Barb Fuller

Kansas open records examined

Here's another outstanding investigative report by Paul Soutar of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy. I have experienced some of the same obstacles that Soutar has encountered. Last year Wichita school district board member Lynn Rogers told me that record requests are a burden. Interim superintendent Martin Libhart's attitude was similarly hostile towards legitimate citizen requests for records. Indications are that new board president Barb Fuller and new superintendent John Allison have a better attitude towards records requests, and I hope that time proves this to be the case. The spirit is willing but the law is weak Paul…
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Wichita school district turf vendor selection process unlawful, board members told

At last night's meeting of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, citizens learned that the process used to select the vendor for artificial athletic fields was flawed and violated Kansas law. The district will start over, almost from the beginning, and use a competitive bidding process to select the firm to install the fields at five high schools. The result is that the fields will not be available for the coming football season. Interim Superintendent Martin Libhart announced that a hearing committee had been working all day, and that its recommendation was to reject and revoke…
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Barb Fuller: Feds should pay, and leave us alone

In an op-ed piece printed in the Wichita Eagle ("Barb Fuller: Feds should facilitate, not dictate, on education," February 20, 2009 Wichita Eagle, no longer available online), Wichita school board vice president Barb Fuller makes, indirectly, the case that the U.S. Federal government should fund education, but keep its nose out of how local school boards spend the money. Her piece explains that USD 259, the Wichita public school district, like most school districts, are chafing under the "unfunded mandates" that the No Child Left Behind law calls for. She concludes that "Consequently, it makes sense for immediate suspension of…
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In Wichita schools, smaller classes mean adding on — and subtracting

Today's Wichita Eagle contains a story about the need for additional classroom space to support the initiative of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, to reduce class size. Presenting to the board was Kenton Cox of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, the school district's favorite architect. This firm stands to earn millions in fees and commissions if the bond issue passes. Their motives must always be kept in mind. Smaller class sizes seem like a great idea. Teachers like them, as it means less work for them. Teachers unions like them, as it means more teachers paying union dues.…
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How to Pass the Wichita School Bond Issue

For tonight's meeting of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, a resolution has been prepared that calls for a vote on a proposed bond issue to be held on November 4, 2008. I don't know if the board will vote to approve this measure or if they will even take a vote tonight, but I suspect the resolution will pass. Randy Scholfield's editorial Put school bond issue to public vote is correct in its assessment of the feckless campaign in favor of the bond issue. But it's not all the fault of the school board or…
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Distaste for tax increases faded quickly on Wichita school board

In a candidate questionnaire from the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce before the recent USD 259, the Wichita public school district board member election, Kevass Harding answered "No" when asked if he would support a tax increase for Wichita schools. The other successful candidates -- Betty Arnold, Jeff Davis, and Barb Fuller -- were more artful in their responses, promising "financial responsibility" and the usual empty pledges to spend wisely and efficiently. Ms. Fuller did say "I would not want to raise these taxes," referring to local property taxes. The election took place in April 2007. In August 2007, just…
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What passes for reform in Wichita public schools

Two middle schools in USD 259, the Wichita public school district, have performed so poorly for the past six years that they must be restructured, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. ("2 Wichita middle schools must start over," Wichita Eagle, February 29, 2008) Four other Wichita middle schools are within one year of suffering this sanction, and another is two years away. So before long, seven of the 18 middle schools in the Wichita school district could be in the most severe category of remediation as defined by NCLB. NCLB sanctions are progressive, meaning that these troubled…
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