"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The theatre of the absurd: Bond proposals from the Kirkwood School District in a recession

The email below is from a watchdog in Kirkwood. The School Board is proposing a $48 million bond issue; $15 Million would go for an aquatic center, and $33 Million is earmarked for creating kindergarten space, plus a new track at a middle school. You may read the proposals from the district's website here:


Question: if these bond issues pass, where will the money come from to pay the new kindergarten teachers? Answer: The school district will most likely have to implement a higher operating levy to pay for the new bonds issued.

Translation: More new taxes on the heels of the highest Federal tax increase due to take effect in January 2011. WHAT IS THE KIRKWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT THINKING?

You will have the chance to ask the Board at the next public meeting, Monday, July 19, 2010. District offices: 11289 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, MO....7:00 PM.

(ht to Keith Williams for his email below):
Kmail Kmail@KmailNews.com 7 July 2010

Kmail Alert !!! Kirkwood News Flash !!!!

Have you heard the news? The Kirkwood School Board is on the verge of recommending that we borrow 48.3 million bucks! ( featuring improved sports facilities for our needy schools ) More detail on the good news later in this letter.

Isn't it wonderful? For the first time in years and years we have the very rare opportunity to lower property taxes without one iota of reduction in the quality of our premier Kirkwood educational programs ! But wait, why reduce property taxes for the next ten or twelve years when you can keep your yearly tax bill just as it is by spending a little more of your own money for something you really don't need?

Gee whiz, we only have 20/25 million dollars in our reserve fund so our credit card isn't maxed out just yet. Why not float some juicy new bond issues? Don't forget, how important it is to keep the county assessors office busy tinkering with your property assessments for years and years to come. Reduce your property taxes in this sinking economic environment? Why when you can spend, spend, spend. For what genuine useful purpose? Read on neighbor.

Everyone knows Kirkwood is recession proof, every household includes a millionaire with a dozen kids waiting in line to get educated. There is no tomorrow so why worry about today? Christmas won't be Christmas without the hefty new property tax bill due to be paid a few days later along with higher income and health taxes on tap for all of 2011.

Lucky you, Kirkwood home owner. The Board is considering new stadium type improvements for all our schools including Astro-Turf playgrounds, a swell new "aquatic" center for our deprived swim team , complete with additional waterproof class rooms. A nifty polo field for our equine students was considered but delayed until we can afford a Zamboni to handle both the Astroturf and road apples. Lots and lots of these vital just "gotta have" educational improvements in the bond issue hopper. Exciting, really exciting isn't it? Huh ?

In addition to the wondrous invisible improvements to our curriculum, we are all set to get permanent porta-potties for Webster football fans to use in Kirkwood every other year. These desperately needed educational improvements are featured in these carefully crafted plans for floating more school bonds in your sea of red Kirkwood ink. Your personalized name and address will be forever attached to the payment coupon.

All of these "educational" improvements can be installed for a mere 48 million dollars give or take a few million. It is pathetic that the Board has not included a single new book for the library. Will a couple of million dollars for things like books be coughed up later when the economy gets better or only when the board runs out of money for croquet balls?

Oh ! I forgot, because our total student enrollment has been shrinking of late, we will now get "free" new kindergarten rooms in all of our facilities. Darn, because of this pressing educational need, the cash required to install the Super-dome for Lyons Field has vanished. I guess we will just have to play football in the rain. These bonds are just what we need to make sure our kids education will be improved. Bravo!

Our savvy Board knows ACT/ SAT/ MAT scores will zoom upward when all these new facilities are installed and working. A new press box is certain to make our kids wiser. Test scores will undoubtedly soar. Surely Mizzou will embed a permanent football scout once we improve our press box to exceed national educational standards. Go Pioneers, go!!

How long will it take to turn out quality La Crosse players en-masse with only 48 million or so to spend? The World Cup is just a few dollars away from our grasp. Think of the savings in mowing costs when we get rid of that nasty grass. However, a hint of trouble is on the horizon. What is going to happen when the girls find out there will be no Kirkwood softball fields with pink Astroturf? Could it be that pink doesn't go well with the tanning salon wall coverings in the new aquatic center?

Meramec College pool will turn green with envy when the Kirkwood Swim teams abandons that shabby facility for our new Spartan addition to Kirkwood education excellence. Will the kindergarten kids float their rubber ducks at 10 AM or will learning how to splash be taught between water science projects in the brand new diving board TV conference room?

Oh well, maybe the School Board can squeeze a curling rink into this tight budget to help the non swimmers improve their mathematics scores. What a bargain, this lovely new pool for the swim team can be had for only five or six hundred thousand dollars per team member. Such a bargain. I can't wait to fund it, can you ?

All of these "fixes" to our sub-standard Kirkwood education will certainly impress the college entrance exam boards. All this just in time so you may mortgage your house to pay for your kids' college tuition. What is that you say? Frontenac and Ladue property tax rates are lower than Kirkwood? I can't imagine why, can you? Their school grounds and buildings must be substandard.

How about getting a firm grip on the run-a-way projects you already have going , take a deep breath and see how the high school astro-turf works out. After that triumph you can rush headlong into massive debt for a nice pile of carpet remnants with everyone cheering you on.

My suggestion for the School Board? Leave tax payers and our schools alone for a year. Our Kirkwood educational world won't collapse. After all, the current fiscal foundation you have built is solid and solvent you keep telling me. When the time comes that you really need something that would improve our kids' education, Kirkwood has never failed to provide.

All of these wild, wild spending plans come to a boil when the school board meets July 19th. At that time the Board will vote to put these multi million dollar bond issues on the November ballot or not. Why not put this stew pot of projects on the back burner and let them simmer for awhile?

It would not be the end of Kirkwood education as we know it if the Board were to give some additional study to all of these issues before trying to obligate Kirkwood to this massive new unnecessary debt.

How about it Kirkwood? Do I stand alone? I'd love to hear your opinion, perhaps the Board would too.

Keith Williams for Kmail and Kirkwood

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