Archive for Tuesday, April 5, 2011

ELECTION CENTRAL: School bond issue soundly defeated; Peak, Bixby elected to council; Becker to join school board

Election 2011

Election 2011

April 5, 2011

9:37 p.m.

TONGANOXIE CITY COUNCIL

2/2 precincts reporting

(Top two win election)

*Bill Peak 420

*Dennis Bixby 426

Paula Crook 356

TONGANOXIE SCHOOL BOARD

At-large position

9/9 precincts reporting

(Top vote getter is elected)

*Gene Becker 631

Tamara Behm 491

Jonathan Boone 427

USD 464 BOND ISSUE

9/9 precincts reporting

Yes 670

*No 1,111

8:23 p.m.

Early returns

TONGANOXIE CITY COUNCIL

(Top two win election)

Bill Peak 26

Dennis Bixby 22

Paula Crook 28

TONGANOXIE SCHOOL BOARD

At-large position

(Top vote getter is elected)

(2/9 precincts reporting)

Gene Becker 43

Tamara Behm 24

Jonathan Boone 20

USD 464 BOND ISSUE

(2/9 precincts reporting)

Yes 81

No 143

7:19 p.m.

Early returns

TONGANOXIE CITY COUNCIL

(Top two win election)

Bill Peak 26

Dennis Bixby 22

Paula Crook 28

TONGANOXIE SCHOOL BOARD

At-large position

(Top vote getter is elected)

Gene Becker 43

Tamara Behm 24

Jonathan Boone 20

USD 464 BOND ISSUE

Yes 49

No 68

7:09 p.m.

Polling sites closed just a few minutes ago.

Check back with The Mirror for all your 2011 election coverage as we bring you updated election results.

Comments

gotongie 3 years, 8 months ago

Congratulations! What a victory!
I truly hope that those 1,111 no votes have a solution for our overcrowded and unsafe schools. Perhaps the "vote no" committee, who invested over 1000 bucks in a newspaper ad and signs, can hire a consultant to advise them on what is best for kids. And they can form a committee to meet about it. And they can make an informed decision and present it to the community. Oh wait.....that was already done....... Well, anyhoo, I'm sure they will come up with a much more educated and cost effective solution! I can't wait to hear it. I expect to see an article in the newspaper soon about what their plans are. Or, perhaps the nice lady, Gretchen Busche, will do another interview on tv with her ideas. I'm all ears.
Oh well, at least our property taxes won't go up! Whew! Times are tough, so I'm sure this no vote will definitely be a positive for our community. No further sacrifices will have to be made in the name of public education or those darn ankle biters.
Between Cerner, the soccer complex, the casino, and now Google moving into Wyandotte county, I'm so relieved that Tongie has retained it's small town goals! Once again, congrats!
Oh, and if Mr. Tanking could return all of those "vote yes" signs to the yards he was seen taking them out of, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Indian 3 years, 8 months ago

It is a sad day for Tonganoxie! The grade school is still overcrowded. The city has just took two or three step backwards. I would think with the forward thinkers in this community that people would want to more forward.
Very Sad day for the school! Very day for the City council! Very Sad day for TONGANOXIE!!!!!

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Padfield 3 years, 8 months ago

I have been unable to sleep thinking about this vote. I too am disappointed. We will now be paying more money for less facilities. Something must be done about that elementary school, and it must be done soon. We just threw away a great chance to pick up some state aid and get more for our money.

The one thing that makes me as a parent breathe a little easier is knowing that we have a stable full of quality, professional, educators that will figure out a way to keep doing their jobs. Unfortunately, the city has just made them work that much harder to keep our kids even with the other area students. I also know they will keep our students as safe as they can, and I hope we stay out of the media until we wake up and make these schools secure.

Our local economy won't be getting a shot in the arm from new, young, upward moble families moving to town. We will still continue to grow, but not as fast, and with less professionals. Our property values are all going to remain where they are, but hey, at least our taxes will too. I agree with Indian, we just took a step backwards. I still love this community, but this is the first time I have felt that we as citizens have made a mistake. I hope we don't repeat it with the next bond issue, and I hope that issue is brought up soon.

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johnms 3 years, 8 months ago

It's a GREAT day to be a Tonganoxie resident. Knowing that this bond issue was defeated makes me ecstatic. The school board and it supporters failed in selling this bond issue to the voters, and rightly so. Give it time though, the liberals that feel we need ANOTHER new school (despite the souring economy) will only try to sell it to the voters in time.

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Padfield 3 years, 8 months ago

That "us vs. them", party politics, mentality is what is wrong with the system. Democrats aren't going to ruin society. Republicans aren't going to either. But, that aisle down the middle of the room may be the culprit. Who cares what letter is in the parenthesis after a person's name? Maybe if we started listening to each other’s ideas and tried to work together for once something might get accomplished, and maybe we would right the ship before it is too far off course.

That being said, I am many things: a parent, a husband, a son, an educator, an athletic trainer, a failed business owner, a gun owner, a Capitalist, a Christian... I am not what you are conjuring up when you say "liberal" like it is a curse word. I like to think of myself as a moderate, but in reality I lean a little to the right. I am registered as a Republican, but that is because when I was 18 and registering, the lady behind the desk asked me if I wanted to declare a party. I told her I hadn't thought about it, and she asked me if I wanted her to mark Republican. I just wanted to get back to school for practice, and told her that was fine. I don't care enough about labels to go and change that to Independent now, but maybe I will one day.

This had nothing to do with wanting a new toy, or free reign with millions of dollars, or any of the other excuses I have heard. (I am very aware of the fact I said, "excuses" not "reasons".) Most of those 1,111 "no" votes have no clue what that elementary school is really like. Many of the people I talked to over the last few days had no real idea what the bond issue was about. Most of the problems with the high school addition revolved around a "covered walkway"... it was a covered walkway, they were right, but it preferred to be called a hallway since it had new, up-to-date science labs and a media center attached to it.

It seemed that the vast majority of opposition stopped listening when they heard that it was going to cost them money. They didn't take the time to really research it. Again, this is based on my informal conversations with people that commented on my "Vote Yes" button I wore. Most people were less reserved after learning about THIS bond issue and ignoring the LAST bond issue. I do hope that we get out there and try "to sell it to the voters," I hope we do a better job, and I hope we do it soon!

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Jason Bailey 3 years, 8 months ago

You're wrong on one point: Both Democrats and Republicans already have ruined this country. The entitlements and multiple wars (still ongoing, still more in the hopper) are killing this country. We've already started writing the first chapters of a new book, The Rise and Fall of the United States of America, and will soon go the way of Rome circa 400 AD.

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Kota51 3 years, 8 months ago

It is interesting how bitter some posts are when other people don't agree with someone's viewpoint or plan. I voted no for one reason. The wording on the bond issue was too vague and would have given the school board way too much latitude in how to spend our money. The only thing in that bond issue that was specific was the elementary school . Everything else was way too vague and open-ended. It has nothing to do with signs in yards or articles in this paper. Put a bond issue up that is reasonable in scope and tells exactly how the money is to be spent and I will vote yes. I suspect there are many others out there in the same boat. All of us want good schools. What we don't want (and won't accept) is handing our checkbooks over to a school board or any other government body to squander as they see fit.

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Kota51 3 years, 8 months ago

It is interesting how bitter some posts are when other people don't agree with someone's viewpoint or plan. I voted no for one reason. The wording on the bond issue was too vague and would have given the school board way too much latitude in how to spend our money. The only thing in that bond issue that was specific was the elementary school . Everything else was way too vague and open-ended. It has nothing to do with signs in yards or articles in this paper. Put a bond issue up that is reasonable in scope and tells exactly how the money is to be spent and I will vote yes. I suspect there are many others out there in the same boat. All of us want good schools. What we don't want (and won't accept) is handing our checkbooks over to a school board or any other government body to squander as they see fit.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

The posts are bitter because of the people that I have talked to, "most" voted no for ridiculous reasons. I can accept your reasons Kota, you have that right, but some of the other reasons that were spoken verbally to me are just not true and a bit ignorant to the situation, but hey, I live among them, so I have to accept their vote. Too bad for our town and children that we have people ecstatic about our community not seeing the opportunity that was there. Still in the 1980's Tonganoxie. The 80's was a great decade, but that was 20-30 years ago.

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Jason Bailey 3 years, 8 months ago

I love it when a plan comes together.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

1.Where do I grocery shop? Wal-Mart 2.Where do I go out to eat? Basehor, Legends, or Lawrence 3.Where do I go for entertainment (even to rent movies)? Legends, Bonner, or Lawrence 4.Where would I move to if I was looking to get out of the city and send my kids to a community that values education? Basehor, Eudora, Bonner

*The problem is, most of the people I know do the same thing on numbers 1-3, but gripe about $10 more dollars on their taxes. The people spoke, but I don't get it. When will this community advance? The economy excuse is a security blanket for some to stay in their comfort zone and not open up to the rest of the world, but the outlook will eventually change. There are too many positive people here.

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KStater 3 years, 8 months ago

only1 - and this "no" winning is icing on the cake for my family. I've been a McLouth resident for 18 years went off to college and came back as a Tonganoxie resident going on 5 years - the elementary school was overcrowded when I was in school 10+ years ago and now that my son will be starting Kindergarten in the fall it's still an issue. Now we're going to be looking into selling our home and moving away. It's a shame, but clearly education isn't important to some - just the extra $10 more on taxes.

I do get Kota about the vagueness but the need for a new elementary school is so high. But alas, having to spend more money won out. Shame really...I hope an older couple buys my home w/no kids so they won't have to worry about the schools like we do.

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tongiegirl 3 years, 8 months ago

I would have voted for a new school. But not to correct screwed up parking lots that should of been planed right the first time. Why is that when towns build new schools, they build them to where it is almost impossible to ADD ON?
This was just the wrong plan.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

Here we go again. Every single administrator is different than the last bond issue! Every one, so don't blame them, the teachers, or anyone else for what happened the last time. I respect your right to vote no, but not when this type of reasoning is used along with "We don't need a new school, I learned it that old building", it makes it hard... Why is it that you people have an us vs. "the schools" mentality? I don't blame anyone for packing up and moving out. I would too if I could, in an instant. Instead, I'm going to continue to stay here and let my kids graduate and hope that we don't continue to fall farther and farther behind. I just wish the leaders of this community could take a tour of other 4A communities in this state. I have lived in other communities and visited many others and Tonganoxie is so far behind it's amazing. Location is the only reason keeping this town afloat. Vision is lacking.

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artichokes 3 years, 8 months ago

I am a proud supporter of Tongie, our community, our students, our educators (well, 98% of them) and of the school district as a whole. My vote of no doesn’t change any of that. For my family, it had nothing to do with increased property tax (though I can understand that some families are concerned about the increased taxes, with the bond then street improvements). In fact, I would have supported a bond issue if it were $50 million if I thought it was what was best for the district long term.

My point is, the vast majority of people I talked with about the bond were voting no because of what was ‘in’ the bond and the allocation of the money within the district – not due to the increase in taxes. These are well educated parents with a vested interest in the schools - people who grew up here to people who have recently relocated here.

Although I don’t know her personally, k.u.d.o.s to Gretchen. To stand up for what she believes in a small community that apparently wants to flog anyone who goes against the vocal majority, in this case has been proven to be the vocal minority, is her right. She is not personally responsible for the 1,111 votes against the bond. She is responsible for her own vote. I think what bothers some about Gretchen is that she isn’t afraid to voice her opinion and gasp, she has young children in the district (point being – she doesn’t really fit this ‘no’ voter criteria list that people have in their minds).

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artichokes 3 years, 8 months ago

One would think that instead of pointing figures and kicking sand…people would spend a little more time concerned about the other approximately 4,847 patrons who didn’t vote! Let’s run the numbers a little: there are 6,628 registered voters in our district (as of this morning when I called the county clerk) – that means that according to the most recent data only 26.87% voted on the bond. Only a smidge over 10% of total registered voters in our district voted yes and almost 17% voted no. As a patron, it is disturbing that a little under 75% of the registered voters didn’t vote!

The bond was defeated, it’s time to move forward from where we are right now. If you want to move – put your house on the market and leave…that is your choice. We moved here almost 10 years ago and you’re right the elementary school was over crowded then…but it didn’t stop us from moving here. Just a few short years later, a bond was passed to build a new middle school to move two grades out of the elementary to ease crowding. Unfortunately, that bond didn’t go far enough as a few years later…here we are screaming about overcrowding again. This district is not alone in its struggle to do what’s best for the students – districts around us are consolidating schools and making serious budget cuts. Part of the problem we face in Tongie is that this district is a work in progress – trying to overcome the..well, sins of the past…and not just with the previous bond. I think we’ve made good strides, but we have a way to go to earn back the trust and confidence of the patrons.

There are lots of patrons who voted no that want to move forward for the good of our district…some possibly to work on a new bond. Our community would be better served if both sides of the bond (sans the no vote patrons who based it strictly on a tax increase – let’s not waste any more energy on them) could do some active listening and work together toward a common goal for our students. Work toward a new bond issue will start soon and if people want it to pass – those pushing it need to be open to the opinions of all patrons in the district who want a new improved district as well as figure out a way to get e.v.e.r.y parent (well, those that live in our boundaries) to not only register but to vote! This is key to pass any bond issue.

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Kota51 3 years, 8 months ago

Artichokes, you make a great point. Elections have consequences at the community, state and national level and it is a shame that so many people will take the time to howl and complain, but won't take the time to cast a vote on election day. I have voted in every election since I turned 18. If everyone would do the same, we would truly know what the community wants. I stand by my no vote on this one. One thing you can be assured of is that I will cast a vote at the next election, and the next, and the next, etc. Put a clearly defined, reasonable bond issue on the ballot and I will vote for it.

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tongie38 3 years, 8 months ago

Bottom line..the "vote no" committiee worked harder than the "vote yes" committee. It's a shame, but I have confidence a bond will pass at a later date. The reason we vote is to allow a majority of people to express what they want for their community and the system worked. Challenge is good and hopefully a more thought out plan with specific expenditures will be outlined. The shame of all this is the teachers and staff who dilligently work hard and wonder if their jobs will be eliminated because of a shortfall of money. I do agree with one poster that its difficult to watch a 26 percent turnout.

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Alan Kirchoff 3 years, 8 months ago

My family and I are moving to Tonganoxie this summer. We would have voted YES for this bond issue. We like the small town atmosphere. We lived in Louisburg a few years ago then moved away from the area now we're coming back to the KC area. My new job is not convenient to move back to Louisburg. We looked at Bonner Springs but couldn't find anything we liked there. Basehor didn't feel like "home" for us. Then my wife found a location in Tonganoxie and we really like it. We knew about the bond issue coming up so we thought, "surely it will pass". We are disappointed it didn't pass but are confident it will the next time. My wife and I are very educated, both of us have multiple degrees, and her a former teacher, so we've considered home-schooling. Even if we home-school we would still vote in favor of this bond issue.

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getagrip 3 years, 8 months ago

I am sad to read that many voted NO because previous bond money was not spent wisely or parking lots weren't fixed right the first time. I agree with ONLY1 in the fact that we have all new administrators. You can't blame them for everything the previous administration did. If you divorced your spouse and married someone else, would you blame them for the things your ex did to crumble the previous marriage? Let's all learn from this, move on and suck it up when it costs us twice as much in the future to do what we wanted to do today.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

Some good comments, but the reality is that Tonganoxie is still way behind other towns it's size. I may offend some, but that's not my intent. I honestly don't think some of the "lifers" in the community have the insight to other comparable communities across the state as some of the transplants do. I can't just up and move, but probably would if it were that easy. Not because I don't like the people, I just have different priorities I guess. I want to be in a more progressive community, especially in the area of education.

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Jason Bailey 3 years, 8 months ago

Where Hricane23? It's not a part without him.

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KStater 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm with only1 and getagrip. it's a shame that the past administrators/board members have really upset many voters so much so that they voted no because what was supposed to be done in the past didn't get completed. Hopefully a new bond is voted on that people will like.

I am also saddened by the 26%. I vote in every election and I think the more people who turn out the more voices can be heard.

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hricane23 3 years, 8 months ago

Ironically, Jason, I was writing a message that began "Since I've been so vocal on my support, I thought I'd better put in my 2 cents, before any of my challengers start thinking I've gone into hiding." I was too late, it seems!

So, without further ado, here are my aforementioned 2 cents...

For anyone that claims to have understood the needs, and still voted "No" for whatever reason, I fear you are now part of the problem. The fact remains that the overcrowding issues persist, and I feel we've missed a big opportunity. From the State providing less funds in the future, to higher interest rate costs, to higher construction costs, you should expect to pay more for less when this is addressed again.

While this could be an opportunity to bring the community together to find solutions, the viewpoints by many lead me to believe that there will be no agreement. The reason this didn't pass isn't because of parking or the high school improvements, it's because too many people are too concerned with only themselves. The arguments of "no more taxes", or this being a Conservative vs Liberal thing, or "the past Administration screwed up the last one", will not go away. So, if you're waiting for a solution that meets 100% of your needs to come around, fuhgeddaboudit. There's too many that are unwilling to find solutions instead of problems.

And Jason, thank you for thinking of me, and thank you for the Col. Hannibal Smith quote.

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getagrip 3 years, 8 months ago

So when does the planning begin for the next bond election? I think we should start now while all the fresh ideas are still on the plate. I'll come. Will you?

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Jason Bailey 3 years, 8 months ago

@Hricane23: Always...Now, when are we going to hang out together? :)

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hricane23 3 years, 8 months ago

Jason! Shhhh... Quiet! My "Vote Yes" buddies may hear you!

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

This bond issue failed because of the timing. Poor planning, lack of coordination, and events from the past had little to do with the defeat. The school district leadership should have been more in touch with the times for those or us who are in the private sector. We cannot allow government entities to continue coming back to the trough for more money when it is not economically feasible. Additionally, there was a failure to build support among the community. The last bond issue had a much broader base of support, the message, now is not the time and we are going to have to do more with less! Probably about a five year wait would be appropriate for additional votes like this.

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Padfield 3 years, 8 months ago

If there is a five year wait on another attempt it will never pass. All of the yes voters will have moved to a town that cares about their schools.

Although, I guess that is one answer to the overcrowding issue. Just wait until people start moving out of Tonganoxie and take those pesky kids with them, problem solved! And, then we wouldn't really have to build any new facilities, we could just buy up a block of vacant businesses downtown to boot! Plus our property taxes will be so much lower when the values drop out from under us when the banks start selling all their foreclosures for pennies on the dollar.

No, the turn around time on the next bond issue should be next year, and if needed, the year after that, and the one after that one, until Tonganoxie's elementary building is no longer a detriment to our town.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

"Probably about a five year wait would be appropriate for additional votes like this"? Yep, when the cost will rise by 50% without state aid, cost of supplies, wages, etc... Makes perfect sense. Meanwhile, the kids can wait. Some people buy this talk. I don't.

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getagrip 3 years, 8 months ago

Okay, i'll play along. Wait five years. Sometime during the third year the elementary school because so worn that the roof falls in on the kindergarten wing. Out of the 120 students housed in that area 45 are dead, 25 critically injured, and multiple others have less severe injuries. What are you kansasjayhawk going to say to the parents of those dead children. "Sorry, your child wasn't worth $10 a month out of my pocket". Or worse, what if the child were yours?

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

This is the kind of utter non-sense that will not sell any bond issue at all. Remember we can all learn to do more with less. When the breadwinner of a family is out of work you stop going on big vacations and you wait until the timing is more appropriate. We can make our current facilities work perfectly fine and "safe" without massive job and economy killing tax hikes required by this bond issue in the midst of the largest recession in over 70 years. When the economy recovers we can talk about the plan. When two out of ten of our fellow citizens are out of work it is not time to be building new office spaces for administrators and not solving our traffic issues. The message is downsize the plan, make more space with what facilities we currently have, and DO MORE WITH LESS.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

We hear the message, but I'm not accepting it. It will be on the ballot again and you will be griping when the economy recovers too. The bond issue will be double in cost because there will be no state aide and the construction, materials will be higher. The no voters don't seem to realize the "deal" they just squandered. "Do more with less". We already are and have been, but hey, can't wait 'til we vote again and the bond issue is 40 million. Makes more sense to me to find $10-$12 more a month now, then $16-$18 dollars a month in a couple of years. Let's get real, we can all find $10 dollars now. I am not wealthy and I struggle from month to month, but I value the environment my kids spend their days in. That's worth $10, heck even $20 a month to me. I'll find a way to make it work. Sad that many of us will pay $5 for a pack of cigarettes or $5 for a six pack of beer, but complain about the economy for education. I've been told that's none of my business, but it is my business when I hear people griping about the economy and I see those same people doing the above. Their business, but don't give me this garbage about the economy then. That's all I ask. It's hypocritical.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

The groundwork was laid for two years for the 2004 bond issue. There was outreach to all segments of the community including older people on fixed incomes and the conservative community. One of the school board members stated that this time they did not decide to go that route! They hired and education consultant out of Omaha and went with a "political" type campaign. Big mailings, lots of yard signs, but failure to address the real issues involved. Until we all work together on these issues there will be NO bond issue passing. The problem was the way this effort was made and the arrogant approach to forcing an issue on the people. There are less costly methods of construction and use of current facilities that were not even considered by the district. This bond issue was too expensive and if you think another will pass with this same approach you are only deluding yourself. Lets do more with less and focus on the need we have for increased capacity as the need presents itself.

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

"Focus on the need we have for increased capacity as the need presents itself?" Am I reading this correctly? It has presented itself already and have you ever heard of vision? You can't be reactionary in education. This is what the community of Tonganoxie doesn't get. You have to be proactive when times are tough, not reactive. Education is one of the only businesses that allows people who aren't trained in the field, make the decisions and it's killing this town because the majority of this town doesn't think for the future or for what's best for students. We're stuck in the "now". People want to have conspiracy theories, not find solutions. We had state aide available to help and had a plan that would instill some pride into our students, teachers, parents, and community which is sorely needed in this town, but we blew it. "Work together"? What is your suggestion? Do you want them to go door to door and ask for your input? Everybody seems to have a different idea, so who is supposed to be listened to? I talked to a couple of gentlemen from another community at an athletic event the other day, and they are simply amazed that Tonganoxie didn't passed the bond issue. Their community has it figured out and they even made the comment that, "You guys better get something done or you will be the doormats of this league". I know it's not about athletics, but it will have that effect in other areas as well. You can't keep cramming kids into spaces, cutting programs, saying "do more with less" and expect good results. Our teachers and kids have been meeting AYP and doing their part. Times are tough, nobody is denying that, but do you realize that coming up with another plan that is 10 million dollars cheaper isn't really going to have that big of an effect on your monthly taxes and it won't meet the needs. So, come up with a "cheaper" plan, knock $3 off of what would have been on your monthly taxes and not meet the needs of the district. That doesn't sound too intelligent to me, but that would satisfy a bunch of voters who just want to prove a point! Nice. No wonder the guys from Basehor were laughing at us.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Unless we can work together...there will be no solution...a downsized plan or no plan?

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only1 3 years, 8 months ago

I won't go for either. I think it can be passed. The arrogance of the "no" voters will drive some of us to work that much harder.

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getagrip 3 years, 8 months ago

The vote has taken place and the system as it stands is that the bond did not pass. Everyone must accept this and as the no votes have stated in these forums the school district must live with the budget cuts handed down by the State and will have have to learn to live on less. So, with that being said, as the school district begins to make cuts to services for students, jobs, etc. REMEMBER nay-sayers "the schools must learn to make use of what they have". Don't want to see any of you in future forums complaining of the cuts the school district has had to make. When you go to enroll your kids don't be rude to the district employees that are working there because you don't like the cuts they have to enforce. They are having to go by what you the voters decided...."to make do with what they have" after all they are just the messenger, you decided.

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