Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Eudora politics growing interesting

January 12, 2006

There's lots of interesting news in Eudora these days. As usual, the weather is first on everyone's mind as January finds us running around in light jackets and people out walking their dogs or playing in the park with young children. Can you remember when we had so many 50-degree days in January? Makes you wonder when the other shoe will drop. Or will it just lead to more arguing about global warming versus cyclical weather patterns? Seems even that can become political.

And speaking of things political, we find ourselves "right here in river city" engaged in our own political games of to and fro. First up has been the controversial news regarding the search for a new fire chief by our city council. I hope that by the time of this printing, many of you chose to attend a citywide council meeting open to the public to get a first-hand view of what's happening there, as well as your chance to ask questions and speak out on issues.

Then there are those of us who are worried about the fate of our downtown area, once again getting our hopes up about a possible downtown grant to revitalize that area. And the city is also humming about the decision whether or not to build a new football stadium near the high school.

When people ask me "what's up" in Eudora, I always have a response ready that includes three or four new issues in the hopper.

Looking over the news from last year was fun, but going into another new year it is also evident that Eudora is indeed on the Kansas Highway 10 corridor in a big way. No longer the sleepy town that close neighbors believe us to be, we are moving on and hopefully with a vision.

Recently, it's been evident that a tension exists in our local government -- as well as in the school system -- that is a strong pull between the old and the new.

While we need the history of the past and people who have been in the tried and true for many years, we also need the vision of the young members of our community because they will be the ones to live with the decisions that are being made right now. To those who participate in this decision-making -- good luck. It can't be a comfortable place to be these days with advice and commotion coming from both sides of each issue.

Next week offers yet another public meeting that is causing controversy in the community.

At 7 p.m. Monday at Eudora High School, residents will have a chance to get an explanation and reasons behind why the school board and the school administration believe Eudora needs a new football stadium at the current high school. With $2.5 million being bantered about, some citizens are concerned and hopefully their concerns will be addressed in another open meeting.

Whatever your belief in these issues, it's always good to have open discussion so understanding may prevail in these decisions. Congratulations are in order as well to those who are on the forefront making these decisions that will affect Eudora for years to come.

With our community on the cutting edge of growth, we must support those who have taken this serious responsibility upon themselves not knowing what the future will bring. They are all in the hot seat and public opinion, which can be so fickle, will be behind them or against them in the days to come. Only the future can tell them what the right decisions will be. I'm glad I'm not in their position.

Another of the major and emotional controversies revolves around the football stadium as it relates to teacher salaries. In the past weeks, we have heard from various teachers, and reports from the board regarding this issue and the competitiveness of Eudora's pay scale to other schools in the area.

It does seem that public opinion favors the side of teachers, as we all know they are the most overlooked profession in our society today and yet the foundation for generations to come

With that in mind I am reminded of Gary Hinman's letter to the editor a few weeks ago, which stated so well the plight of our teachers in Eudora. As a veteran Eudora teacher of many years, he knows only too well the pitfalls of teaching as it concerns salary and to speak out at this time I'm sure was not an easy thing to do.

Anne Quinlen speaks out on the same issue in an article titled "The Wages of Teaching" where she promotes the National Education Association's idea that has "been pushing for a minimum starting salary of $40,000 for all teachers."

She suggests that perhaps the corporate world "who have benefited most from well-educated workers might establish a national brain trust that would turn a tax on corporate profits into an endowment to raise teacher salaries" and suggests that "no school administrator should ever receive a percentage raise greater than the raise teachers get. Neither should state legislators."

She also mentions a new book titled, "Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt of recent fame for his book "Angela's Ashes."

With wit and humor accompanied by an Irish brogue, McCourt takes us into the real world of the classroom where he taught adolescents for 30 years. Not always a good place to be, as you know, if you have lived through the years of adolescence with children of your own.

Whether you are directly involved in any of these issues, or sitting comfortably on the side lines as this observer, Eudora is an exciting place to be these days.

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