July 24, 2014

School district to consider 2012 bond issue

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com

If school officials are successful in purchasing land at Waverly Pointe, they won’t have the means to build more practice fields and a parking lot near the high school until they pass a bond issue.

According to Gardner Edgerton School District Superintendent, the district can afford to purchase the land right now, but not to improve it.

“We do not have to have the proceeds from a bond to acquire the land, but we do need to proceeds from the bond in order to develop it,” he said.

Specifically, school officials will survey more than 21 acres in the Waverly Pointe subdivision adjacent to the high school with the intent to purchase the land. In the meantime, the school board is prepping to put a bond issue before voters in February 2012.

In addition to building practice fields and a parking lot at the high school, the 2012 bond issue will also ask voters to fund another elementary school and a middle school.

Right now, Gilhaus said, board members need to identify more land for those new buildings before they put a bond issue before voters.

“That’s what needs to be accomplished over the course of the next 14 months,” he said.

The new schools would accommodate Gardner’s growing population, while upgrades to the District Athletic Complex at the high school would be to accommodate growing athletic programs and parking needs.

“I think it probably became more of a priority when we considered that we were having upwards of 7,000 people attending our football games and there was such limited parking,” he said.

During the previous football season, Gilhaus said fans were parking in fields and across the street. The stadium and its amenities were meant to support 3,200 fans.

Although the high school is currently home to one of the premier athletes in football and baseball, Bubba Starling, Gilhaus said he doesn’t expect the number of spectators at GEHS athletic events to diminish when Starling graduates in 2011.

“Bubba Starling is an exceptional athlete,” Gilhaus said. “I think any gifted athlete is a draw, but I am very confident that all of our coaches will continue to have strong athletic programs.”

Prior to a 2012 bond issue, four seats on the USD 231 board of education will be up for election in April 2011.

The Gardner Edgerton School Board next meets at 6 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the district offices.

Comments

  1. I will not be voting for this bond issue for the following reasons:

    1. The School Dist. approved the Walmart TIF which resulted in the loss of thousands, if not millions, of school tax dollars. They had the authority to nix this loss of tax revenue. They also did not do due diligence with respect to the tax incentive given on the Kimberly-Clark project and we lost millions of school tax dollars on that deal too.

    2. I cannot see where much effort has been made to cut costs.

    3. I believe too much emphasis has been put on athletics rather than academics where it should be. The dropout rate has increased at least 600% in the past two years.

    4. I continue to see little effort on the part of the School Dist. to speak out or lobby for the discontinuation of the handouts to biz and developers which takes millions of school tax dollars from the citizens.

    5. I totally resent that Supt. Gilhaus and the School Board wanted to charge me between $120 to $150 to answer my simple question of how many dropouts we have had for each of the past 5 years. They had this information readily available to them since they reported on this to the State Dept. of Education where I received the information for FREE. This type of stonewalling and/or arrogant management style is not one I can or will support.

    6. I do not appreciate the School Dist. joining in the lawsuit, using taxpayer money, to sue the citizens for more money.

    7. I believe Spring Hill, Gardner/Edgerton and DeSoto school districts should consider combining to result in lower costs.

    8. I do not appreciate how the School Dist. allowed the city of Gardner to come into our schools to lobby for the passage of the bonds for the present swimming pool complex in Gardner. I believe the two entities should be kept separate and I believe our schools should be there for learning and teaching and not opened to private entities or public entities for their projects/needs/wants.

    9. Our educational system in the U.S. continues to slip in worldwide standings. The dumbing down of our citizens is occurring. We are placing our citizens and our country in jeopardy both economically and security-wise since our educational system is not keeping up. WE, THE CITIZENS, have to take steps that proper changes are made, especially with respect to academics.

    These are just a few of my concerns and I will not be voting for this bond request. Neither will I be voting for any of the present school board members in the future.

  2. Blah Blah Blah says:

    Blah Blah Blah….Blah Blah…..Blah Blah, no good…ATM….The citizens…blah blah

  3. I guess I'm missing something? says:

    And that something that I’m missing is neighbors.

    Seriously. What growing population? There seem to be more homes for sale now more than ever. Typically, buying and selling of homes under desirable circumstances takes place in the Spring and Summer- not in the middle of the Holiday Season and going into the middle of winter. The majority of these homes have been vacant for a while now. New housing isn’t exactly springing up all over the place. Am I to believe that not only did the former occupiers of these vacant homes move somewhere else within Gardner but, in addition to that, more people are moving to Gardner from other cities? They’re just not moving into these homes, right? Give me a break.

    There were 2 reasons for 7,000 people showing up at the football games and they have nothing to do with a supposed population growth:

    1.) Bubba. ‘Nuff said.
    2.) There’s not a damn thing else to do in Gardner!

  4. The dumbing down of America is certainly present here in the Gardner area. The School Dist. including the Board of Education have made it extremely clear that “sports” is the name of the game rather than learning and teaching. See how far our young people will get in the modern world without the very best education they can get and work for. See what those Friday Night Lights with the sex, alcohol and drugs associated with it, will be doing for them in the years ahead. As I have said before, the City of Gardner and this school district both totally have their priorities screwed up in my opinion and it appears many of the citizens do too. The price will be high from the dumbing down of America.

    And again, who will be wanting to live in an area with a railyard, warehouse city and millions of trucks and all that goes with that?????????????? As the Will Co., Ill. Treasurer’s Office told me in 2006: If they tell you that your taxes will be going down, it will because you will be living in a highly commercial, industrial area WHERE NO ONE WANTS TO LIVE!!!!

    Are you ready to put up more tax dollars for sports and the crud the city sells you every chance they get so they can take care of the special interests???? The choice is yours.

  5. Here is an article on how the Regents will be making it tougher to get into college as they well should and in my opinion, they need to make it even tougher – that 2.0 grade average is too low in my opinion. And here in Gardner, the dark ages are continued through leadership shown by Gilhaus and the present School Board. Every citizen and every family better be putting sports on the back burner and putting academics on the front burner if they want to live decently in the years to come – citizens need to be requiring that the dollars are spent for an EDUCATION and that the dollars are spent WISELY. The majority of your tax dollars are going for schools – I don’t think the dollars are being spent wisely nor do I believe the priorities are where they should be.

    ****************************************************************

    Topeka — Eighth-graders, listen up.

    The Kansas Board of Regents is considering tougher academic admission standards to get into a public university.

    If approved, the standards would not go into effect for four years to give schools time to adjust their curriculum to fit. So that means today’s eighth-graders could face a higher hurdle when they start college.

    The proposal has been in the works for two years, and will have such a wide-ranging impact that the regents plan to consider the matter over two meetings. The first will be on Dec. 16, then again in January.

    “This is something that hasn’t been done in a while,” said Regent Janie Perkins of Garden City. It would make sense to carry the issue for two meetings, she said.

    Currently, to get into Kansas University or any other regent university, a student must either complete a pre-college curriculum, get a 21 or higher on the ACT, or rank in the top third of their graduating high school class.

    Under the proposed change, completion of a pre-college curriculum or Kansas Scholars curriculum with at least a 2.0 grade-point average would be required and then either an ACT score of 21 or higher, combined SAT score of 980 or higher on math and critical reading, or rank in the top third in the graduating class.

    Oh, and individual state universities may ask the regents for approval to implement even more stringent standards. Kansas University is currently looking at setting higher standards.

    The aim of the proposed standards is to admit students who are better prepared for college, and increase graduation and retention rates.

  6. I just finished watching Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, being interviewed on 60 Minutes. I found it most interesting his comments with respect to the growning difference between the rich and the poor in the U.S. and we have the biggest difference in the whole world.

    He stated the difference was occurring due to education or perhaps we should say the lack of education. He brought out the fact that college granduates face an unemployement rate of around 4% whereas high school graduates face an unemployment rate of 10% and higher. Those without a high school education will be creating social costs the rest of their lives in my opinion. Costs we can hardly afford. We need all citizens highly educated and/or skilled so they may keep us safe and we can have an economy that is beneficial to the U.S.

    So when I see Gilhaus and the present school board being concerned with building more sports practice fields and parking lots for Friday Night Lights, then I say that leadership is failing this community and failing our youth.

    EDUCATION is the great equalizer and all families need to realize this and help lead their children down the path to a life worth living via the best education they can get for themselves.

  7. GardnerPride says:

    Judith, correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t our school district been honored for their academics at all levels in the past 12 months? Haven’t we had a few of our educators recognized on the state level for the proficiency in the class room? Perhaps it’s possible that sports and academics can both succeed at the same time? I know that is certainly the case at the collegiate level, so why can’t the same expectation be set at the high school level. I know that the sky is always falling in your world, but please don’t forget to highlight the successes while trumpeting your perceived failures and shortcomings.

  8. Gardner Pride, you must be satisfied with the status quo and that is your choice. I hope you may continue to be able to pay your tax bill in full and also see students fully educated for the modern world.

  9. GardnerPride says:

    I hope for the same things Judith. If by status quo, you mean students who achieve above the state averages in academics, teachers recognized on the state level for their achievements in the classroom, sports teams who excel at several levels, students who earn scholarships for both their academic and athletic endeavors, then yes…I am satisfied. But alas, I am a glass is half-full kind of bloke, while you seem to see the glass as always half-empty.

  10. And alas the problem is always mine in my world where the sky is always falling………I am sure you are satisfied in your perfect world. But how perfect is it really???????? Time will tell.

  11. At least I have the courage to sign my name to my opinions……..but not the Gardner Prides of the world…………..

  12. You’re right GP. But you need to realize that the board, state board and staff spend their time honoring each other for a job well done. US academic student achievements have consistently fallen when compared worldwide to other industrialized nations, but the educational bureaucracy continues patting itself on the back.

  13. GardnerPride says:

    I won’t argue with that at all Samuel, but that’s an argument on an entirely different level. The bureaucracy has established certain levels of performance, and I’m proud that our Gardner students and educators are consistently recognized for performing above that standard. Just have a quick look at the article on the Home Page citing 6 schools for earning the Governer’s Achievement Award. Judith, don’t confuse a comment board name with ‘courage’, the two don’t go hand in hand. I believe Dot would agree.

  14. GardnerPride says:

    I also wonder what relevence my true name would bring to the conversation? Are opinions to be disregarded simply because they don’t follow you YOUR rules of engagement?

  15. I believe citizens should take ownership of their comments and/or opinions but I am sure you like the anonymity so you are never held accountable or responsible for your words or actions. I call it cowardly. Hide behind the screen, Gardner Pride, there are lots like you out there, sad to say.

  16. GardnerPride says:

    That’s not what my friends Dot and Panda say, but what do they know.

  17. Of course I don’t use my full name so I am not taking any more ownership of my comments than Gardner Pride does. My name might not even be Judith.

    It is clear to everyone though that I don’t like anything about Gardner.

  18. The last posting under the name of Judith is not mine – want to make that clear. Gardner Pride, being the coward he or she is, is playing games. People’s hatred evidently is more important than the important issues of education and decent government for the people. Pathetic people with pathetic ways.

  19. Gardner Citizen says:

    I to am concern with the bond issue in 2012. With close ties within the district I know for a fact that boundries have been set to keep certain groups out of certain schools which is wrong. Why do we have module buildings at one school while other grade schools have room? Why is one middle school is over crowded while the other has room to spare? It is because of the way boundries have been manipulated to maintain certain groups of people in a school together. We have many houses sitting empty and people leaving the district on a regular basis. It is time for the district to take a hard look at what we have and utilize our facilities to each of their potential. If the state only knew the violations that are being done to achieve those test scores we would be in trouble. The scores reflect the testing but the students who still can’t read in 5th & 6th grade reflect the real truth. Board members it is time to quit wagging the tail of our adminstrators and do what you were elected to do represent the people as well as do what is best for the district. Maybe it will be time to clean house in 2012 like it happen many years ago. It only takes 4 to pass the vote.

  20. GardnerPride says:

    Judith, I can assure you that the fake Judith post was not of my doing. That just isn’t my style. Though I do see the irony in you calling someone out for their hatred.

  21. I believe there is a whole lot of difference between hatred and holding someone accountable for their words and actions and having concerns rather than hatred but I am sure you will want to continue your agenda in discrediting me in any way you possibly can but, again, you do it the coward’s way which leaves you with no credibility. You and your cronies take great delight in carrying your hate program for me to the highest level you can and have done so for some time but, hey, here is a reminder that it is not working. I am still concerned and still commenting and speaking out when I feel it is appropriate.

  22. I have a child in USD231 and her education has been stellar. She and many of her peers excel each day at school. The ACT and SAT test scores continue to climb each year and they are getting scholarships for college based on their achievements. I know this for a fact and my child is not an athlete. I see the emphasis on athletics, but I know that academics is supported as well – it just isn’t something you see on Friday night at a stadium.

  23. The world of education goes beyond the Gardner/Edgerton school district and the youth of today will be competing against youth around the world. Please go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40544897/ns/us_news-life/ and get more info on education in the U.S. This was on the news this evening. I hope all citizens, but especially parents, are fully aware of what the future holds and what their kids will be dealing with.

    I could not agree more with one of the statements in the article and it is: “I think we have to invest in reform, not in the status quo,” Duncan said.

    Remember a WAKE-UP CALL is truly needed – OUR STUDENTS ARE TRAILING BEHIND!!!! Now tell me you think more tax dollars should be going for practice fields and parking lots while your childrens’ future is at stake. Sports are great and I am a firm believer in physical fitness, but in my opinion something much more important is at stake and citizens need to truly be thinking how educational dollars are spent and about educational reform.

  24. The City Council voted to raise our Water and Sewer rates for next year by 5% and 8%, respectively. City Administrator Fairburn stated that we will likely see rate increases in 2012 as well. The justification for the rate increases, as provided by the City, is the lack of new housing and industrial growth that Gardner has experienced over the last couple years.

    Meanwhile, the school district seems to have different data stating that the city is growing and just happen to suddenly be interested in this chunk of land.

    I don’t have the City’s data nor USD 231′s data but I do have a car and common sense. A quick drive around the city shows no new residential construction, empty homes and vacant lots. There is some, but very little, industrial renovation taking place.

    It is my opinion that the second to last sentence of this article (“Prior to a 2012 bond issue, four seats on the USD 231 board of education will be up for election in April 2011.”) was put there to make an opinionated implication and I do not appreciate that BUT I do agree that the interest in this piece of land has a lot to do with the upcoming election.

    I was in agreement with the residents of Waverly Pointe when it came to be promised one thing and having the threat of something else delivered. The promise of town homes that would have their own separate street access and the restriction of being occupied by the owner is a far cry from low income housing. We can argue ’til the cows come home about the merits, ethics, etc. of such a thing happening- is definitely a valid debate that deserves it’s own time and place- but no one can deny that the latter would have a dramatic negative effect on what for many is their biggest investment.

    Where are the Waverly Pointe residents now that USD 231 is interested in the land for something other than building town homes? Have they been hushed because such an action would at the very least protect their investment and more likely raise the value? Is that a bad thing? I certainly don’t complain when I purchase the basic package A from a company and they send me the upgraded package B in hopes that I’ll do business with them again. But that’s the private sector and they clearly have motive- to make money. Surely that doesn’t apply here, USD 231 isn’t a private business after all. Yeah, they need to be fiscally responsible but it’s not like they are expected to make profits for shareholders. There’s no money to be made here… no motive…

    Oh yeah, there IS that upcoming USD 231 board election that just happens to take place before the vote in February 2012.

    But, you know, other than that…

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