In his Sunday Wichita Eagle column, Mark McCormick complains that the Wichita school bond issue opponents are a) cynical, b) short-sighted, c) myopic, d) forces pulling us backwards, e) frightening voters, f) spending too much at Starbucks, g) only saying “no,” h) hiding their true agenda to replace public schools with vouchers, i) not honest advocates, j) meaning the school district no good, and k) meaning the students no good.
I don’t know if this is a complete list. Read the column at Naysayers shouldn’t drive school bond debate and see for yourself.
Like his colleague Bob Lutz, some people don’t see how much they already have. Lutz complained that because some athletic facilities are being considered for removal from the bond issue plan, he might change his mind and vote against the bond, following the lead of Wichita school board member Jeff Davis. Never mind how much is still in the plan, as mentioned here: Will Bob Lutz Follow Jeff Davis on the Wichita School Bond Issue?
In this case, Mr. McCormick may not be aware that for the coming school year, it’s possible that per-student spending will exceed $13,000. Or, he may not be aware that each resident of USD 259 is taxed, on average, $1,749 each year to pay for Wichita school spending. The other night I was visiting friends, a family of four. Their tax burden is $6,996 each year to pay for Wichita public school spending. The fact that they suffer this burden while also working to pay private school tuition for their two children must mean nothing to Mr. McCormick. He thinks they should pay more.
When it’s “for the kids” the sacrifices people make are never enough to satisfy some people.
But what’s most curious about this column is that I get the sense that Mr. McCormick thinks bond issue opponents aren’t playing fair. May I remind him that neither of the opposition groups has a staff of paid professional employees working to develop plans and educate the public.
We don’t have a union with several thousand members highly motivated to pass this bond issue for personal reasons.
We don’t have tens of thousands of parents on our side, many eager to pay just a little more in taxes so that their children reap big benefits.
We don’t have a prominent architecture firm working on a volunteer basis to promote the bond issue, hoping for a multi-million dollar payoff after its passage.
We don’t have a column in the state’s largest newspaper.
So, Mr. McCormick, just how is it that the naysayers are driving this issue?