district. I have heard them for 18 years. Go investigate the facts. Make sure you are comfortable with the "information" in this financial decision and you can support financially where it gets us in 3 to 5 years. This is especially poignant when there are other savings opportunities out there that the District is refusing to consider.

November 11, 2010 at 7:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas schools facing $50 million budget shortfall

Ksrush, I couldn't agree with the heart of your comment - the school board needs to make the best financial decision for the entire district. Being an accountant, numbers always speak louder than words and there are two points that taxpayers need to understand. Closing two elementary schools will offer USD 348 short-term savings, but will result in additional expenditures about 3 to 4 years from now that will equal the total amount saved. So, it is a trade-off.

Second, USD 348 needs to not spend the savings - like a full time Athletic Director, or (sorry teachers) maybe even raises need to be on hold for another year. If you take money saving measures on one end, only to put them back in the budget as increases to existing line items or new line items that are recurring, that is a problem. In fact with all the uncertainty, we will not be in a better position if we spend these savings. Save them to buffer against upcoming choices.

Finally, I will disagree with the fact that there is "nothing of significance left to cut anywhere in the budget". One of the board members presented an alternative list on Monday night of savings and some of them seem easier than closing two schools. Items included reducing administration at the elementary level. This is easily done as the administrator shared between VES and MSES is "retired". Let the guy retire and pocket the $67,000. Stop bussing within 2.5 miles of schools - again no brainer on this one. I can't remember the rest of the items on her list, but they seemed to be "doable" items. And the great thing about her list , the items appear to have very little educational impact and they can be easily replaced or put back in future years if so needed.

November 10, 2010 at 9:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rural School Closings

Thanks Gazoo for the reminder. My understanding is patrons must sign up in advance to speak by emailing, calling or stopping by the District Office. Sign up will also be available on Thursday evening until 6:59.

November 9, 2010 at 9:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Election Info and my picks

As to the comment concerning the lack of understanding of the impact of government on business can hold true for a lot of individuals in public office. Until you have actually owned a business or been in a key role in a business whereby you are responsible for understanding, implementing and abiding by all the state and federal regulations for employment, employment benefits, sales tax, use tax, annual reports, improper payments, etc., I don't think people can understand. It is easy sometimes to dream up legislation but there needs to be a wider understanding of what it will take a business to implement and report the legislation that was just foisted upon them.

With that said, I do believe Tony listens and tries to understand. He votes based on the views of the people he represents. It is important to remember that he hears from thousands of people, so if he doesn't vote the way you feel, maybe your feeling wasn't the majority?

I would have to say, I think I am going Holland for governor. I understand the comment about experience, but I don't think Brownback is truly in touch with the roots of Kansas. As you pointed out this is just a stepping stone for him to a larger role. I want someone to lead Kansas in the best interest of Kansas, not in the best interest of his/her political career. Brownback also turned me off with his initial views, even if he has moderated them now.

Overall, some of these races are like picking from the lesser of two evils...

October 28, 2010 at 9:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Freshman's first goal lifts Bulldogs to regional victory

Way to go BHS Soccer team! Good luck tonight in the Regional Championship Game!

October 28, 2010 at 8:58 a.m. ( | suggest removal )