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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kirkwood School District receives advice from The Moody Blues: "No More Lies"

There are citizens in the Kirkwood School District vehemently opposed to the district's two upcoming bond proposals. The two proposals total $48 million--one is for a $15 million aquatic center; the other is for $33 million to expand kindergarten rooms so children can attend their home elementary school for that grade level. Mind you, the state mandates half day kindergarten be offered, NOT full day. Half day students are accommodated in two of the district's five elementary schools. There are some full day classes offered at a fee. Here is a copy of the proposals in a previous blog:


This district believes children should be able to attend full day kindergarten at each elementary school. The bond issue will build 4 kindergarten classes at the three elementary schools that currently do not have room for these rooms. But wait! If you (the taxpayer) vote for the proposal, the district will throw in a bonus offer! All grade levels will have an additional classroom added, bringing the total of additional classrooms at these schools to NINE rooms. Other improvements will occur such as new gymnasiums. Looking at the drafts, it appears these schools almost double in square footage.

When the district official was queried on where the teachers were going to come from and how they were to be paid to fill these new classrooms (Kirkwood is currently deficit spending), the official, in all seriousness, said, "We're not going to staff these rooms". What? This is the district's response to a question about spending money for teachers we don't currently have? So the next question is, "why are you building these rooms if they are not needed"? Doesn't that seem common sense to you?

We didn't get a firm answer to that question, other than the classrooms "may not end up being regular classrooms, they could be used for resource rooms or for other reasons". Okay. Digest that train of thought. Maybe you don't really need an additional classroom for each grade level. Maybe the district just names the classrooms with those names because it doesn't know exactly what it needs. That sounds convoluted. But regardless, if the district insists it needs kindergarten rooms because it doesn't have any...and THEN says it isn't going to hire any kindergarten teachers...I believe that is untrue. What the district really may be saying is it can't staff the rooms at the current operating levy, so wait until it builds the rooms and then it will come to you for yet another tax increase. And while the district is building the kindergarten rooms it allegedly needs, but can't afford to staff, it will just go ahead and add to the architect's draft five extra classrooms that it won't staff, but will have to furnish and maintain. Why is the district spending millions on space it doesn't need?

This is a district that is not anticipating much of an increase OR decrease in student enrollment. This is a district that is land locked, so future home development will only be infill construction. This is a district that gives its teachers 4.5% pay increases in a time of severe recession.

I think I have the answer on why the district is insisting on this unwise spending:


The Kirkwood School Board is a microcosm of the federal government. It is begging to be bailed out by the taxpayers for its reckless spending. Kirkwood does not need an aquatic center and it does not need extra classrooms for a district with a stagnant student population. Ed Morrissey writes in his piece, "The real solution is to get states to act responsibly on their own". Not only do Kirkwood School District residents have to worry about the STATE to act responsibly, they have to worry about the local school DISTRICT to make sound fiduciary decisions. KSD residents should be very worried.

I would suggest KSD residents present the board with this musical offering from the Moody Blues, "No More Lies".


Better yet, tell your neighbors to vote against these wasteful and sneaky proposals. The district states these proposals will NOT result in higher taxes. That's not entirely true. Residents will eventually encounter a tax increase if these propoals pass. The operating levy will need to be raised to support the physical buildings. For physical buildings we don't need. No more lies.

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