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Posts published by “Bob Weeks”

Investment in Wichita Public Schools

A letter writer in the April 27, 2008 Wichita Eagle makes the case that investment in USD 259 (the Wichita, Kansas public school district) has a good return.

By way of comparison, the writer argues that the Wichita airport, having been built with public funds, represents "an investment return." Whether it represents a good return on investment the writer doesn't say, but I believe he means that the airport was a good investment of public funds.

Americans For Prosperity Hot Air Tour in Wichita

On May 1, 2008, the Americans For Prosperity Hot Air Tour made its stop in Wichita, Kansas. It was too windy for the big hot air balloon (who could have guessed that might be the case in the Kansas springtime?) but the speakers spoke as planned, and that's the important part of this event.

Universal Preschool Wastes Money, Imperils the Good Society

If K-12 schools fail to graduate one in four students on time, does it make much sense to enroll children in public programs at an even younger age? That's one problem with proposals for universal, taxpayer-funded preschool, as outlined by a new report issued by the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy. Read "Plato's Republic on the Plains: Should Kansas Really Embrace State-Financed Early Childhood Education?" at www.flinthills.org.

Are Teachers Paid Fairly?

The school bond issue in Wichita and those occurring in surrounding districts overlook one crucial necessity: a fair wage for teachers. They are critically underpaid for all levels of education, service and abilities. (From The Wichita Eagle Opinion Line, April 27, 2008)

This writer is misinformed on several levels.

A Mess of John McCain’s Own Making

Kimberly A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal explains a mess of John McCain's own making, and which confirms to me that he is not suited to be President of the United States: McCain's Campaign Finance Revelation.

"The Arizonan may not yet fully understand that money is speech." writes Ms. Strassel

No Recycling Mandates in Sedgwick County, Please

In some cases the price system tells us that recycling is a beneficial use of resources. About 75% of automobiles are recycled, and used cardboard is often recycled in commercial settings. That's because the price paid for these recycled items is high enough that, in these contexts, recycling can be profitable. That's the price system at work. It tells us that the best use of an old car is to recycle it, and the same goes for cardboard boxes at the grocery store.

Wichita school expulsion myths

Recently Lynn Rogers, a USD 259 (Wichita, Kansas public school district) board member, made this statement: "I know there are kids from many Catholic schools that have come to public schools when the Catholic schools have kicked them out."

This attitude reflects a common perception or myth: that private and religious schools kick out the misbehaving students they don't want to deal with.

Martin Libhart is qualified in what way?

But what about Martin Libhart, the man who succeeds Winston Brooks, if only as the interim superintendent? According to a news release on the USD 259 website: "Because Libhart does not currently possess a district level leadership certificate, the district is working with the Kansas State Department of Education for a restricted certificate as permitted by the department." (emphasis added)

It seems that lack of formal credentials was not an obstacle to the promotion of Mr. Libhart.

Hugging Casinos and Banning Power Plants in Kansas

From Denis Boyles's column at Kansas Liberty, calling the consistency and judgment of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius into question (admittedly, a small task):

If there are at least some scientific studies that show gambling’s bad for you, and none that show that carbon dioxide’s bad for you, why is the governor of Kansas hugging casinos and banning power plants?

Kansas must change its judicial selection method

The Kansas Supreme Court is a private club filled with people you've never heard of until they pass some tax you have to pay or invent some law you don't want. There is a way to fix this, but you won't like it, says Denis Boyles.

Holcomb, Kansas Coal Plant Water Usage in Perspective

An argument opponents of the proposed Holcomb Station coal-fired electricity generation plant make is that its water usage is excessive and will lead to, depending on who is speaking, little water left for other uses. Even drinking water, according to some critics, could be threatened.

Franking Abuse by Kansas Democratic Legislative Leadership

The Kansas Meadowlark reports on Franking Abuse by Kansas Democratic Legislative Leadership:

Recently both the Kansas House Minority Leader, Dennis McKinney, and Kansas Senate Minority Leader, Anthony Hensley, abused their nearly unlimited budget to mail items to Kansas voters. These mailings had less to do with helping inform constituents about what is going on in the Kansas legislature, and more to do with getting certain Democrats re-elected this year.

The Entrepreneur As American Hero

Here’s Williams’ law: Whenever the profit incentive is missing, the probability that people’s wants can be safely ignored is the greatest. If a poll were taken asking people which services they are most satisfied with and which they are most dissatisfied with, for-profit organizations (supermarkets, computer companies and video stores) would dominate the first list while non-profit organizations (schools, offices of motor vehicle registration) would dominate the latter. In a free economy, the pursuit of profits and serving people are one and the same. No one argues that the free enterprise system is perfect, but it’s the closest we’ll come here on Earth.

How to pay for special tax treatment in Wichita

Mr. Mayor, members of the city council, I ask that you not vote to approve this request for a tax abatement, and that you cease this practice altogether. Alternatively, I ask that you adopt a practice that will help realize the costs of these actions.

It is no doubt difficult to compete with other states when they offer huge gifts to companies in order to lure them to their state. That's a problem that needs to be addressed at a different level of government.

Tax Day is Here. Take No Cheer.

As the annual tax deadline is here, we should take a moment to examine our level of awareness of the taxes we pay.

Wichita school district values its information highly

Recently members of Wichitans for Effective Education asked USD 259, the Wichita public school district, this question:

How many classrooms (and portables) are there in 2007-08? For 2006-07?

This would seem a fairly simple question for the school district to answer. After all, part of the district's argument for the proposed bond issue in 2008 is that schools are overcrowded. To make that assessment, the district must have some measure of its capacity.

Wichita school board action is very expensive

In a column in the April 6, 2008 Wichita Eagle, columnist Mark McCormick writes about the proposed $350 million bond issue for USD 259, the Wichita public school district, and states: "For the average Wichitan, taxes will rise about $45 a year." How he arrived at this figure is unknown. He may be referring to bond supporters' claim that the taxes on a home worth $100,000 will increase by about $40 per year. But that's quite different from what Mr. McCormick stated.

Wichita School Bond Issue: Explain Again the Need for a Delay

If Mr. Rogers believes the bond issue will be approved by voters on any election date, why is he willing to forgo these cost savings? And why is he willing to delay the opening of a high school by one year? Or were these facts they used to make their case really just fiction?

Wichita School Board Poisons Democracy

This action of the board of the Wichita school district poisons democracy. It gives the board and its apparently allied campaign group a tremendous advantage that no other group has, and by law, cannot have. The opposition groups can't control the election schedule to suit the needs of their campaigns. We have to trust that when the Wichita school board passes a resolution declaring that an election will be held on a certain date, that this election will actually take place.

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