I enjoy making pie. I use my tried and true recipe -- it's fresh blackberry today. The Conservative Women for Harvey County sponsored a profitable forum regarding the upcoming school bond vote. It reminded me of making pie.
Let's examine the BOE use of their "tax pie" dollars. School growth has decreased by 3% since 2005, but managers and other non-teachers have increased by 14%. At the same time, taxpayer support of public education in Kansas amounted to a record $6,492 billion, or $13,620 per pupil, in 2018. While funding continues to set records, it is far above long term inflation. At the same time, they have an unencumbered carryover of 5.3 million. Where did the recipe get lost?
Will new schools draw families to Newton? Our friends just moved to Wichita and their taxes will be $800 less a year, lower utility bills and no train wait. Find the recipe!
A huge, disappointing reality is that student achievement on independent tests remains unchanged but we are lead to believe that more money is needed to close achievement gaps. State assessment results from 2018 show that only 38% of Kansas 10th graders who are designated "not low-income" are on track to be college and career-ready. These scores are like a failing pie crust.
The late Jean Lush, a British family therapist gave a simple recipe, "structure plus limits equals control."
Pretty schools will not take us back to the basics. No pie a la Mode. Vote No on the school bond issues. (Statistics - www.KANSASPOLICY.ORG)
— Elva Kelton, Newton
The USD 373 Bond Issue
USD 373 patrons should have received mail-in ballots for the $85,740 million bond issue. The superintendent and school board are betting that a low response by voters, typical with mail-in elections, will get the bond issue passed on the second try. Please read on.
What the bond issue, if approved, will do
• It will raise our property taxes by 10.94 mils.
• It will salve the vanities of USD 373 leadership and a compliant school board.
• It will fatten the wallet of the bond issue's consultant(s).
• It will be a windfall for furniture and equipment suppliers and building contractors.
• It will provide much-needed storm shelters. Regrettably, this is not a stand-alone item.
What the bond issue will not do
• Expensive gymnasium, kitchen, auditorium and furniture upgrades will not increase the quality of your student's education. Only exceptional teachers and a rigorous curriculum will do that.
• It will not increase your student's chances of getting into college and getting a job. Colleges and employers don't care how fancy a candidate's high school was, only how well prepared the candidate is.
• It will not attract new residents to Newton.
— Thomas Vavra, Newton