Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

Biotech results negative

State turns down USD 491 charter school proposal

February 19, 2004

This time of year, it's usually college-hopefuls getting rejection letters. But last week the shoe was on the other foot, as the local school district was the one getting bad news in the mailbox.
Eudora USD 491 learned last week it was not chosen as a candidate for a charter school grant. State approval and funding would have meant Eudora High School could have offered a special biotechnology charter school program for select students.
"It was very disappointing," Superintendent Marty Kobza told the Board of Education. "But we did find out some good tips and learned from it."
He said the district would be getting more feedback about its application in the future. Eudora's proposition was different from those selected, Kobza said. Successful applications addressed issues like alternative schools and other programs for at-risk students.
Rejection doesn't mean Eudora or the district will let the life sciences push travel Kansas Highway 10 without hitching a ride. Kobza said Eudora would still be part of the economic development package.
Moreover, he said, Eudora and the district had other connections to scientists working in biotechnology.
"There are ways we can get it done," Kobza said. "We're not dropping it."
Another school project that has been stymied for the time being is a countywide sales tax proposal that would finance Douglas County schools. The proposal for the tax was still in committee, Kobza said Feb. 12.
That night the Board accepted about $2,000 in Johnson County sales tax it received for the handful of Eudora USD 491 students living across the county line. Johnson County initiated an education-financing sales tax in 2002.
The Board reaffirmed its position on such a tax in Douglas County. In philosophy, the Board doesn't believe in using local money to support an educational system that constitutionally should be adequately financed by the state.
However, the Board stands behind a push for a countywide sales tax because it doesn't want to see a city sales tax only benefiting Lawrence's schools, especially when Eudorans spend a considerable amount of money there.

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