Letters to the editor

opinions

August 1, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Dear editor,
As a veteran teacher in the USD 257 school district, I believe in the importance of education. I have been following the race for the District 9 seat on the state Board of Education. Jim Porter is the best qualified candidate. Jim is the superintendent of schools for Fredonia USD 484. He will be retiring from that position in June 2015.
Jim Porter has taught in public schools in grades kindergarten through high school. He has also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in education as well as serving as a building and district level administrator. His expertise, experience and knowledge give him an understanding of public school issues. Furthermore, his passion and commitment have been to students from their first day in kindergarten until their graduation.
Jim knows and understands Kansas education. He has been a leader in organizing programs that benefit teachers, parents and students. He has experience working with policy-making boards. He is a good listener and an objective, thoughtful decision maker and appreciates the importance of local control. He is the best-qualified candidate for state Board of Education.
Please join me in voting for Jim Porter on Aug. 5.
Sincerely,
Laura Caillouet-Weiner
Educator for USD 257
Humboldt, Kan.

Dear editor:
Earlier this week I received three large postcards containing political messages. You probably received that same mail.
Two were designed to vilify Kent Thompson and the other was supportive of Kent.
The source of the one supportive of Kent was obvious. The return address clearly said “Paid for by Kent for Kansas, Dick Works, Treasurer.”
The other two were from “Americans for Prosperity” and the “Kansas Chamber, PAC” both with addresses in Topeka. Since I had previously received other postcards from “Americans for Prosperity” that were designed to malign Kent I called a friend in Topeka, who is a lobbyist, and without disclosing my reasons asked her about the focus of that group. According to her, “Americans for Prosperity” is a lobbying group supported in large measure and obligated to a very, very wealthy family in Wichita. It was her report that this group has been traveling throughout Kansas finding candidates to run against those elected officials that did not support the families’ agenda during this past session of the Legislature. She further volunteered that the “Kansas Chamber, PAC” also received a large amount of its funding from this same very wealthy family and the “Kansas Chamber, PAC” is in “lock step” with “Americans for Prosperity.”
I have known Kent since his family lived at 2431 Nebraska Rd., just southwest of La-Harpe. I had Kent as a student while employed as a math teacher with the lola school system. I have watched Kent on the athletic field and have observed him as a family man, a business man, and as a public servant. As one of his former teachers I would give him an A in all of the above. He is a critical and logical thinker; he plays fair and works hard; I believe him to be honest, committed to his family, and willing to work hard for the best interests of those he has and will represent.
Will Kent always vote your mind? Probably not! My wife and I have been married over  half a century and we occasionally disagree. Does that mean she doesn’t love me or is being disloyal to me? Absolutely not! We each look at issues differently, according to our background and the way we process information. That’s life!
If you want a state representative who will listen to and try to represent the interests of those of us in the 9th District, then vote for Kent. Please think seriously before you vote for someone who may be obligated to others who live outside the 9th district.
Respectfully,
Harry Lee, Jr.
LaHarpe, Kan.

Dear editor:
The time has come when we are faced on Election Day with deciding whether Iola USD 257 should build a new all-inclusive campus. We should do some research and not just be force fed information the district and school board are providing.
Iola has a dwindling population. From 2000-2012 the population dropped 9.6 percent. With this population base you have to assume half of that number is below the poverty level. We have lost industries, which has made good jobs even harder to find.
They are ever increasing our utilities, property taxes, etc. There is just only so far you can stretch a dollar before something has to give.
The increased mill levy will be there for 30 years? What else will be added to the sales tax in those 30 years?
Iola is a TOWN. We are not a CITY like Topeka, Lawrence, or Wichita. We do not have the luxury of the tax base that a large city with growing potential for jobs and population. We are a town of few where we do have the luxury of knowing who your neighbors are, not feeling scared to allow your children ride their bikes to the park, schools and the Iola Public Library.
What will happen to the library? It is within walking distance from the school. We have an excellent Fine Arts building graciously donated by Mr. Bowlus to enhance and encourage the arts. What will happen to the Bowlus if the school moves?
If the school still continues to use the Bowlus, I hope they get that in writing. Has anyone thought of what will be done with all the vacant buildings? The old hospital is an eyesore.
It is sad we are not any more proud of our history then we are. We let the illusion of grandeur blind us from inheritance of the legacy of the past. Look at all the historical buildings in this great country of ours. With proper maintenance they have maintained and thrived.
We are being told the government is going to pay 51 percent of the cost. Where are they going to come up with the money? Is it in hand? What if that money does not come to fruition?
We were told the new track built at the park would be built completely from donations. Well, we see how that panned out. How much did that end up costing USD 25? Or how much money did they WASTE on thinking they could drill a water well for watering the track?
Another selling point is that in the near future all the area small towns will be unified to one school. Does anyone honestly believe this new campus will be large enough to accommodate several towns?
We have seen this played out already with the water plant in Iola and the Allen County Jail. The new hospital has not brought in doctors or population as they thought either.
We have had an increasing number of USD 257 students leave the district to attend Humboldt, Moran and others towns. Have you wondered why?
When looking up school grading online I came across a site compiled by the US Department of Education (kl2Niche). It had Iola’s schools graded as such: Iola High School (D+), Iola Middle School (C), Jefferson (C-), Lincoln (A) and McKinley (A-).
On the same site, Humboldt rates: elementary (B+), Humboldt Middle School (B) and Humboldt High School (B).
I do not think that a building will make a difference in the education of the students. I have talked with my children about this. They said it has no difference in how they learn.
So since we are talking about how much better the education would be in a new facility, I checked the grades in Chanute, where they built their new schools a few years ago: elementary (D), middle school (C-) and high school (C+).
A new school is not going to provide a better education for OUR children.
Has anyone thought of how the location of the campus is going to affect the families in this community? It is not feasible to think students could walk or ride bikes. Will buses be made available for in-town students? Will students have to be picked up at the crack of dawn and returned home an hour after school lets out?
Is the district going to foot the bill for the transportation cost? I live well within walking distance of the schools. This was one of the reasons we bought OUR home where we did. We will have to drive our children to and from school.
I work 8-5, I doubt my employer will allow me to come in late and walk out of work to go pick up my three children. There is no way I would allow them to walk from that far.
I hope all citizens will think long and hard about this proposal before heading to vote.
Sincerely,
Suzanne R. Krone,
Iola, Kan.

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