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Rural School Closings

Don't forget the public hearing this Thursday, November 11th. It is our chance to give our input on the closing of Marion Springs and Vinland Elemenary schools. The time listed on the school's website is 7 pm.

November 9, 2010

Rural Schools Public Meeting

Comments

Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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.

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 8 months ago

Bring your popcorn and your tissues.

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ksrush 3 years, 8 months ago

Dont forget your boots - it's probably going to get deep too. Nice one notwhatyou

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Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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...

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

Chic, why don't you take your own advice?

First this: "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."

Then this: " 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..."

Sounds like you have no intention of listening to anyone else's opinions. Why are you even planning on attending?

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Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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...

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Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks. I was going to point that out.

However, my biggest concern about your statements is why you are so apathetic about the needs of the HS and JH students? If we are spending money on two schools that don't need to exist, how is that not taking away from other opportunities? That is just basic math. Now, you may disagree with how the money is divided, and that is fine. If your contention is that those 120 students in MS and VES are so much more important than the some of the basic needs of the HS and the JH, that it is worth it to continue to spend that money there, that is fine. I will completely disagree with you, but fine, you can have your opinion about how the money should be spent. But, to be so completely close-minded as to not even want to hear what other folk's opinions are is just insulting.

And don't tell me that you were just "not looking forward to" hearing this side of the story. That is just playing with words. You have your mind made up, and you really don't want to be bothered with the other side anymore. Again, why even have the meeting if everyone is going to show up with this attitude? I suppose, only because it is required by law.

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Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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?

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

Well, let's see then. How would you have reacted if I had waved off everyone who cares about keeping MSES and VES open by saying this: "I am not looking forward to hearing people complain about how their children's lives and education will be disrupted if we have to close schools?"

Sure sounds like you are one-sided, and not at all interested in really hearing what might be the best financial decision if you can dismiss, out of hand, anyone who is concerned about all of the things the JH and HS have been missing out on for years now. You don't sound like the objective, just-give-me-the-facts, kind of person you are making yourself out to be in your most recent post.

You sound jaded and already decided. If you don't want to be perceived that way, don't put others down.

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Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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.

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ksrush 3 years, 8 months ago

Chic, your math skills are killing you 400/K multiplied by 5 years is $ 2 million youre showing a savings. So by that calculation we should close the schools right ?

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 8 months ago

My comment was generic. You really don't know what side I am talking about do you?

Nice idea about the question-answer, but do you really trust them or any government entity to give you the straight answer?

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citymole 3 years, 8 months ago

Dont worry you wont need too much popcorn. there are only 7 people with enough guts to stand up and SPEAK OUT against an incompetent school board and a city that would rather raise jar head sport jocks then quality education for all students. How many recruits have we had come out of Baldwin City, Ks... Quit wasting the money for all these sport related items. Water is not cheap in Baldwin, can you imagine the water bill for watering the football fields and then we have track additions and a performance auditorium? COME ON! Quit living vicariously through the sport programs your kids are in and concentrate on their EDUCATION.. and that involves not over crowding the classes by closing 2 awesome school....and yes,my kids are in the city schools unfort. for now.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

Oh, I see. The only measure of the usefulness of high school sports is how many recruits come out of our schools? Sure, we don't produce as many as the Kansas City and Wichita school districts, but there is kind of an obvious reason for that. But, to continue with your ludicrous statement, I suppose we should just remove sports entirely from the district, right? And all extra-curricular programs, right?

Apparently, you live in a world where only one thing matters: academics. Interesting. Are you a college professor by any chance?

Are you aware that a large majority of the world's population enjoys sports of all kinds? Where do you think they learned these activities? Or the skills necessary to play them? To be part of a team that has a goal of succeeding in a particular sport?

However, to answer your question, we have had many, many recruits come from Baldwin City. How long does the list need to be to meet your definition of worthwhile? I can name several right off the top of my head: (I can't remember every name and don't have time to look them all up)

Emily Brown, volleyball player (KU and professional, I think) Hannon brothers (good athletes at BU) Micah Mason ( 4 year football player at BU) Eric Brown, the javelin thrower who competed for an Olympic spot while at Arkansas. Heather Garcia, cross-country runner who went to large college to run (east coast I think, maybe Boston College)

I am sure I am forgetting a few with equal or better results after attending BHS, and I didn't mention countless others who have participated in sports at other small colleges and universities. The point is, sports is important to some, a large number in fact, and about the only place you can participate in many of them is through your high school.

Remove sports and watch the exodus begin. We won't have to worry about overcrowding anything anymore.

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citymole 3 years, 8 months ago

A professor ? I wish... I would teach a class on common sense to the select board members and greedy city citizens. My point is there is way too much money that goes into sports and way too many people more interested in having the bragging rights of their childs sports then their academics. By recruited, I mean how many of our students been picked up by major recruits and are a famous name? That is great to hear the successes of those above and if we had the funds to sink in to the sports programs thats great ! My child plays sports aswell. BUT we are are drowning in debt ! This is just like having to choose between WANTS AND NEEDS.. when things get tough. Unfort. many dont want to let go of the wants to take care of the needs...

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

My only question for you is what makes you think academics is so much more important than sports, at the high school level? I would say that academics is only slightly more important, and that for some students, the two are equal.

Maybe, just maybe, sports has a very real, positive influence on their lives. Something that if you remove, would do more harm than good? For that reason, I see it as a need, not just a want. Many of our finest teachers are coaches. Would they have gone on to be teachers and coaches if there were no sports where they went to high school? What about sports administrators? Sports medicine? Sports agents? Sports broadcaster and commentators? There are all kinds of jobs out there that if you remove them because they cost too much might have a serious impact on many people's lives. Not too mention, how many of our good teachers who happen to be coaches would leave because they love coaching and will go where sports are offered? How many students will leave? This district cannot afford to lost students at this point, citymole. Each one brings in a significant amount of money. Answer that question if you can.

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NanCrisp 3 years, 8 months ago

"My only question for you is what makes you think academics is so much more important than sports, at the high school level? I would say that academics is only slightly more important, and that for some students, the two are equal."

Surely you jest. Up until now, Blogger, I was convinced that you are a teacher. Now, I'm not so sure. But if you are a teacher, then you are part of the problem in this country.

Sports is distraction and entertainment. Period. The skills you learn from participating in sports are absolutely in no way ever as important as learning math and communication skills.

Anyone who wants to argue against the superiority of an emphasis on academics over sports should take a look at what successful world economies such as Germany, Sweden, China and India emphasize in their children's development.

Sports is for physical fitness, which is an important part of self-control, as is proper diet and hygiene. Academics involve specific training that will contribute to a person's ability to execute the tasks required for a paying job. Basic job skills are universal. Some of those skills do include the ability to multi-task and work as part of a team. Guess what other activities train children in these areas besides sports? Band, orchestra, choir, theatre, engineering club, FFA, FBLA, the list is endless.

The point is that kids can get the lifeskills that sports teach them from a lot of different venues. Where are they going to get their academics if not in the school?

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ksrush 3 years, 8 months ago

If all the info hounds need to be enlightened why dont you ask for specific info. at the meeting tonight. The " We need more information" to make a decision has become a joke. If ou havent decided what to think about the consolidation - besides it makes you sad please remain clueless. It's not hard to figure out you want to stall the process as long as possible in hopes something good will happen and life goes back to normal. Read the articles in the paper - it is not going to happen but reality is going to happen like it or not.

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Chicramblings 3 years, 8 months ago

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.

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citymole 3 years, 8 months ago

KSRUSH- This specific information has been requested in the form of contracted attorneys. The board said it would have to work on it. You tell me they cant give us up to date figures on this project but want to forge forward with it? It took them 3 WEEKS to hand over a few vague at best pieces of paper which answered nothing. Not sure if you have been at all the meetings where we have asked for this information EVERYTIME and its ignored. They have a blind over all of your eyes on what these closings will do . You wont be sitting around with a savings of $ 400,000. You will be sitting there with egg on your face AGAIN saying " uhh what do we sell or close now"?

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hipgrrrrl 3 years, 8 months ago

"Many of our finest teachers are coaches."

Dear God. Did you actually attend junior high or high school? Maybe this is the problem when it comes to your intellectual ability to understand the real issues brought up regarding the proposed academic sacrifice of our elementary school kids.

I believe a significantly more accurate statement would be something like this:

"There are some coaches that are fine teachers."

Additionally, your apparent argument that sports medicine, sports broadcasters, sports commentators, sports agents, etc., etc would cease to exist if Baldwin cut some athletic programs is hilarious.

Disabling the educators ability to educate, however, could definitely create some real local issues...like lots of "our" kids growing and relying on public aid to sustain themselves because they are UNEMPLOYABLE due to a LACK OF EDUCATION.

Additionally, in case you didn't know, there are119 available jobs posted on the Kansas Education Employment Board (www.kansasteachingjobs.com) as of today. There are 23,395 applicants. Could you please clarify exactly where you think these dissatisified coaches/teachers are going to go? Inner city NYC? Middle of Nowhere South Dakota? They might need teachers there but it's clear that they don't need many in Kansas.

Arrrgh!! I have got to stop reading this crud!

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

First of all, it doesn't matter how I worded it, you understood my point. Most coaches do not get into coaching without some sort of prior interest or exposure to sports. Many of them may not have gotten into teaching if it weren't for sports, and then they turn out to be good at both.

My argument about the various jobs in sports-related industries was not in any way saying that if Baldwin cuts sports, somehow those jobs would go away. Learn to read and comprehend please. My point was that there are jobs out there that experience or exposure to sports is way more important than some of the academic endeavors that one might get in high school, simply because of the passion created by that exposure, which may lead to a future career.

Of course I understand how important education is to our youth, but I am sick of folks saying we need to cut sports and funding rather than making the smart choice and consolidating schools. We are wasting money on only a few students that could be used for other things. Sports is one of those things I happen to think is very important.

If you think Baldwin USD 348 is anywhere close to producing illiterate children unable to work in the future, you are mistaken. As evidenced by this recent article, http://signal.baldwincity.com/news/2010/oct/28/school-district-earns-numerous-standards-excellenc/, we are pretty far away from that, even if we consolidate two SMALL schools.

With regards to financial understanding of our situation, did you attend the meeting last night? Did you see the very clear numbers posted by Mr. Dorathy? We have serious budget problems coming our way and we will need extra money from some where just to keep ANY schools open and operating. With a potential $1 million deficit, a yearly savings of somewhere between $300-400k seems to me like it would help, A LOT. You see, that saving isn't just for one year. If we close schools now, we can put that money into other things and be somewhat better prepared for this budget crisis, at relatively little cost to the education of these youngsters.

Finally, with regards to kansasteachingjobs.com...get real. Any Joe Blow can sign up to be a potential employee, and I am sure that the 23,395 is a large database of folks who have EVER signed up. There is likely several thousand from across the US, maybe even from outside. That does not in any way mean there are 23,395 out of work teachers in Kansas. I have seen teachers from this district leave over the last few years, and if they are good, they will get jobs. Not to mention, they don't have to leave to take a Kansas job. They could go to any nearby state, or yes, even inner city NYC, if it paid well enough and was in their interest. Oh and guess who is most likely to leave? The GOOD teachers. Without pay raises, solid benefits, etc., they can and do leave for better options. Don't lie to yourself that this doesn't happen. I can name two award-winning teachers who have left in the last few years.

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hipgrrrrl 3 years, 8 months ago

You say "...I am sick of folks saying we need to cut sports and funding rather than making the smart choice and consolidating schools. We are wasting money on only a few students that could be used for other things. Sports is one of those things I happen to think is very important."

I say you are not advocating a reversal of wasting money on only a few students. You advocate the absolute reversal of the early educational goals given to the voters by the BOE. The closing of these two rural schools will be hugely detrimental to the education of all of the existing students at the PC and IC.

This is much, much bigger than your kid's sports program.

It's actually quite funny. You were the bully in the room about how important this unaffordable bond was and how it was of such benefit to "the children", but now you think it's just fine to chuck the main selling points of that away now that it's been implemented. I mean, didn't you sell people on how many teachers would leave if they didn't get their state of the art facility?

I wish you would stop throwing my children's education under the bus just because you think your kid suffers inconvenience at the school you have choosen to send them to.

Sheesh. You're not the only one who's feelin' sick.

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Bloggerboo 3 years, 8 months ago

"hugely detrimental" is an exaggeration. Get real. It may be "slightly" detrimental, at most. But we need funds. Get it? I could even get behind cutting sports if we have to keep things absolutely going, but I'll not advocate that over consolidating two very small schools. Plain and simple.

The bond issue is completely different money. Why don't you understand that? We can't use any of that for teacher salaries, or benefits, like health care. We can't use it to pay for administrators of buildings we don't really need.

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hipgrrrrl 3 years, 8 months ago

I am not talking about the issue of different money. Shockingly, I understand that situation.

I am referring directly to your lack of consistency and level of "all about me and mine" which - even if overly common in our society - is shameful.

Our schools have had the luxury to overindulge in the offerings they have provided to our children and their ability to create administrative positions and that time is over. It's time to focus on stellar education. The time to expect the school to provide optional activities (which you, as a parent could choose to provide yourself if it weren't inconvenient) is over - for now, at least.

Additionally, the list of priorities the BOE has delegated this "savings" is weighed down with unnecessary and untimely raises. Before you get your undergarments in a wad, I am not necessarily referring to teachers - although perhaps this in not the time to be overly generous.

You, my dear blog, are firmly settled on the side of bloat and I am firmly settled on the side of paying for the wisest investment. The happy circumstance of your kid being able to take a conveniently scheduled bus to their optional sporting event doesn't begin to compare to the importance of providing a good educational base for our elementary students. And yes, the increase in class sizes will do that. I have never run across a study which indicated otherwise - have you?

You keep talking about these two very small schools. What you seem to not understand is the consolidation of these two schools (which based on the promises the BOE made shouldn't happen, anyway) directly affects the school children here in Baldwin. Apparently, your kid(s) have been happy to utilize those pretty good services and now that they've moved on, you think it's okay to sacrifice that opportunity for others.

I am not pinning all my hopes of a comfortable retirement on one of my children going pro...or my significant other losing their job because they are involved in a disposable coaching position. I'm not sure why you've chosen your short-sighted position, but it really smacks of being personally based and somewhat desperate.

I stand behind "...hugely detrimental..."

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kal110386 3 years, 8 months ago

If you think moving a handful of kids to a school a few miles away would be more detrimental than cutting extra-curricular activities for AN ENTIRE DISTRICT, you are absolutely out of your mind. For anyone proposing we cut sports/activities you must have not participated much while in high school. The things you learn while be involved in activities outside the classroom is JUST as important to becoming a well rounded and successful person as the things you learn in the classroom. In fact, I can go most days without having to know how to do geometry or the history of the United States. Yet determination, team work, communication, work ethic, etc. are things that you need in any job PERIOD, and are things I learned while participating in sports much more than I did with my nose in a book.

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ksrush 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey I have a question. Are the outlying schools forced to endure the optional sporting events through parks and rec in God forbid Baldwin or do they have a league of their own. I would hate to think what kind of damage can be done having to interact outside a comfort zone - ( like in the real world) surely it is too much to bear that thought. Heres a challenge. Come up with a sound finacial reason for keeping those two schools open. Financial reason - not emotional

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