School board not being upfront about plans
The Wichita school board has to make decisions that have an impact on Wichita. I am disappointed in how the school board has handled the budget crisis.
Superintendent John Allison asked for ways to save money that would have minimal impact on students. A list of suggestions with the potential savings and impact on students was e-mailed to staff. At the school board meeting after the suggestions were presented, people were encouraged to submit more ideas. Speakers presented additional ideas at the April 25 board meeting. Others submitted ideas through the website. These additional cost-saving ideas weren’t shared.
In my opinion, the school board is not being upfront and professional. I think there is a reduction-in-force plan for next year and beyond. At the May 9 school board meeting, the 2015-16 school year was shortened by two days. The board proposed changing the already approved 2016-17 calendar, suggesting that the other option to save $3 million is to cut district librarians.
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I don’t trust the school board. Being a school librarian may end no matter what calendar is chosen. I will vote Monday on the amended 2016-17 calendar. I will make an informed choice and know that my colleagues will, too.
Donna Wilson, Haysville
Safer at schools?
After the shooting incident at the Augusta High School graduation (May 16 Eagle), I will feel much safer when I go to our grandkid’s school events knowing that someone with a gun stuffed in his sock could get my back, or my leg. Thank you, Kansas legislators, for your incalculable wisdom.
William C. Skaer, Wichita
Let me say upfront that there are times when privatization is in order. But there are also times when privatization is little more than a form of modern-day piracy. This type of privatization transfers assets to the wealthy, and saddles the public and individuals who are least able to shoulder the burden with the costs.
Privatizing custodian jobs in USD 259, and other efforts to protect certain jobs and benefits while asking others to sacrifice, is morally offensive to me. It is protecting the power and privileges of some at the expense of others.
Privatization puts the burden of responsibility in the wrong place. The problem is not that custodians, teachers, librarians, nurses, aides and others are making too much money. The budget crisis was created by the Legislature and the governor and their decision to eliminate taxes on pass-through income.
Schools are public places where people learn self-respect, gain new skills, and learn the values of cooperation and civic virtue. They are meeting places that offer the opportunity for creative intergenerational interaction crossing lines of race, class and religion.
Fighting to save the jobs of public school custodians is about much more than saving jobs – important as it is that we do this. Fair compensation for everyone who works in our public schools is about claiming, reclaiming and protecting a vital public space and place that makes and keeps civil society civil.
David Hansen, Wichita
Executive director, Interfaith Worker Justice of Kansas
A street repair was being done recently at 31st Street South and Bennett. Talking to the contractor, I discovered that an area of the street that had major drainage problems for years was not on the list to be fixed. The city’s project manager, Joe Francoeur, came to investigate. Acknowledging the problem, he said he would fix it even though it would be very expensive. Within a few days, crews were working on the repair, and within a week and a half it was completed.
I would like to thank Francoeur for solving a problem that existed for years. Thank you for a job well-done.
Myrle J. McCullough, Wichita
Rewards card benefit
It seems as if every business of any significant size has a rewards program. You know how they work: You sign up online or at the store. A few days later, a card arrives in the mail and you are ready to reap the rewards.
I have so many rewards cards in my wallet, I can’t sit up straight when I drive.
In spite of being a rewards card junkie, I admit to being ignorant about their benefit. I buy something and points are added to my card. When I get enough points, I get a few bucks off my purchase or a $5-off card.
It seems like such an unnecessary hassle to me. Instead of setting up some costly computer program, mailing out membership cards and $5-off cards, and hassling me about presenting my card at the point of purchase, why don’t they just give me a few cents off every purchase I make?
For example, a favorite hardware store has a rewards system whereby you get 10 points for every dollar you spend. Occasionally, I get a $5 rewards card in the mail. It takes 2,500 points to score that $5 rewards card. That means I have to spend $250 to earn a paltry five bucks.
It just dawned on me. There is a benefit to having a rewards card. It’s the discovery that I’m spending too darn much at the hardware store.
Steve West, Colwich
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