Below the editorial, in our print edition today, you will find a letter to the editor from Deborah Hamm, the superintendent of schools for USD 373. As usual, when she writes a letter, it is well worded and language is chosen carefully.
For those who want the "twitterized" version, we can provide such a summary: It is time to move forward with a bond issue.
For those of us who have been attending board of education meetings regularly, including several of the board members, it feels very much like this has been going on forever. While it has not been discussed since the invention of time, there has been a considerable amount of time spent on trying to assess what the needs of the district are and what they will be in the future. There has been a lot of work done to get to the point we are at. That work included the work of a "Community Visioning Team."
That team, which met six times for what was started as a four meeting process, has discussed options available to the district at length. They have looked at every building in the district, and spent a considerable amount of time debating whether to keep a school in Walton or move the elementary to another location.
That group gave a report this week — including a plan that calls for realignment of grade levels (moving fifth grade back to elementary schools), renovating Walton, renovating the high school and renovating storm shelters across the district.
The board chose to not make a decision Monday. Maybe the hour had grown too late after a long meeting, with more agenda items to come as they wrestled with the bond. They chose to meet for a work session at a time to be determined to finalize the plan.
But it is time for the district to move forward. It is time to ask us tax payers. We will tell you what we want.
Win or lose, it is time for the voters to make their decision. A cross section of the community was asked to help create a plan, and they did so. They worked in good faith to come up with the plan. The board needs to now reciprocate and create the ballot question about that plan.
Should the bond fail, the district can assess why it failed and try again. They can split it into smaller chunks. They can go back to the drawing board. Some feel like there is not time for that, that things need to get done and need to get done now. In some respects they are correct, but ultimately, that is the tax paying public's decision to make.
— Kansan Editorial Board. The Kansan Editorial Board is comprised of The Newton Kansan news team and management.