Wichita district should sell building
I attended Monday’s Wichita school board meeting, where representatives of the nonprofit Fundamental Learning Center and parents of children who participate in programs it provides appealed to board members and administrators to sell one of the district’s five long-vacant school buildings to the center (April 14 Local & State).
The request was summarily tabled, with no board deliberation, in part because of an alleged need for further study as to what to do with two buildings the center has expressed interest in purchasing. Mind you, these deteriorating facilities have been repeatedly shown to center leaders by USD 259 over the past year, along with informal encouragement that such a sale could be forthcoming. At the school board meeting, the statement was made that such study would be complete in roughly one year.
More study? One year? Really? These buildings have been closed for several years. They are decaying and sit as potential blights on their respective neighborhoods, not to mention the heavy annual costs for basic maintenance.
The Fundamental Learning Center is a 15-year-old fully accredited resource for children with dyslexia and their parents. It has a strong track record of aiding these good folks in identifying learning challenges and how to overcome them.
The center gravely needs a larger facility. USD 259 has one it does not need and can ill afford to keep. I truly hope more enlightened heads will be able to alter the board’s unbelievably narrow position.
No tuition freeze
As the Legislature returns to wrap up the budget for the next two fiscal years, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over our state universities. Despite agreements with the Kansas Board of Regents and the Governor’s Office to support a flat budget for the next two years, a last-minute tuition freeze was thrown into the mix.
While we are dedicated to keeping tuition as affordable as possible, adopting the tuition freeze at this time would have devastating effects. Since 2001, annual enrollment at Kansas State University has grown by more than 2,300 students. The proposed flat budget for next year represents the same level of base funding we received from the state in 2001.
Adding more students while state support declines is not a path for long-term success. Freezing tuition without any increase in state support will severely limit our ability to maintain the quality academic programs our students deserve.
We have worked hard to support our growth by increasing private donations, attracting research grants and, with our students’ input, increasing tuition. A flat budget and frozen tuition will essentially remove flexibility from our two largest sources of revenue. Under no scenario can this be considered sound financial policy.
The net result would effectively be the largest budget cuts in our history. The Board of Regents has the constitutional authority to set tuition rates for state universities. The Legislature should respect this authority and remove the proposed tuition freeze for state universities. We support the governor’s recommendation for a flat budget for higher education.
KSU is experiencing tremendous positive momentum, and we want to continue forward progress. For the benefit of all Kansans, we need stable funding for higher education.
Kansas State University
Treat with dignity
I understand and support the need to keep folks off welfare and in the job market. Dependency on the government for the basic necessities of life is not a good thing for anyone.
But the leaders in Topeka recently instituted a gaggle of mean-spirited, counterproductive initiatives for welfare folks. For example, the rules limit ATM benefit withdrawals to $25 a day. Does anyone know of an ATM that dispenses money in $5 increments? This is just dumb.
It also restricts the way the money can be spent. No more using welfare money for cruises, movies or jewelry stores. It appears most in Topeka have a 6-year-old’s understanding of what they are doing.
If our elected leaders in Topeka wish for folks to get off welfare and into the workplace, treating them like little kids is an odd way to do it. If folks are down and out and need a helping hand, give it to them. Don’t micromanage how, where and when such money is being spent.
If you treat folks with dignity, they will act with dignity. If you treat them like children, they will act like children.
MICHAEL G. NICHOLS
As a taxpayer, I applaud the Legislature for listing items and activities that cannot be paid for with taxpayer funds, such as cigarettes, alcohol and visits to casinos and strip clubs. I am appalled when I learn about welfare recipients spending taxpayer money on things that most of us consider nonessentials. But not the left-wing loons cited in “Latest round of ridicule” (April 10 Eagle Editorial).
There are legitimate jokes to be made about Kansas – flat, tornadoes, wind, etc. But not allowing welfare recipients to blow money at a casino or strip club is no joke. It is common sense.
I have come to the sad realization that my local newspaper is no longer able to print anything but a biased, leftist slant on any news story.
Instead of telling us of the good things that our governor has accomplished, such as holding down the spending of our government during these tough economic times while trying to balance our budget, we get stories about how the poor are being neglected and mistreated.
We also hear the school system can’t find enough funds to properly educate our children. I just looked at my 2014 personal property tax statement. Nearly 50 percent of those taxes go to USD 259. Rather than claiming the selfishness of taxpayers is the cause of that problem, The Eagle should report how the illegal immigration onslaught is the real cause of the terrible drain on our resources.
Just 16 percent of Wichita voters responded regarding the marijuana issue. The Eagle editorial board’s scolding of Attorney General Derek Schmidt (“Views on pot changing,” April 14 Eagle Editorial) was misleading. The majority of Wichita voters were asleep at the wheel on this topic April 7. It was inappropriate reporting to refer to “the will of Wichita’s voters” and “54 percent of Wichita voters.”
Do we need more instances like the tragic death of the baby abandoned last summer in a hot car while, according to prosecutors, her two foster parents smoked marijuana? My vote is “no.”
Our government is made up of three branches – executive, legislative and judicial – that serve as checks and balances for one another. If this system fails, democracy fails.
Kansas politicians need a lesson in civics. A bill advancing in the Legislature provides more funding for the state courts on the condition that the courts do not rule favorably for the plaintiff in a recent lawsuit and find a law adopted last year unconstitutional. This is comparable to bribery (or blackmail).
Legislation also would add, as grounds for impeachment of justices, any attempt to usurp the authority of the Legislature – as judged by the Legislature. This would mean that justices who negatively evaluate laws passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor could be removed from office. Such legislation must be stopped.
People of Kansas: Do you understand what is happening? Please contact your legislators and tell them to vote “no.”
League of Women Voters-Wichita/Metro
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