I am 68, and Iíve been on disability since 1991. I know what it is like to live on half of a salary. Iím not the sharpest tack in the box, my elevator might not go to the first floor, and my cheese might be sliding off my hamburger, but here it goes.
I too went to all three public information meetings about the proposed bond election for the West Franklin school district. The meetings at Appanoose and Pomona went quite well. The one at Williamsburg was a different story. It was very embarrassing to me. When a question was asked of the board, Dotson Bradbury, the school superintendent, started to answer, but was told to sit down and shut up. We have men and women fighting today for people to have that very right of freedom of speech.
Williamsburg residents asked questions at the other locations without any problems. Nobody likes a bully. We even fight it in our schools nationwide.
The school district conducted a survey of the meetingsí attendees at each location and left room for comments. There were about 128 comments from íBurg, 40 percent of which included comments like these:
ē Repairs are cheaper than building a new school.
ē Repair the school at Williamsburg.
ē This is not about the kids. We canít afford a bond issue at this time. (In other words, the time isnít right. Just do the necessary repairs. If itís not broken, why fix it?)
Such comments are not constructive either way. A lot of the comments didnít have the welfare of our kids in mind.
Williamsburg is like every other small town in Kansas ó it isnít what it use to be. I-35 destroyed Williamsburg back in 1964. Pomona had nothing to do with it. Building a new school has nothing to do with the town of Williamsburg. Itís for our kids.
Lets look at íBurg: bad streets, no business, no infrastructure. And the school is still there. Williamsburg residents always think of themselves only. The bond is not about Williamsburg, Pomona or Appanoose. Itís about what is best for our kids.
What we need in the West Franklin school district is for the parents who are in their 30s and 40s to step up and think about their children. The bond is for your children.
Like many people at last weekís meetings, I wonít be around in 30 years. Hopefully, I will keep my property up and in good shape, so some young family with children would want to buy it.
We put a big Band-Aid on our district 20 years ago. And, as we know, Band-Aids donít stick very long. Putting another one on just prolongs the inevitable. If we build a single campus now, we would save 25 percent. Later on, if we build it without the 25-percent savings, our mill levy will be even higher. Think down the road.
It has been said that students would leave if we build a new school. At Pomonaís meeting, one lady said her family and two other families would come to West Franklin only if we build. How many more would come?
As I said before, Iím 68. Like everyone else, I donít want higher taxes, but sometimes we have to sacrifice. We all take vacations ó some more than once a year. Some people even have had their pictures in the paper going fishing, which is great. We, as a people, do whatever we want to do. We find the money to do it.
Please call a West Franklin school board member or the school district office and ask questions if you have them. Only a small percent of our districtís patrons went to this weekís meetings. Get the facts for yourself.
Please vote ďyesĒ in the bond election for the future of our children.
ó Richard Ecord,