Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey

Who Runs the Wichita School Bond Issue Campaign?

As reported in the Wichita Eagle in May, the co-leaders of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Education (CARE) knew very little of the details of a telephone survey their group conducted to discover Wichitans' attitudes towards a school bond issue. That they knew so little gives the citizens of Wichita cause to question who is in charge of running the bond issue campaign. Records requests made by this writer reveal that there is no contract in place between USD 259 (the Wichita public school district) and Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture covering the proposed bond issue in 2008. This raises a…
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CARE Dropped Ball on Educating About Wichita School Bond Issue

My friend Helen Cochran of Citizens for Better Education contributes this article, which appeared in the Wichita Eagle. In this article, Helen analyzes the work of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Education, a group that supports the Wichita school bond issue. As Helen notes, attendance at the four educational meetings CARE held was low. In one meeting, the only two people in attendance who weren't either school district personnel, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture employees (the school district's architect), or associated with CARE were associated with Wichitans For Effective Education, a group opposing the bond issue. So at this meeting, there…
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Wichita School District: Tax Rates Not Increasing, But Taxes Paid Are

According to the Wichita Eagle article School board plans no tax increase for coming year, USD 259, the Wichita public school district, does not "plan to raise property taxes" to pay for school operations next year. Now if you read that and that alone, you might want to congratulate Wichita school officials for respecting the taxpayer. But not so fast. For one thing, the taxes that are under the control of USD 259 are increasing. The rate is not, but the amount collected is. That's because property taxes increase each year as property is reappraised to a higher value, and…
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Wichita Business Journal: Please Explain the Wichita School Bond Impact

In an article in the June 27, 2008 Wichita Business Journal (Passage of 2000 school bond issue highlights Brooks' legacy in Wichita), reporter Josh Funk makes another error. (The first error is explained in Wichita Business Journal: Where is the Increasing Enrollment in Wichita Schools?) In this case, Mr. Heck claims, in his tribute to departing USD 259 (Wichita public school district) superintendent Winston Brooks, that "He leaves Wichita before resolution of a $350 million bond issue, but his legacy as superintendent will be the passage of another bond issue -- this one for $284.5 million -- eight years ago…
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Wichita School Bond Issue: Who Is Running the Survey?

A recent newspaper article reports on a telephone survey regarding a proposed bond issue for USD 259, the Wichita, Kansas public school district. ("Pro-bond group conducts survey," May 22, 2008 Wichita Eagle.) The article starts as follows: The citizen group that supports a proposed $350 million bond issue for Wichita schools is conducting a telephone survey to gauge public opinion of the bond. Sarah Olson, co-coordinator of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Education (CARE), said the survey is "part of our ongoing campaign strategy" and was paid for with donations. But both Olson and co-coordinator Randy Thon said they don't know…
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Wichita school bond issue economic fallacy

A recent article in the Wichita Business Journal (December 28, 2007) about USD 259, the Wichita public school district, bond issues contained this passage: "The economic benefit was fantastic," says Joe Johnson, a partner at Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, who was on the 2006 steering committee. "No one predicted the downturn, but this community got tremendous value from the bond issue." There was also this passage concerning Wichita Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks: There is a misconception, Brooks says, that the bond issue was a drain on the economy. Actually, he says, the bond issue had a positive economic impact on…
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