Archive for Thursday, January 7, 2010

School funding, water top 2010 resolution list

January 7, 2010

With the start of the new year, The De Soto Explorer once again makes its community resolution list. As in the past, the list is not about self-improvement but issues that need resolved in the next 12 months.

It must be said 2009 was good year for resolution. The city ended debate on its future water supply, the merger of the De Soto Fire Department and Johnson County Rural Fire District No. 3 was realized and the conflict between board members and USD administration was put to an end.

This year, two unresolved issues stand out — the district's response to state budget cuts and the city's effort to create a wholesale water cooperative supplied by the Sunflower water treatment plant

In the latter, the stakes for De Soto water customers are great. Should a cooperative be formed, they could enjoy quality water produced at a modern plant at little or no extra costs. If the cooperative doesn't materialize, they will face much higher water bills to pay for $5 million in upgrades, starting with the $1.5 million in improvements that city has already agreed to make.

So far, the city has done everything right, from the invitation to other jurisdictions to share in the plant's potential and working with them and the state to explore the viability of the wholesale district. There is reason to be optimistic, and it is hoped the momentum continues to using the plant for the rigion’s benefit .

In regard to school funding, the district is fortunate to have in Superintendent Ron Wimmer a leader of vast experience and knowledge.

The point of the resolution list is that there are local solutions to local issues. But no matter their experience, expertise or dexterity, all school administrators and boards across the state can do is respond to decisions dictated by the economy and lawmakers in Topeka.

It is comforting the district is in capable hand in a difficult time, but unfortunately with school funding shrinking to levels equal to what it was before the Legislature responded to court-ordered funding boosts, the local response to the crisis can't avoid painful decisions that will be felt in the classroom.

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