Letters to the editor


November 3, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Dear editor,
I am writing to show my support for the new school bond vote. I would like to preface my supporting opinion by stating I fully appreciate and respect all those who have expressed concerns and are opposed to the proposition. This being said, it doesn’t change the fact that our district is facing real issues with the current facilities, which has adverse effects on the entire educational environment.
On Nov. 4 we are faced with a crucial decision on how to address these issues, and position our educational system for the future. This decision is about taking advantage of an opportunity which is far more than just buildings and infrastructure. It is an opportunity for the community, our educational system, and most importantly the KIDS!
From the community standpoint, it is a chance to take advantage of funding from a tax base across the state, not just locally generated taxes. It also affords us the opportunity to utilize our current buildings/locations, which presently don’t meet our educational needs, in another capacity to better serve the community. I will not get into these details, as they have been communicated many times, and I fully believe there are many tremendous opportunities available.
It is an opportunity for our educational staff and students. I am a firm believer that when you treat people like professionals, they respond like professionals. I have seen firsthand how these decisions make such an impact. It will inspire good leaders to become great leaders, good teachers to become great teachers, and students to strive for success. I believe new facilities would significantly increase initiative and develop a culture of passion for learning and leadership, which fully supports student development. Successful student development is dependent on an environment conducive to innovative and creative learning.
One thing for certain about opportunity is, if you don’t take advantage of it when it is presented, it will pass you by and someone else will reap its benefits. On Nov. 4 we have this very opportunity, and if the proposition fails, we will still be faced with the current issues, issues which will continue to worsen and deprive our educational environment.
I would like to thank our current board members: Doug Dunlap, Don Snavely, Tony Leavitt, Jack McFadden, Mark Burris, Darrel Catron and Buck Quincy. I firmly believe this group has given the entire process, and all available options, proper due diligence. I am also willing to say that whether you are for or against this proposal, no one has put as much thought and effort into making a decision which encompasses the best interest of our community.  These individuals have done exactly what they were elected to do, and from the research I have done, they give me no reason to not fully trust and support this decision. I believe there is no question as to the “Why” of this proposal, and I have confidence that the decision to move forward with this proposal is the most practical and logical choice. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for their unrelenting time and effort!!
I encourage everyone to take a hard look at the “Why’s” of what is before you, and to fully educate yourself on the facts and opportunity, which has been presented to our community. Whether your vote is for or against, I believe it is a disservice to the entire process to not make an informed decision. On Nov. 4 I am voting “YES” for the opportunity to strengthen our community, our educational system, and most importantly the future of our KIDS!
Johnnie Riley,
Iola, Kan.

Dear editor,
Four years ago, Allen County voters chose by a wide margin to tax themselves to help pay for a new hospital. Citizens did the right thing and took an important step toward securing a stable future for city and county. Tuesday, Iola and USD 257 voters have a chance to take an even more significant step for our shared future by voting yes on both ballot questions having to do with new educational facilities. 
Many arguments, for and against, have been made in these pages. Almost without exception, the “yes” arguments trump the “no,” especially on the most substantive questions. Of the many reasons to VOTE YES/YES for new schools, three stand out.
1) Iola deserves as much as any other Kansas town to benefit from the state matching money, which of course comes from a fund that we have all been contributing to since 1992. Susan Lynn said it well; it isn’t free money but it is our money. If the state matching funds are eliminated, USD 257 will almost certainly never be able to build new or renovate.
2) It is the unanimous recommendation of the elected board that you take this step, based on years of careful study of all options. Their due diligence merits respect.
3) The district cannot continue to throw good money after bad to maintain buildings that are on their last legs, buildings that don’t meet the needs of exceptional students. There are so many more student-oriented uses for that money than patching old roofs.
Our children attend school in Moran. We remember voting on a bond issue here almost 18 years ago that resulted — narrowly — in the building of a new addition to Marmaton Valley schools. We are still paying off those bonds (and no, the state has never missed a payment in aid to bond and interest). We think the beautiful and functional new addition was worth every penny. We believe it went a long way toward keeping MV schools viable.
How can Iola schools best remain viable? We are persuaded that you can’t do it over the next generations in seven old buildings, even renovated to the hilt. Build new schools. Together, we — property taxpayers, shoppers from all over, income taxpayers statewide — can afford to do this. The children and the community have so much to gain. Vote YES/YES.
Mark and Patti Boyd,
Moran, Kan.

Dear editor,
At this time of year I am always proud to be an American! I am grateful for the Founding Fathers of this nation who were inspired to enable us with the freedom we have today and I am grateful for the countless men and women who have fought and died to ensure that freedom. What a blessing it is to live in a country where we have the opportunity to express our political views and be able to cast our vote to make it happen.
For the past several months we have heard and read many issues surrounding our upcoming school bond vote. As Americans, we have the right to our own opinions. We each have one vote … no matter what our educational or socio-economic status. So, please take the time to learn the facts and vote on Tuesday.
Then, Tuesday evening when the votes are counted and the voters’ decision has been made, we need to accept that decision, whatever it is, and move forward to make it work. We need to put our differing opinions aside and bond together as a community again … and maybe even forgive a little. We make Iola strong by uniting, not dividing. We are a strong, caring community. That is why my family moved here almost 30 years ago and why we have stayed. We love Iola. We love the community, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the Midwest hospitality.
So … let’s vote on Tuesday, then do all we can to strengthen Iola and be thankful to God that we live in this wonderful land of freedom.
Deb Greenwall,

Iola, Kan.

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