Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Letters to the editor: More school funding, Thanks Mr. Van, There goes private property

July 6, 2005

More school funding

To the editor:

School funding is crucial. How can anyone oppose more money for schools? I find that incredulous. I have worked in many school systems the past 17 years that were without air-conditioning.

How many degreed professionals out there would go to work in Kansas during August without it? The building I work in now was built in the early 1900s, has crowded halls and repair needs. Maybe some of the wealthier districts in our state are doing OK, but most districts are in desperate need. Many of the western counties have had to consolidate all of the schools in the entire county to make ends meet.

Some students are riding buses well over an hour one-way!

Some say schools waste their funds, though much of the spending is required. There is a Kansas City district that is cutting librarians. How sound is this as opposed to, say, pricey sports programs with facilities, busing and personnel needed? In many European countries, communities have sports activities that aren't funded by schools.

Library media has a statewide K-12 curriculum and library media specialists teach skills to all students. Can the same be said of sports? Many countries don't provide services to those with special needs. It is awesome that our country wants to provide excellent well-rounded education services to all, and even offer extra-curricular activities so no child is left behind. It is deplorable that some expect it to be achieved with such a financial handicap.

Think, Kansas! Couldn't we join Iowa in selling ethanol at our pumps? Figuratively and literally we'd pump up our own economy. There has to be many ways to increase state revenue while improving aspects of Kansas life without resorting to casinos. Let's all start thinking and sharing ideas that would work better. Kansans have long been resourceful and ingenuous when we needed to be, now is the time.

Cynthia McGowne,


Library media specialist for Unified School District 458.

Thanks, Mr. Van

To the editor:

The Tonganoxie Community Band finished another short season with its annual Patriotic Concert in the VFW Park. What an uplifting experience it is to participate in this band.

I've watched Tonganoxie's band program go from nothing to fantastic in such a short time. I've followed the news in the Tonganoxie Mirror since Mr. Van Middlesworth arrived on the scene. He has such energy and love for music and his musicians.

I've participated in the Community Band since it started -- about four years ago. What an honor. Mr. Van is such a blessing to the community.

In my lifetime, I've experienced many music teachers. I remember only two exciting ones. I could also name many teachers who couldn't wait for summer vacation and wouldn't consider getting together for practice during the summer -- even with their students.

A community band is comprised of musicians of all ages who really enjoy music and want to play together. Without a passionate director, it would never happen. When we show up for practices, we're eager to get set up, warmed up and do whatever Mr. Van asks of us. He makes our sessions fun. Yes, it is work for him!

Oh, imagine how we must sound to him our first evening of practice. Most of us haven't played for a year -- some of us for decades. Our notes are squeaky and sour. He looks past that and knows that we're all willing to practice to please him.

There's just something about Mr. Van. His passion and excitement are contagious. We only have four practices before our concert, so there's much work to be done. His attitude is always optimistic.

This is an extra activity he does because he wants to. There's no paycheck at the end -- only the applause.

I just want to remind everyone how very fortunate the Tonganoxie school system is to have Mr. VanMiddlesworth. He's a gem.

I've enjoyed the band and hope we'll have one again next year.

Thank you, Mr. Van.

Beverly Muzzy,


There goes private property

To the editor:

There is an old joke:

"What did the native people call America before the white man came?"


Same sad joke applies to Mr. Kelo and the "homeowners" of New London, Conn.

"Private property" will be an archaic expression, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision announced June 24.

We should line the halls of justice with mirrors so the federal barristers can see their reflection while passing on the communistic ruling giving local government the right "to seize private property to generate tax revenue."

We applaud Justices O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist for their attempt to stop this injustice.

Roger and Phyllis Shilling,


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