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Move Baldwin Forward Coalition launches

Who else is running for school board?

December 15, 2010 at 1:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board closes rural elementary schools by 5-2 vote

If Mr. Johnson is correct, I cannot wait to see the outcry from the community when we are forced to consolidate Eudora, Wellsville, and Baldwin. As it stands right now, if we did this and only eliminated the Superintendent plus staff for two of the three schools, tax payers would save/reallocate $600,000+ annually. It is probably a lot higher than that.

December 15, 2010 at 11:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board closes rural elementary schools by 5-2 vote

Jimmy ... an interesting poll would be did/do you support the BOE closing the rural schools?

December 15, 2010 at 10:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Patrons, board debate school consolidation again

The preacher man says its the end of time
and the Mississippi River she's a going dry.
The interest is up and the stock markets down
and you only get mugged if you go downtown.
I live back in the woods you see,
my woman, and the kids and the dogs and me.
I got a shotgun and a rifle and a four wheel drive
and a country boy can survive. Country folks can survive.

I can plow a field all day long,
I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn.
Make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
ain't to many things these boys can't do.
We grow good old tomatoes and homemade wine
and country boy can survive, country folk can survive.

Because you can't stomp us out and you can't make us run,
cause we're them ole boys raised on shotguns.
We say grace and we say mam
and if you ain't into that we don't give a damn.
We came from the West Virginia coal mine's
and the Rocky Mountains and the Western skies
and we can skin a buck, we can run a trout line
and a country boy can survive, country folks can survive.

I had a good friend in New York City
he never called me by my name just hillbilly.
My Grandpa taught me how to live off the land
and his taught him to be a business man
He used to send me pictures of the Broadway Nights
and I would send him some homemade wine
but he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife,
for forty three dollars my friend lost his life.
I'd love to spit some beechnut in that dudes eyes
and shoot him with my ole forty-five
cause a country boy can survive, country folks can survive.

'Cause you can't stomp us out and you can't make us run,
and we're them ole boys raised on shotgun.
We say grace, we say mam,
if you ain't into that we don't give a damn.
We're from North California and South Alabam'
and little towns all around this land.
We can skin a buck, and run a trout line
and a country boy can survive,
country folks can survive,
country boy can survive,
country folks can survive.

June 10, 2010 at 9 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letters to the Editor

I want to say I support both Dorathy and the school board in the "tough" decision making process. As my father always told patrons that did not agree with his decisions and/or methods, "my job was open when I came to town ... if you don't like what I'm doing, apply for my job and see if you can do better." He held is position for over 20+ years and then retired on his own accord. If you think you can do a better job, put your money where your mouth is and run for a school board position. My only advice to you is don’t run because you have a chip on your shoulder or an ax to grind, run because you feel you can have a positive influence on our children.

In my opinion, we are working thru the process that our founding fathers set in place ... it's a republic not a democracy. We have elected representatives (the school board members) to represent their give constituents and make decisions on our behalf. This is a very tough job and their ultimate decisions will not satisfy everyone's opinion.

That being said, I want everyone to think about what they are asking. From a leadership perspective I always prefaced my decisions with, “Don’t ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.” The school board put forth the idea of redrawing the boundary lines to equalize the student to teacher ratio for all of Baldwin’s elementary schools. It was my understanding that some of the patrons did not like this because their children would now be forced into a different school. Isn’t that exactly what we are talking about in closing the rural schools?

I have tried to take a logical, business, and impartial view of the budget constraints our school board is facing today. Closing both rural schools is not the silver bullet some individuals think it is. Quick question … does anyone know the return on investment (ROI) for closing both rural schools and then passing a bond to expand the “new” intermediate center to accommodate the increased number of students? To say we are going to save expenses while increasing capital outlay at the patron’s expense (property taxes) is not sound fiscal policy. Should we close one school, maybe? Should we close both, definitely not!

We have a greater fundamental problem in Baldwin and that is planning. What is the root cause for the issues we are facing today in Baldwin School district … planning? I think the current school board and administration has done an excellent job laying the ground work for putting together a comprehensive plan for Baldwin’s school growth. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a start.

My old high school football coach once told me that opinions are like arm pits and a**holes. Everyone has one and they all stink. I’m beginning to think Baldwin City (rural, city, and myself) is starting to stink:) We will get through this together, but it cannot be through lawsuit, petitions, lynch mobs, etc … it must be done through compromise.

May 20, 2010 at 10:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

School board hears budget-cutting numbers

I’m very concerned about people taking the $425,000 max saving (max closing the two schools) as gospel, when in reality we will be closer the minimum savings number of $110,000 (min closing one school).

The reason I say this is we need to keep in mind the teacher to student ratio. The more money you save; the higher the student to teacher ratio will climb. Again, unless we do it intelligently, we need to be careful what we ask for as a community. I hope someone has done an analysis of the saving impact vs. teacher to student ratio! This is an example only (say we save $425,000 dollars, but our student to teacher ratio climbs to 30:1. If we save $110,000, the student to teacher ratio is 20:1.) Then the question becomes, what is the acceptable student to teacher ratio the community is willing to support? I’ve been in a school system where the student to teacher ratio was 28:1 and it was a mess. The kids that needed the help were passed over. As a result, my daughter struggled. When we moved to Baldwin where the student to teacher ratio was lower, she thrived and is now a straight “A” student.

I’m surprised the minimum difference between closing one school vs. two schools is only $10,000. This leads me to believe we need to keep at least one rural school open for space … otherwise we need to pass another school bond to add onto or build a bigger Elementary School in town. For another bond to pass, you would need time and a better economy.

As far as attendance centers, someone is going to have to explain to me the intelligence behind these. As I understand, if you go to attendance centers you get more money from the State … but aren’t you using more money to bus the kids around? From a tax payer perspective, this seems like a wasteful and false savings that should be eliminated by the State. If there is some other savings here, someone tell me.

On the topic of a 4-day school week … sounds interesting, but would cause issues for working parents on the day the kids have off.

March 25, 2010 at 10:40 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Patrons want rural schools to be closed

This is going to get ugly:( From what I've read on this post no one has the right figures or facts and it is all hearsay. By doing this we are truly going to create bad blood and divide a community that needs to stick together. The “mean spirited” posts I have read are doing nothing to solve the problem. If the rural schools do close and there is bad blood in the process, good luck ever passing a bond issue again.
• I would say the average class size at MSE is around 17 to 22 kids. (again hearsay, we need to get the facts and I would expect some good investigative journalism by the Signal would unearth this dispute) … I know for a fact that they have combined classes … 3&4 grade and 4&5 grade
• They do have special need kids in the school.
• They are sharing a principal between Vinland and MSE.
• Parent’s volunteer to help with projects for up keeping the property.
• Heck the CSO just purchase 4 new laptop computers because the district passed over MSE for any new computers.
Whether rural or otherwise the bottom line is Baldwin has planned for expansion rather poorly. The bigger question is did we need to expand at all? Why did we build new schools? Why did we build new sports facilities? Has the overall student population really grown in the last 20-years? From a budget perspective, what has increase over the past 20-years? Facts … we need facts.
If we are going to sell the rural schools, why not throw the district office/primary center in as well?
I’m really PI**ED at the community as a whole, it’s a dog eat dog world and it’s a feeding frenzy in Baldwin right now.

December 18, 2009 at 10:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Man, you hate it when these pesky PUBLIC records turn up right before an election

There appears to be a lot of slanderous actualizations being thrown out here. Isn’t that against the law? I guess Oli can't say she/he has a squeaky clean reputation.

March 26, 2009 at 1:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

District eyes $885K in budget cuts for 2009-2010 school year

Torch,
I think you have your facts a little wrong.

First, in order to save the money you would have to shutdown both Marion Springs and Vinland to save that amount.

Second, where would you put the kids? The Primary Center is about to fall down or at least that was how it was sold to the community to pass a bond that does not address brining these kids into Baldwin. If you do think you can squeeze the rural kids into town, it will swell the average class size to around 30 kids. I’ve had children that have been in classes this big before without Para’s and it was pandemonium!

Third, Marion Springs is one of the leanest and best run schools in the district. They have 100+ kids enrolled and have an average class size the same as the schools in town. In an effort to conserve money, they have even combined a 2nd and 3rd grade class.

The rural schools run lean, while the city schools are FAT and happy. Marion Springs and Vinland share a Principal, Music Teacher, Art Teacher, Physical Education Teacher, and Librarian.

Furthermore, we have the following administration in town:
1. Primary Center
a. Principal
2. Intermediate Center
a. Principal
3. High School
a. Principal
b. Vice-Principal
c. Discipline Principal
d.Athletic Director
4. Jr. High
a. Principal
b.Vice-Principal

I also think there are around 5 to 6 administrative assistances in the high school office as well. When I went to school we had two principals for High School and Junior High and one of them doubled as the AD. We also had two administrative assistance, that took care of everything. How many chiefs do you need?

If you are suggesting eliminating Marion Springs or Vinland, I think you need to look at yourself first!

Community daycare center, now that is funny!

February 26, 2009 at 5:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School district feeling budget squeeze

Okay sometimes you have to laugh or you might just cry ...

Does anyone see any irony with the above article and the "Ads by Google" that state "Cheap Health Insurance ... Single just $99, Family only $249. Aprroval guaranteed. Call today."

Everyone needs health insurance, especially if you want to keep and attract good employees. There has to be a solution!

January 15, 2009 at 12:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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