Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

Wrong message

March 31, 2005

To the editor:

How do you write a letter that is not in support of the current bond issue? After all, if you don't support the current bond proposal, you must not care about kids or their futures, right? Wrong, but that is the message bond supporters are sending to taxpayers who may disagree. It certainly seems that the bond proponents and their paid consultants have found a way to distract taxpayers from the real issues at hand. Quite frankly, I am disappointed that this school district has sunk to such a low level as to use kids as advertising tools.

So is the current school bond issue truly about addressing the needs of the Lansing School District or more a reflection of wants and dreams? As a member of the Facilities Planning Committee, I would say it is more a reflection of the latter. While I agree that the district has needs that need to be addressed, this current bond proposal is excessive. Somewhere this district has gone from having one building (the Intermediate School) with structural problems to suddenly having three buildings that are obsolete. I don't understand how this happened, and, quite frankly, I don't see it. At what point did this school district put a greater emphasis on buildings than we do on education?

What taxpayers need to understand is that the current bond proposal was not the recommendation of the Facilities Committee. No consensus could be reached among the Facilities members, and seven different proposals were submitted to the board. That fact in itself should have told the board that more public input was needed and that perhaps the timing wasn't right for a bond issue. Instead, the school board plunged forward and made the decision that with the right sales people, this bond could be sold to taxpayers. If the need is so obvious, why are they spending so much money to sell this proposal?

Bond proponents are telling taxpayers that approval of this bond issue will only result in a minimal increase in one's property taxes. What they don't tell you is that taxpayers may be looking at possibly several tax increases depending what happens in local and state government. . Perhaps it is in the taxpayers' best interest to wait and see what the full impact of legislative decisions will be before we decide on a bond issue.

This district is not in a crisis situation.

While the district does have a building with structural problems, architects have deemed there is no danger to students. Issues with the other buildings have more to do with alternative plans than they do with needs. Notice how the school board has refused to discuss its plans for existing buildings. Enrollment has been down, and enrollment numbers have been dependent on out-of-district students. While it is true this district receives $3,893 per student from the state, this is only a portion of the actual cost that this district spends to educate a student. Out-of-district students' families do not pay property taxes in Lansing and will not help pay for this bond issue.

I agree that the Lansing School District has needs, but to me, this bond issue is not a true reflection of them. Do we need an auditorium? I certainly suppose that it does, but I refuse to be bullied to approve an excessive issue to get it. I urge voters to look at the big picture, we not only have an obligation to provide for the children of our community but we are also obligated to consider the impact of increasing taxes to those with fixed incomes and to those whom increased taxes may cause financial burden.

Margie Jewell

Leavenworth County

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