Letter to the Editor (February 3, 2016)

Is consolidation bill best for kids?

School efficiency is the new buzzword in Kansas. Critics of public education say time and again we are spending too much money on schools and we need to find ways to make them more ?efficient.?

Rarely do these criticisms focus on what is best for the kids and communities of our state. The latest in a long line of proposals to make schools more efficient is House Bill 2504.

HB 2504 is the newest attempt to consolidate school districts in Kansas. This bill is unique in a couple of ways:

It does not propose closing any school buildings.

It does propose to reduce the number of boards of education, superintendents, and district office administration.

These two ideas, in their purest form, resonate with some who believe there are too many superintendents and other district administrators; yet, skeptics argue this is the first step in closing schools.

The argument for reduced district level administration is worth debating; however, the reality is that district administration in Kansas makes up only 2.4 percent of total education spending.

Assuming not all of these positions could be eliminated with any consolidation proposal, the actual savings would be much less than 2.4 percent.

In Marion County, we have five school districts, five superintendents and five boards of education. Merg?ing to one superintendent and one board of education might appeal to some.

I?ve heard this feedback firsthand from a few of you; yet, we also know that without good schools communities struggle. Without good schools, our way of life erodes. Have we thought about the negative implications that go along with diminished representation for our public schools? Whose voice gets lost in this arrangement?

Discussion about school consolidation should occur only if we believe it is truly best for our kids and our communities. If we believe it will make our schools in the county better and keep our communities viable, then by all means we should have that conversation.

The truth of the matter is our critics are having the discussion solely to save money?which isn?t proven either?and that should concern all of us.

Supt. Steve Noble

USD 410, Hillsboro

HCF grants will change lives

I was pleased to be part of a special event last Tuesday night at the Hillsboro Middle School. Tabor College was honored to be among the group of organizations given grants from the Hillsboro Community Foundation. The foundation gave out more than $18,000 to civic and community groups that represent a wide range of activities that make Hills?boro and Marion County an excellent place to work and live.

We at Tabor would like to thank the Hillsboro Com?munity Foundation, its board, and supporters who generously donate their time and funds to give back to our area. This is truly a special group. It is easy to see from the many projects funded this year that lives will be changed through the efforts of the foundation.

Our grant money will be spent to develop and build the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts. It is our desire that the new facility will bless and serve the Hillsboro area at large. We intend for the facilities to be a shared space where the college and community can come together. Gifts such as the grant from the foundation further confirm that together we are strengthening the quality of life for our future.

Thank you, Hillsboro Community Foundation, for the important role you play in this mission.

Jules Glanzer

President, Tabor College

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