Sunday, October 26, 2008

Full Circle

This blog started back in February because it seemed odd that Lynn Rogers and the USD 259 Board didn't seem to have any kind of idea how to proceed in the event the (then) $350 million bond issue failed.

Nine months later, we have seen a changed voting date at the request of bond supporters, a lack of business community support, polls indicating overwhelming public opposition, and an organized opposition to the bond.

What have Rogers and the Board learned?


So what happens if the bond issue fails? Board members haven't talked about that "because it's not the best option," Rogers said in today's Wichita Eagle.

Seriously? The School Board of the largest district in the state refuses to talk about options "because it's not the best option." Instead of facing the reality that the bond issue is likely to fail, the alleged leaders responsible for the education of our children simply bury their collective heads in the sand?

The best Rogers could come up with was some half-hearted talk about 'stop-gap' measures. Architect-in-Chief Martin Libhart said, school officials would rank projects in the bond plan and start trying to pay for the "most critical needs" out of the district's capital outlay fund.

Well there's a thought...identify the most important needs and start working on them.

Libhart whines that the district only has $24 million a year for capital outlay, which would not cover two new $37 million highschools, and suggests that maintenance would suffer.

Here's a few questions for the BOE: How much could go into the capital outlay if fewer tax dollares were spent on $100k consultants, a top heavy personnel structure, and mailings in support of the bond? What kind of facilities could Wichita kids enjoy if the USD 259 board would follow the lead of surrounding districts and work with other organizations in the community, like WSU, YMCA and City Parks Dept?

Apparently, none of those are 'the best option' for our current crop of board members.

Asking the taxpayers to pay for everything on the wish list doesn't require leadership. Making decisions and finding workable solutions that benefit students, the community and taxpayers takes leadership. Facing reality and planning for the future requires leadership.

Now is the time for some for some accountability. Next spring there will be an opportunity to find some leadership.

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