Letters to the editor


October 15, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Dear editor,
A vote no on the proposed school bond issue is not a vote against our children. It is not a vote against education. It is not a vote against progress.
A vote no on the proposed school bond issue is a vote for our children. We believe that children thrive in a small school setting. The National Association of Elementary School Principals has found that elementary school children thrive in a school setting of no more than 400 students. (http:www.naesp.org). This size of school fosters a nurturing environment for children to learn. It lends a feeling of safety and closeness to the child. The proposed elemen-tary school capacity is more than double this amount.
We vote no because we believe that there are neighborhood schools. I know that 13 percent is the national average for children who walk to school. Iola’s average is 50 percent higher than the national average and we are working on getting those numbers even higher. We know that children who walk to school are apt to be healthier and more confident and more attentive in class. We believe that the health and emotional benefits that walking and biking to school give children make our schools worth saving.
We vote no because we believe that the teacher is the most important asset for influencing your minds, but the buildings. We believe that a quality education begins with quality teachers and innovative ways of teaching and thinking. We believe that children are capable of achieving great skills and learning inside of schools that are decades old, and have been doing so for years right here in our town. We believe that the most important interaction for our children and their education comes from their educators and not the structures. We do believe that there are repairs that need to be completed to our existing schools. We believe that those costs will be far less than currently budgeted by the Board of Education, once actual contractors walk through these buildings and can see what repairs are actually necessary.
We vote no because we care about our elderly population. The men and women of our community, who have worked, lived, raised families and have now retired right here in Iola. We believe that we need to do the best we can for this 22 percent of our population and abate their financial burden, not increase it.
We vote no because we believe in the small businesses in Iola. We are voting in favor of keeping the traffic inside our square. We know that location is crucial to the strength of these businesses. We want to see Iola grow and our present family-owned businesses thrive. We also want to encourage others to take the leap into small business. We believe that building a new school on the outskirts of town will have devastating effects on our downtown businesses. Our forefathers were correct in their methods of building a town. Industry should be on the outskirts; homes, schools, local businesses and the town square providing the core of the community. The heart of our community resides in our schools and in our local businesses. By moving the elementary schools and the high school to the proposed site we would leave a hole where the heart of our town resides, a hole that no park, nor a bus shelter, building trades home or even assisted living quarters can fill.
We vote no because we believe in the importance of fine arts in the education of a child. We know that including them in school curriculum is an essential part of achieving success in school, work and life. We know that moving fine arts out of the Bowlus goes against the will of Thomas Bowlus, and is detrimental to the long-term success of our children.
We vote no because we believe in the 18 percent of our population who live in poverty. We believe that they deserve the chance to overcome their economic challenges. We believe a vote no will keep housing costs where they are. We believe that raising the property tax on industry might be the incentive that two of our biggest employers in Iola need to pull out of Iola. We know that two of our largest industries have been sold to companies that have no ties with Iola or even the United States. Although we cannot predict what these companies will do despite the outcome of the bond issue, we believe that voting no is the best option for keeping industry here.
We vote no because we believe that new industry is not brought to a community solely because of new schools. We believe that new industry will not be attracted to our community because of new school buildings. We know that industry is brought to communities who show an outstanding quality of education, who value the history of their town and whose people use innovative thinking to keep their schools alive and thriving.
We vote no because we believe we can do better than the proposed school bond issue. I believe that nothing is impossible. We know that the bond money is in no danger of disappearing within the next two voting periods, before legislators would ever meet again to vote on pulling the 51 percent bond. We believe that the bond money is in no danger of disappearing. This is not our “last, best chance.”
We vote no because we believe there is a solution to our schools that is not accompanied by a $50 million price tag and an increase in sales tax. We know that there is a solution that will look after the needs of all of the citizens in District 257. We believe there is a solution that will keep our schools where they are, that will allow our senior population to breath easy, that will give the downtown a chance to revitalize and thrive once again, that will help those who live in poverty see a way out and that will allow the children in our community to keep their neighborhood schools and receive the best education that they deserve.
On Nov. 4, please vote No on the school bond issue and the city sales tax and help us do better.
Tracy Call-Keagle,
Iola, Kan.

Dear editor,
First, I do not believe Iola needs new schools. The yellow signs with dark lettering say it well: “Fix Our Schools — DO NOT Destroy Them — Vote NO in Nov.”
This is something we the voters get to decide. The fact that the State of Kansas will fund 51 percent is our tax money being given back. Will the state eventually tax to rebuild this giveaway fund? The state does not print or make money. They tax. Why don’t we consider and promote repairing the city’s aging water mains, etc. and get a grocery store for Iola?
As in the past, we are continually told the janitorial/maintenance personal in the public facilities are instructed to not fix and repair said buildings. The board, council or committee will make all the necessary arguments for a new facility. This mentality must stop. If your car needs an oil and filter change, brake shoes replaced or a broken belt replaced, do you go out and buy a new car? Do home owners buy a new home when the furnace goes out, windows need repaired or you need to repair the roof? NO, most citizens try to keep their property repaired as needed. Every year those in charge of our public buildings should determine what is the most urgent needed repair, fix or up grade and work towards the determined goal.
Iola’s population is declining. Therefore, the tax base continues to get smaller. There is a large retired population on fixed incomes. Some of those have to decide if they can buy groceries or their medications. Young families who always struggle to make ends meet. There are those who rely on Federal and/or State assistance and those who rent (not paying property tax). All the above will feel the increases in expenses. Even those who rent may be subject to higher rent due to the landlord’s increase in property taxes. Property taxes are not the only thing that increases. We keep hearing this or that utility needs to increase. A week ago, a store associate said that most all groceries had taken a x-percent increase. Not all grocery increases are price increases; some are a reduction in size. Example: less ounces for same price and shorter length (same diameter) of Charmin’s Mega roll of toilet tissue — same price.
Iola has many small businesses who are already struggling with the poor economy. If more taxes are required there is a very real possibility that some of these may have to close.
The bottom line is can you as citizen/taxpayer take on more taxes and expenses? Each taxpayer must decide for themselves how to vote.
Judy Snavely,
Iola, Kan.

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