Comment history

ELECTION CENTRAL: USD 464 bond issue fails by about 100 shy of 2-to-1 margin

My vote was N O T about an increase in my yearly property taxes. I give more than that amount every year to support our students/district without a tax authority requiring me to do it. No one needs to explain their vote – period. A few 'yes' people are only baiting those 'no' voters who have other reasons besides taxes so they can belittle them with negative commentary. I’m only mentioning it wasn’t about taxes for me because I’m so tired of the rant that it was just about the taxes. Every single person I know who voted no – it had nothing to do with taxes.

April 8, 2011 at 11:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

ELECTION CENTRAL: USD 464 bond issue fails by about 100 shy of 2-to-1 margin

Think back to 2004 - a smaller community and a slightly smaller school system by 282 students (according to the 2004-2005 and 2010-2011 stats on the district website)…yet the patrons responded to the need of our students by passing a $25.3 million bond by a vote of 2,319 to 1,613 to add a new building and upgrades. Those numbers are interesting when you compare them to the 2011 bond voting results. We had 26.87% voter involvement – where are all these parents of the children at the elementary school? There were over 4800 patrons who didn’t vote…that is a key driving force behind why this bond didn’t pass. Why didn't they vote? If they were concerned about higher taxes - they would have gotten out to vote 'no'.

Instead of spending energy bullying the ‘no’ voters about how uneducated we are, how we lack vision, how we're uninformed, how we're…well, you get the point …spend that energy wondering what you could have done differently to get more than 670 people to vote yes! We are a larger community – more young families have moved in since 2004…families who moved here knowing the situation at TES (the hut and mobiles aren’t new) yet there were O N L Y 670 yes votes. Clearly, not even all the parents at the elementary school and employees in the district could get behind it…people who directly benefit from it passing!

April 6, 2011 at 9:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Down to a science

Congratulations - what a great accomplishment! You define excellence and are wonderful role models for the younger students in our district!

High five to Mrs. Waldeier as well :)

April 6, 2011 at 1:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

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.

April 6, 2011 at 1:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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

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).

April 6, 2011 at 1:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

I just used your quote – nothing personal. It’s been said several times in similar terms. I just think that it needed to be addressed.

My comment was given with the undertone of we, as fellow district patrons, need to realize that what seems nominal to one might not be to another. Period. I’m not a ‘sensitive feeling’ type of person and excuses make my blood boil. I am, however, someone who understands what it’s like to have struggled to make ends meet. The cold hard facts are that some people who would otherwise support this issue, might not vote for it because of the burden on their personal budgets…and I’m not talking about making house payments, for many of these families it’s could be about putting a quality balanced meal on the table, paying for a full tank of gas, a prescription or deciding about whether to buy their kid new shoes or pay for them to play a sport. Who knows because I’m certain that those who can’t afford the extra $10-$15 a month haven’t voiced their concern for numerous reasons – perhaps they don’t have the internet at home (budget cuts at home or maybe they don’t read these online conversations), perhaps they won’t verbalize their concern in public due to the reaction from their ‘neighbors’. It’s all feasible.

All that said, I don’t base my voting decisions on what my neighbors can or can not afford. Whether funding a school bond, library or city services. I do what best for my family first, my community second…sometimes they are one in the same, sometimes not.

P.S. I thought I had mentioned the meeting Wednesday, but apparently in all my copying and pasting it was lost (darn post length restrictions!). I do like the idea of themed shirts...hmmmm.

March 14, 2011 at 9:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

As one scrolls thru the commentary on this bond issue (not this article specifically, but overall) – it’s apparent that there is a lot of passion on both sides. As patrons, and as parents, we need to show respect to one another. There can be open conversation, opinions shared and facts clarified without all the…well, without all the sand throwing and sucker punching on the playground. Would we speak to one another in such a manner if our children were present?

March 14, 2011 at 8:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

For me, there are other issues that need to be addressed. What about out of district students sitting in our class rooms and utilizing our facilities. Yes, we get state aid ‘per pupil’, but they are also taking up space and that is what we as taxpayers are funding in a new building. How many out of district students do we have? Why are we not charging these children additional enrollment fees? The issue of additional staff and daily cost of running a new building needs to be addressed. Yes, state aid will help pay for that in the first few years. However, the state giveth, the state can easily taketh away...we are at the mercy of the legistalure and then there is whether the state has the ability to pay. If this happens, taxpayers will be held responsible for the difference. There are other costs…yes, staff (and it’s more than a secretary, custodian and kitchen staff…think administrator, nurse (are we going to have 2 nurses for 4 schools that are spread all over town?), utilities, etc. What are we going to do about class sizes? Yes, expanded facilities are needed and the natural light, a secure campus, new larger building will help with the space issue in regard to square footage per student…but what about class sizes? Decreasing class sizes means adding teachers….ahhhh, yes, that’s another money issue/source…but yet related nonetheless.

Although I do agree that it is a nominal monthly amount to many patrons, we absolutely must recognize that there are in fact patrons who $10-$15 a month (this is just for the school bond) matters. I consider the comment insensitive that “ if $X/month is the difference between a family making it or falling part, well, the sad truth is that it’s just a matter of time” disrespectful to the patrons who work hard and are doing everything possible to move forward in the face of difficult circumstances. People have lost jobs, taken pay cuts (or no or minimal raises for several years) and reworked their budgets just to keep their families afloat. What was once a budget with room to adjust has since become stifled by “needs only” budgeting. Yes, there are some who live on the financial edge all their life, but clearly those aren’t the families I’m referencing. Patrons and parents are constantly solicited for funds and not just the taxpayer kind…fundraisers, school events, etc. When household incomes take a hit and other cost of living continue to rise (gas, medical, insurance, enrollment/busing fees, taxes, etc) …it begins to put a strain on a budget and $10-$15 here and there adds up quickly. Plus, as a taxpayer the future additional cost per month for road improvements that will most certainly have to come if we are going to approve a new school near that cluster of a middle school is something to consider as well. The circumstances for these families will hopefully improve, but there have been several comments about the monthly amount to each taxpayer and some are fairly flippant.

March 14, 2011 at 8:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

Our household is currently undecided on which way we'll vote in regard to the bond issue. I am not against it, but I'm not feeling urge to rally around it either.

A little about me so I am not wrongfully placed into a category I don't belong in regard to classifying people who are for or against the bond. I am a patron of the district, under 40 college educated woman, not ‘from’ here but moved here within the last few years and am proud to call Tongie home, do not work for the district (though we have discussed the bond issue with friends who are), have volunteered and am involved, my home value is more than double that of the median home value of $93,700 (city website) and although I am on the fence about this particular bond issue - I voted for the bond that built the current middle school. Do I feel like we didn't get what we voted for in 2004 - in some aspects, yes. Am I going to hold that against what is on the table now, of course not. I do find it frustrating that part of the original plan was to build TMS so that when more space was needed we would add on another wing to house the 4th grade thus avoiding the massive cost of a new facility. My point being, it was suppose to be a building that could grow with our needs, but here we are having the issue of another bond for an entirely new building. Had I known that just a few short years after opening TMS and making the previously improvements the district would again be asking for another new building I would have voted no and pushed for a more comprehensive long term plan…but I digress.

I want what is best for the students in our district but just because someone votes no this time doesn't mean they don't (a vote against the bond is NOT a vote against our children) or that they wouldn't vote yes at another time. Note: Basehor passed their 2007 bond issue by a margin of 29 votes (let's not split hairs if that's not correct). I believe it was their third attempt at a bond issue in just a few years.

March 14, 2011 at 8:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )