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City traffic engineers find new school would overload intersections past acceptable levels

The school district hired a firm that specialized in traffic studies. This firm had no alliance with the district and no hidden agenda. I feel the firm is reporting the traffic study from an objective point of view.

From my knowledge, the city engineer, while very qualified, does not specialize in traffic studies. He also works for the city. So what he reported in an opinion based on what he knows.

The city had every opportunity to hire their own firm to do a traffic study, but they refused, so the school district had to go out and hire a firm on their own.

By the way, if you had listened to the engineer giving the traffic study report, he said that no matter how great the roads were designed, there is no school anywhere with a grade of A. He said that ALL schools everywhere experience a period of 15 to 20 minutes at the beginning of the school day and at pick up time of high volume traffic that make their grade go lower. That's just the way it is.

I have been impressed that the school district has done so much research and planning into this to make it better. Will it ever be perfect? No. Will it be improved? Yes.

The school can only make recommendations on what they think should be done to city and county streets to improve the traffic based on the traffic studies. Where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, is when the city and county, who are ultimately reponsible for the roads, make the necessary road improvements that meet the needs of a growing community.

April 1, 2011 at 10:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Traffic study finds new streets not needed for intermediate school

JerryB, you say there has been no real evidence that fiscal or educational reform has occurred since the last bond issue? Have you been paying attention?

Since that time, there has been complete turnover in the administration, building and district level. Due to the cuts by KSDE, Tonganoxie has had to cut millions of dollars out of their budget, while doing their best to keep those cuts out of the classroom and directly affecting kids. While making these huge financial cuts, they have managed to increase test scores each year!

Speaking of financial issues, the new administration is very transparent, communicating very openly about all finances- something the old administration appeared to hide or had no communication about. Starting in a financial "hole" the new administration has had to "do more with less", yet has brought the district out of the hole AND kept up with the state education funding crisis!

Education reform, as you speak of it, is an undertaking that cannot be accomplished by one district and must take place at a national AND state level. Tonganoxie is doing its best to meet the educational needs of all of its students.

Back to the issue of overcrowding, I'm with Old Vet: still waiting for a reply that is informed and provides a solution to the overcrowding issue. Stop trying to make this about someone's personal soapbox issue.

I'm voting YES because the community committee (yes, I said the community) came up with the best solution to the overcrowding issue, presented it to the board of education, and now it's up for a vote. Those who don't like the plan had every opportunity to be on that community committee (it was advertised in the Mirror for every meeting). If you don't like this plan, vote no, be on the planning committee for the next time, and pay more because costs WILL go up! The time is now. I'm voting YES!

March 18, 2011 at 11:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

JeepTJ- The bond issue will address those traffic issues at TMS.

March 16, 2011 at 1:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

Here are some facts to respond to the posts by 12345 and jason2007:

1. The state money (funding a minimum of 25% of the bond cost) will not dry up. This money is provided as part of the passing of the bond and is guaranteed if the bond is passed prior to July 1. After July 1, the state legislature has current bills that will significantly reduce the state aid on bonds.

2. The state money providing $1.125 million each year for 2 years is provided to schools who open new buildings to assist with the costs of equipment, supplies, and wages for new staff. This allows the district to "grow into" the new building, and after that 2 years, the enrollment growth then begins to cover that amount when it's gone after 2 years.

3. The new staff for the new building will only be a few additional personnel (cooks, custodians, secretary) and will be added as needed as enrollment continues to grow (and it will). To begin, the district will reshuffle current staff and not add too many new staff to begin with. More will be added as enrollment grows.

4. When hiring construction for the new building, districts can write their bid specs according to their needs/wants, so the state does not dictate union vs nonunion and locals companies certainly CAN be hired if they meet the bid specs!

5. The current elementary will NOT be abandoned. It will be used to house PreKindergarten through 1st grade. The new intermediate elementary will house 2nd through 5th grade.

6. This bond issue has nothing to do with the current education system in the country. Tonganoxie has outstanding teachers. I have children in each building, and I have never come across a teacher who is apathetic. Accountability is measured through state assessments, and all aspects of public education are overseen by the state department of education. The statements about teachers by jason2007 have nothing to do with the bond issue. If you have a problem with the current education system in the country, do something about it. Run for the local school board or better yet, the state school board so you can be a part of the process and make the changes you think need to be made.

March 14, 2011 at 11:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

Totally agree with Old_Vet and hricane23! I, too, have witnessed the rude and nastiness from some people! Too bad everyone can't take the "feelings" out of it and just look at the facts! Being passionate is great, but being rude and nasty is not!

March 11, 2011 at 2:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Safety, security issues addressed in bond issue

Here is the review for "Waiting for Superman"

Grading 'Waiting for Superman'
Dana Goldstein | September 23, 2010

"Here's what you see in Waiting for Superman, the new documentary that celebrates the charter school movement while blaming teachers unions for much of what ails American education: working- and middle-class parents desperate to get their charming, healthy, well-behaved children into successful public charter schools.

Here's what you don't see: the four out of five charters that are no better, on average, than traditional neighborhood public schools (and are sometimes much worse); charter school teachers, like those at the Green Dot schools in Los Angeles, who are unionized and like it that way; and noncharter neighborhood public schools, like PS 83 in East Harlem and the George Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama, that are nationally recognized for successfully educating poor children.

You don't see teen moms, households without an adult English speaker or headed by a drug addict, or any of the millions of children who never have a chance to enter a charter school lottery (or get help with their homework or a nice breakfast) because adults simply aren't engaged in their education. These children, of course, are often the ones who are most difficult to educate, and the ones neighborhood public schools can't turn away.

You also don't learn that in the Finnish education system, much cited in the film as the best in the world, teachers are—gasp!—unionized and granted tenure, and families benefit from a cradle-to-grave social welfare system that includes universal daycare, preschool and healthcare, all of which are proven to help children achieve better results at school."

March 10, 2011 at 11:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supporters say growth necessitates bond issue

Once again, growth over the past decade is over 25%. The new middle school helped at the time, but due to growth, it is now crowded. We ARE experiencing growth in Tonganoxie and will continue to experience growth. Top notch communities provide quality educational facilities that keep up with growth. The school district has outstanding educators, and my kids have had wonderful experiences with quality teachers. However, those teachers will retire, move on, etc. and it is important to be able to attract new, quality teachers. This is not about spending your way into wealth. Whoever said schools were wealthy? It's about meeting a NEED, not a want.

March 2, 2011 at 9:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supporters say growth necessitates bond issue

Relationship to FDR:
The Great Depression had important consequences in the political sphere. In the United States, economic distress led to the election of the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt to the presidency in late 1932. Roosevelt introduced a number of major changes in the structure of the American economy, using increased government regulation and massive public-works projects to promote a recovery.

I would like to stick with the facts.
The NEED
1. District enrollment has increased over 500 students in the past decade (25%).
2. Average grade level sizes have increased nearly 40 student in the past decade.
3. In the elementary school, 690 students are fitting into a building designed to hold 500.
4. PE and student remediation classes are held in the hallways due to lack of space.
5. Trailers, the Quonset hut, and lack of parking/pick up/drop off space are all safety concerns.
6. The middle school is already at capacity with all classrooms being used, and the class moving up to 5th grade next year is huge.
7. The high school has students crossing a busy parking lot to change classes several times a day in all weather conditions, and has no secure entrance, which are huge safety issues.
8. The high school also has outdated science labs, library media, no room for vocal music, and currently attend business classes in an old church.

Why now is a good time:
1. Passing the bond will bring jobs in construction and education to the community.
2. Construction and labor costs are low.
3. 25% of the bond will be paid by the state of Kansas (may go away after July 1).
4. $2.25 million in new facilities aid will be paid to the district over the first 2 years the new building is open (may go away after July 1).

All of these facts can be found at www.tong464.org.

I am voting YES because the strength and quality of our community is directly related to the quality of our schools.

March 1, 2011 at 1:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supporters say growth necessitates bond issue

I think we're overlooking the NEED for the bond issue. The growth of over 25% over the past decade necessitates the expansion. In addition, the 24-40 corridor/Kansas Speedway/Legends area is experiencing huge growth, with over 5,000 jobs coming in the next couple years. Many of those families will be moving to Tonganoxie. Where will we put those children when they get here? The schools are already crowded and way over capacity, so there is no room for this new growth. The expansion is needed NOW AND for the future growth that IS coming.

I like to think of this as a growing family. A husband, wife, and 2 kids fit nicely into their two bedroom home and were comfortably paying off the mortgage. Low and behold, the wife is now expecting triplets, and the family no longer fits into the house. Do they just continue to live there until they pay off the mortgage (in 30 years) before doing anything about the overcrowding their growing family is experiencing? No. They either sell & buy bigger or take out a second mortgage to build a house that the family fits into. Common sense.

Still voting YES!

March 1, 2011 at 11:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supporters say growth necessitates bond issue

I, too, am a self-proclaimed penny pincher, but I really don't consider myself old.

The big difference here is that the bond issue is truly a NEED, not a want. It will provide much needed space to alleviate over-crowding, as well as safety. Waiting will only add to the cost, making the bond much more expensive. Construction costs will go up. State aid may be taken away, adding another $7 to $9 million. The responsible thing to do is to pass the bond issue NOW when the cost is low, rather than to wait until it is much more expensive.

I have kids in each building, elementary through high school, and they, too are doing fine because they come from pretty stout stock and because I am an involved parent who won't let my kids fail. However, it is not fair to crowd children into classrooms, have class in the hallway, and have them attend class in trailers and huts when we can provide adequate space for our children.

I keep hearing people say times are hard. When times were hard in the past, did FDR sit back and do nothing, waiting for a better time? No, he lead the country to build and expand, and the country was the better for it!

I'm voting YES!

February 28, 2011 at 12:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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