Wichita School Bond Issue Opponents: Driving What? And How?

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?

6 Comments

  • Johnny C -

    The “naysayers” of the Wichita School bond election are just taxpayers who are also playing the role of citizen leaders. Your Blog has amplified your voice as a citizen leader- keep it up!

  • Since the School District hasn’t even paid off the last bond issue, why should we (the taxpayers) saddle the district with more debt, by millions going into bond investors income.

    I’m a big advocate for school vouchers, so until they allow families school vouchers, I’m never going to support any bond issue for the government school system.

  • Ryan Willmore -

    I can’t disagree with any of these points this time. The opponents are indeed playing fair. Perhaps the mentioned columnist is overplaying the drama of the event because the district faces so much opposition anytime they ask taxpayers for more money. To be fair, getting such an issue passed would be quite difficult, especially in these tough times. However it is unfair in itself to accuse the bond’s opposition of unfair play. Personally, the hype makes no difference to myself. I will base any decision on the bond one way or the other based upon credible facts I can find put forth by both sides of the argument. But I won’t argue that the hype from both sides is an effective way to sway voters who don’t approach the issues in the same manner. My vote is just one vote though, I am more interested in seeing how effective each side’s efforts were after it is done.

  • I agree with your points against the school bond and have two other points. One, you have touched on and one I don’t think you have. First, why should we give them more money when there is no proof they are doing a good job with what they have. If they had nothing to hide, why would they make it so difficult to get information from them? Second, why give more money to a system that is not serving our kids? The perfect example is Truesdell. They have failing standards and yet unless I am mistaken the principal has stated that basically there will be no personnel changes. Huh? So something is going wrong but we aren’t going to bring in new people? That’s a “business” I want to invest in.

  • […] At Wichita 259 Truth the ever-mysterious Boondoggler weighs in with Can You Smell That Smell? This post critically examines a recent Mark McCormick column printed in the Wichita Eagle. Other bloggers (like me) noticed this column too in the post Wichita School Bond Issue Opponents: Driving What? And How? […]

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