Consider burden for taxpayers
Garden City now has beautiful new facilities to house high school students, preschool students and will soon have a renovated building to house Garfield students and a remodeled JDA Hall. I have enjoyed watching the new structures go up, and will continue to monitor the completion of the ones still in progress. It is my belief the students of 457 and our community will benefit greatly from all of the dollars spent. However, these new additions were not the result of the superintendent's benevolence or board of education's generosity, but because the taxpayers of this district gave their approval to borrow $97 million with repayment through yearly property taxes. When I consider today's economy, I believe there should be more restraint shown by the board and the superintendent, in the use of any monies left over. Last spring, Dr. Atha visited a Victor Ornelas Elementary School faculty meeting, which I was part of, and I asked if the money saved from a warm winter, at that time $3 million, could be given back to taxpayers? Atha said it could, but that it was unlikely because savings on the tax burden of a $100,000 home would be a pittance. Shortly thereafter, a $1 million bathroom/storage/concession stand was built for "practice fields" at the new high school. Concrete drives replaced the originally planned blacktop at the new high school. Now, according to The Garden City Telegram of Feb. 21, the BOE is being asked to nix the original plans to use Memorial Stadium for football, and build a new stadium. At the end of that article an attorney named Gerald Schultz was quoted as saying that people like me who want unneeded money returned to taxpayers, $7 million to date, are "Naysayers (who) want you not to spend any money, and never invest in our kids."
I certainly hope this was misquoted, because for 26 years of my life, I invested time in USD 457 as cook, bus driver, paraprofessional and teacher. My husband and I sent two kids through schools of USD 457, supported countless fundraisers for our schools and, over the last 40 years, paid taxes to build several new schools here. I rather resent Mr. Schultz's assessment. I simply consider it fiscally irresponsible to continue to try and spend every dollar the district was so generously given. Today, many people are struggling to buy absolute necessities like food, fuel and medicine, and still pay taxes. A second football field is not an absolute necessity, on borrowed money, and I now have to wonder if a swimming pool will be suggested next. Please think about the taxpayers of Garden City and give back any borrowed money, which is not absolutely necessary. It may not make a huge difference on the tax burden of a $100,000 home, but a gesture of restraint of that nature could generate a lot of good will in our community for USD 457.
Wrong path for Windsor
The truth is that I seldom agree with your editorial opinions but I loved the beginning of the Wednesday, Feb. 22, editorial: "Communities should embrace and celebrate their rich history."
Then you write about "a majestic four-story structure that's long drawn the attention in the downtown district, and stands ready to begin a new chapter some 125 years after its birth."
I got a little concerned after the comma — "a new chapter"? Then you refer to the "former Windsor Hotel." "Former"? Really? As of today, thank God, the Windsor Hotel still stands, one of the few remaining historic treasures in this town. I fail to see how low-income senior apartments in the Windsor Hotel would make "the downtown and city even more of a destination."
"Preserving as many particulars of a property once known as the Waldorf of the Prairies has to be a priority, even if the building is no longer used as a hotel." Once again, I'm a little concerned with your after the comma view.
I realize that five members of the Finney County Preservation Alliance have voted to sell or give away one of our community's historic treasures. I do not think turning the Windsor into a cash cow for out-of-town developers reflects the desires of many in this community. I continue to pray that the Finney County Preservation Alliance will use its many grants and donations to preserve "historical, architectural, visual and environmental heritage through advocacy, education and alliance building" as they seemed to promise in their Articles of Incorporation.
I'm also praying that The Telegram will focus on the benefits of tourists who love history and are "lured" to towns by the promise of viewing history that has been carefully preserved.
Questions on tablet costs
Who pays for the lost, stolen or damaged iPads that are issued to the students? Don't insult our intelligence by telling us that the parents would be responsible. That is not going to happen, and USD 457 knows this, just answer the question straight forward and forget any politically correct answer. USD 457 voters and taxpayers are tired of this approach using our money.