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In An Age Of Universal Deceit, Telling The Truth Is A Revolutionary Act.......George Orwell

Friday, August 4, 2017

No Bond For USD 380 Vermillion

USD 380 Vermillion, which includes two public schools in Northeast Kansas, Frankfort and Centralia, attempted to get voters to vote for a 8.5 million dollar bond for them, this past Monday, August 1. Overwhelmingly, the people voted no; 698 to 263. That included about three fourths of registered voters in both towns. The school board is disappointed and the superintendent thinks that folks do not care about the schools, according to the Marysville Advocate. This is a little unfair; if the school board actually listened to constituents and analyzed data, perhaps such gross comments would not make their way into the newspaper.

The reasons given by the school board for desiring 8.5 million dollars were updates to the buildings, and a new gym at the Centralia locaction. USD 380 straddles three counties, Marshall, Nemaha, and Pottawatomie. Centralia is in Nemaha County. Should those who live in the other two counties see their mill levies and their property taxes increase for a gymnasium that their children will never get to use? Why is a school district with declining enrollment straddling three different counties in the first place?

The other reason given for such a large amount involved security measures. Frankfort and Centralia want keypad locks on their doors, rather than the traditional locks and keys. Not only is this an expensive initial option for a tiny school, it requires upkeep that the school district would not be able to fund, even with the bond. Every time a building with such a lock changes its schedule and itinerary, a technician must visit the building to change the pass-code information. This is at least two hundred dollars per visit, and both schools host sporting events and parent teacher conferences, which would necessitate many visits from a technician. In the case of USD 380, old fashioned locks and keys will still work as desired, if the building is actually locked when not occupied. Another item desired is a metal detector. The problem had by USD 380 concerning guns is mostly in Frankfort, and that involves a failure on the part of school administration to sanction those who bully and bring weapons into the building. If the proper reports are made to the FBI each time a child takes a weapon, drugs, or alcohol to school, even if it is the child or grandchild of someone who donates a lot of money via the booster club; and the child in question is sanctioned according to federal law, these problems will abate. Frankfort has not attempted to follow the law, and expects a metal detector to cover up that problem. Finally, both schools want cameras at all entrances, which is reasonable. Cameras for two tiny schools will not cost 8.5 million dollars. A word of caution, however; Frankfort has consistently rejected the use of a sign-in sheet in the office for adult visitors to the school. The staff does not wish to monitor those who enter and exit the building. A camera will do no more good than an unused sign-in sheet if the principal is truly unconcerned about what goes on inside the school. Also, as long as teachers are not held accountable when they "lose" students off of school property during the school day, key pads, metal detectors, and cameras will not accomplish anything. Tom Schroeder and Dean Dalinghaus, I'm looking at you, here!

The populations of Frankfort and USD 380 have been on the decline since 1910. At present, the population of Centralia is about 500 people and the population of Frankfort is about 690. That is fewer people, altogether, than attended your faithful blogger's alma mater at the time of her graduation. Why should taxpayers fund an 8.5 million dollar bond for schools that will probably shut down and consolidate with other, more viable schools, within the next ten years? The bond would take twenty-five years to pay off.

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