On wrong side of history
In choosing to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment that would grant the Legislature exclusive authority to determine school funding (Feb. 21 Eagle), conservative state senators have participated in the kind of legislative overreach they claim to stand against and attempted to upset the fundamental system of checks and balances our government relies on to function democratically. Further, by actively casting a vote against the interests of public schools, students and teachers, they’ve alienated Kansans who believe deeply in public education.
I can say without hyperbole that their opposition to public schooling puts them on the wrong side of history.
Comprehensive K-12 education for every American is one of the glories of our democracy. Nowhere else does our country more closely adhere to its founding ideals than in the goal of educating every child. Choosing to undermine public education obliterates America’s best hope for continued greatness.
Education Week ranked our state’s education system 37th in January 2013. Slashing education funding seems foolhardy given that reality. In the future, I truly hope conservative legislators will consider the views of all their constituents before casting such a vote, and not just those who happen to agree with them and Americans for Prosperity.
I am opposed to Senate Bill 109, which would eliminate taxpayer funding for lobbying efforts with the Legislature. As an unpaid volunteer, I have been privileged to serve on the Andover school board for the past 10 years. Our school district, along with more than 280 other districts statewide, pays annual dues to the Kansas Association of School Boards based in Topeka. KASB provides excellent support in areas of research, board member training, school finance, contract negotiations, legal issues and leadership, to name a few.
This organization also facilitates lobbying efforts for member districts through hosting legislator receptions, adopting positions per membership directives, providing testimony and creating weekly webinars with updates regarding pending legislation. On occasion, board members go to Topeka to testify on specific bills, but their time is limited by full-time employment and obligations at home.
Without KASB in the trenches representing Kansas public education, the voice representing 475,000 deserving students would be muted. As a locally elected official, my sole political agenda involves the well-being of 5,500 students in Andover, and we need organizations like KASB continuing to watch our back.
ROGER A. ELLIOTT
My family and I enjoy walking at the Meadows Nature Park near our home. For the past few months, the park’s lone trash bin has been overflowing with refuse. Last week I sent an e-mail to Doug Kupper, director of parks and recreation for the city, making him aware of the situation. By the next afternoon, the bin had been emptied.
A big “thank you” to Kupper and all of the Wichita Park and Recreation Department employees for their quick response and all they do to keep our parks beautiful.