Wichita school informational forums could help increase understanding

At Monday’s meeting of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, board president Lynn Rogers said he wants to have a discussion about ending balances, in particular unencumbered funds. He said there is misunderstanding in the community, during the bond issue campaign last year, and now with a state school board member. He added that he wants to communicate the meaning of this to the public.

Rogers didn’t mention the state school board member by name, but I think I can guess who he’s referring to. You can view the member’s less-than-cordial treatment at a recent Wichita school board meeting in this YouTube video.

There’s a problem at the Wichita school board meetings, as there also is at meetings of many other government bodies. Citizens — even a Kansas State School Board Member — have to speak first, and briefly at that. Then the board members, superintendent, and staff get to speak without fear that the citizen will be able to ask questions, rebut arguments, or just call plain old nonsense for what it is.

A group in Wichita is considering a public forum to discuss this issue. Hopefully this event will take place, and representatives from the school district will participate.

The alternative is more meetings where one side only is in control of the agenda, the message, and the flow of information.

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