Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Shouts and Murmurs

Another musical success story

March 31, 2004

Congratulations to the music department at Tonganoxie High School. The Chieftain Singers returned from a Chicago trip with a first-place win for their performances.

And, the choir was further honored by being invited to participate in a future similar event. This invitation, said Joyce Steeby, THS vocal music teacher, was based on the students' behavior, as well as their performance while at the event.

When Steeby took the Chieftain Singers on the same trip two years ago, she said their behavior was so great that she thought such a successful trip could not be repeated.

But Steeby was pleasantly surprised and said this year's group was the best she's ever traveled with. As she said, that says a lot for the parents and others who have helped raised these teens.

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On Monday night, the Tonganoxie school district's third community forum will be held to discuss the district's proposed $25.6 million construction plan. This is the district's final public forum, and school officials hope to see a larger attendance than at the first two meetings.

Keeping in mind that close to 5,000 registered voters live in the school district, it's almost shocking to realized that only about 10 residents unaffiliated with the school district or construction firms attended the first forum, and only about 20 were at the second forum.

Just in casual conversations around town, I've heard from plenty of district patrons who say they'll support -- with their votes and with future tax dollars -- the district's proposed construction plan.

On the other hand, a senior citizen who is on a fixed income commented that he'll have to move out of the district if the bond issue passes because he wouldn't be able to pay the increased property taxes.

This is a plan that will effect everyone -- our precious youth, loyal and accomplished school faculty and staff, and those, as school superintendent Richard Erickson would say, are "friends of education" and who want to see the best facilities possible for area children. Also in the picture are the area residents for whom the increase in taxes would be too big of a financial burden to shoulder.

It has been said that people who rent don't have a vested interest in this because they don't have to pay property taxes on their dwellings. But someone does. And if property taxes go up, the rent likely will follow.

Think about these things -- and come to Monday's forum. Whether you support the plan or are against it, your voice matters as much as anyone else's, and this is an opportunity to speak your mind. It's possible the board of education, in the next few months, will vote on a construction plan that could be put on the November ballot. If you care to comment, to give advice, or even to learn more about the plans before they're cemented, the time to do it is now.

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