Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2005

District should approach petition as opportunity

November 17, 2005

Faced with a valid protest petition, the Eudora USD 491 Board of Education agreed to at least temporarily withdraw a proposal that would have used more than $2 million from the capital outlay fund to lease/purchase for a new district stadium.

The board recognized the protest petition would have forced the board to take its proposal before district voters next month. That would have left little time to inform voters of the issue during the hectic holiday season.

On learning of the petition, Eudora Superintendent Marty Kobza said he was "disappointed." It is assumed he meant his disappointment with a hurdle in the way of a plan he thought would best benefit the district and not citizens exercising their rights.

As he made clear in last week's board meeting, Kobza still believes in the proposal. He probably thinks that if district residents were as informed on the issue as he, they would understand the need for the expenditures.

A quietly persuasive man, Kobza clearly thinks he can make his case. The petition is an opportunity to address what he sees as "misconceptions" surrounding the proposal. We have no doubt the superintendent can dispel persistent questioning of board priorities because of the timing of the stadium proposal with the ongoing contentious teacher negotiations. Once again, the money the board would spend on the stadium could not be used for teacher salaries.

We do welcome better understanding of how an increase of mill levy authority for the capital outlay fund that would finance the proposal doesn't equate to a tax increase and the need for the new stadium for safety considerations -- an issue on which at least one board member wanted clarification.

The cost of the proposal is roughly the same as the defeated swimming pool. A thorough community debate is not inappropriate. We encourage district officials to approach the forum afforded by the petition as an opportunity.

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