THE SALINA JOURNAL WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2001 A7 Tom BeU Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are tliose of tlie identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day "Danylisnota bad person, trying to do good. He's a sick person, trying to get well." Charisse Strawberry wife of former baseball star Darryl Strawberry, on her husband's long battle with cocaine addiction. OPINION Just give us the tools THE ISSUE School board spending THEARGUMBilT Voters, not lawmakers, should watch the till I t is disgusting to see public officials waste taxpayer's hard- earned money. The discovery of such extravagance is enough to make fair-minded people want to step in and put a clamp on the excesses. That is the reaction this week after a series of news stories revealed reckless spending by some Wichita-area school officials. In one case, a HaysviUe superintendent made $16,000 in monthly charges on his school district credit card, including meals and other entertainment. Also in Haysville, the entire school board spent more than $17,000 to attend a conference in San Diego. Over the weekend it was reported that Wichita School Board members spent $7,000 last year in cell phone charges, including many personal caUs. In political terms, this news couldn't have come at a worse time. The Legislature is debating school funding and facing the prospect of raising taxes in order to direct more money to schools. At the least, anecdotes of such waste leave lawmakers with little sympathy when districts moan about tight budgets. Additionally, lawmakers may decide some new form of accountability is necessary to monitor waste. But that temptation should be forgotten. The state already has a system that replaces elected public officials if wasteful spending is discovered. It's called the ballot box. As long as citizens and the media perform proper review, then waste in a public system wUl become apparent and voters wUl turn out the offenders at the first opportunity That process has worked in the past and wiU work well in the future. If lawmakers feel compelled to do something to discourage immoderate spending among local boards and commission, then they can strengthen existing open records laws that give citizens the ability to see just where their tax dollars are going. Give local people the tools and they will do the rest — without additional reporting requirements from the state. — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher • SEN. PETE BRUNGARDT- 24th District, R-Salina Room 462-E, Statehouse, Topel<a, KS 66612; Phone: 296-7390; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org •REP. JERRYADAY-67th District, R-Ellsworth Room 115-S. Statehouse, Topel<a, KS 66612; Phone: (785) 296-7672; E-mail: email@example.com,ks.Us • REP. DEENA HORST - 69th,District, R-Saiina Room 181-W, Statehouse, Topeka, KS 66612; Phone: (785) 296-7631; E-mail: horst@hous^.state.ks .iJs ' • REP. CAROi. BEGGS-71st District, R-Salina Room 115-S, Statehouse, Topeka, KS 66612; Phone: (785) 296-7683; E-mail: beggsOhouse.state.ks.us T EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK Spread the budget cuts T LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL There is no morality without God I t was only a few months ago that legislators said they couldn't possibly afford to run the state without the $60 million the Kansas Lottery brings in. Guess what? They're going to have to finish this year with $74 million less than they expected. And it appears that next year there will be $111 million less than anticipated. (For the state fiscal calendar, "this year" ends in June, less than three months from now.) It's amazing what we can do when we're given no alternatives, isn't it? The truth is, lawmakers took the easy way out, opting to extend the lottery It was painless money for Kansas, even if it's not painless for Kansans. The social damage caused by gambling surely exceeds $60 million a year in Kansas but that's evidently not a concern to legislators. We can only hope they don't take the next easy way out of the current crisis by slashing spending for schools. The signs aren't hopeful. A proposal to raise education spending by $263 million over two years was rejected by the House in less than 20 minutes. Face it, $185 million may be a lot of money, but it's not an impossibly large amount. There are people who lost more than that last week on the stock market. It's 4 percent of the general fund budget. Spread that across all departments and it would barely be noticed. On the other hand, chop it from education and it will be painfully noticed. To take a disproportionate amount out of education would be precisely the wrong thing to do. After all, education was the area that was deemed to be most deserving of more money. Our educational needs haven't changed, just because budget projections did. Schools remain a top priority Budget choices rarely are easy It's our nature to avoid making those choices unless forced to. Legislators told us they couldn't live without the lottery's $60 million; they're going to live with a lot less now. They'll likely tell us they can't afford to give education more money, either. They can. And should. — Duane Schrag The Chanute Tribune W e readers of the Salina Journal were recently informed by George Pyle that God is not absent from public schools. He simply is not allowed to run them (April 4). What prompted such a column was a recent statement by school board candidate Rod Bonilla that he chooses to have his children educated at a Catholic school because he wants his children to learn about God. Mr. Pyle apparently does not understand what Mr Bonilla meant by this statement. Mr. Pyle erroneously concluded that some believers "think God is so puny that he could be expelled from the public schools." On the contrary,, a true believer knows that God is everywhere He wills to be — that includes public schools. However, believers such as Mr. Bonilla realize that it is important for children to learn of God from an early age. Public schools do not provide that important understanding of the Lord. Public schools choose to stress an understanding of chance rather than an understanding of the Absolute power Mr Pyle wrote, "Jesus T-shirts, term papers on Moses, prayer clubs before or after school. Bibles in book bags, all are allowed on equal footing with Marilyn Manson T- shirts, term papers on Buddha, Marxist clubs before or after school, and Stephen King in book bags." Perhaps this is true. But I have yet to hear of a Bible as history class, but know of many Greek mythology classes. I have heard of research projects on paganism and Satanism but none on Christianity I know of evolution being taught as science while creationism is not even taught as a theory Is this equal time and equal rights? Mr. Pyle concluded that Rod Bonilla's "idea of God is a personification of right and wrong in the same way Smoky Bear is a personification of the need to prevent forest fires." It is strange that a person as intelligent as Mr. Pyle could not comprehend that Mr Bonilla was trying to explain to him that morals have to come from somewhere. Morals cannot evolve. Regardless of what one's morals are, they are based on something — namely on God's law. AU human beings are born with a capacity to do wrong. No parent teaches his or her child how to lie or how to cheat or how to hurt another That is human nature. It is God's nature to show why lying and cheating and hurting are wrong. Apart from God, there would be no morality Morality is yet another proof of God's existence. Therefore,'if a public school were to tell a child, "You cannot cheat because, as Mr Pyle says, it is 'in the school handbook,' " the child would seek a deeper reason. "Because I said so," is not an adequate answer There needs to be a deeper reason that can only be explained by God. ^ Perhaps Mr Pyle needs to realize that while God is omnipresent, even with unbelievers, it is important for Christians to teach their children of God's existence and power — KANDY CROSBY Salina Another source of money for schools Reference the March 31 Salina Journal, "Governor Bill Graves wants to increase taxes," under the heading, "School funding picture unclear" I submit the following solution which will probably be just as unclear to the governor and citizens of Kansas. Reference the March 21 Salina Journal, "Police score $40 million drug bust." The driver of the vehicle admitted to several infractions. He obviously got caught in a speed trap doing 40 mph in a 20 mph speed zone at 1:49 a.m. in downtown Salina, while most of Salina was sleeping soundly and the traffic was essentially nonexistent. Any one of us could have got caught in the same trap. But the Salina police lucked out and made a nice drug bust. That Texan driving the vehicle will probably be forever grateful because life in an American prison is probably better than life South of the Border, and far more desirable than a confrontation with the Big Boss who paid him a paltry $15,000 for risking his life. He couldn't quit if he wanted to. Be that as it may It is time for Kansas to collect some of the benefits (taxes) from activities of this nature and from the users thereof My concern is, what happened to the loot in the other 19 transgressions that the driver admitted making? Consider this. Presume that the other trips carried a similar amount of contraband. Twenty times $40 million equals $800 million. If Kansas would open its mind to this opportunity, and accept just a 10 percent stipend from the drug lord to use Kansas as a central distribution point, that V O Z .OO I m gvJFf ^ALo WSi -Jl N \e (\N TUe Al ^SuJER Tb file aeMEF /TS ONLY THE UfALT^V. G .ET VOURSELF ADOPTffO /9y A RICH MM\UY. would be $80 million from just one dealer Presume that there may be five dealers needing this type of service, that would be $400 million to allow a few wheelbarrows of precious loot to traverse our simply beautiful highways. That makes the tobacco bust look puny and Kansas would have an ongoing source of revenue that could provide classrooms beyond our fondest imagination, and even provide some shelters for those in need. Other benefits may be that the attorney general may never need to leave the office • nor share the windfall with other entities. It seems to be proven that we cannot legislate morals. If that is the case, then it seems reasonable that we should be able to tax those who wish to participate in those activities that offend the majority If licenses are granted to perform partial- birth abortion, world wide wrestling, female boxing, gamecock fighting and other such activities, all of which are sadistic in nature and none of which produce any significant tax revenue, I am convinced that my philosophy set forth above is morally and financially sound. Let's let the users pay for their habit and save the prisons for the real criminals. — BOB WEETHEE Osborne Article figured school spending incorrectly A story printed in The Salina Journal on March 31, titled "School funding picture unclear," presents misleading information regarding Phillipsburg School District's per-pupil expenditures. The chart in the article shows the per- pupil expenditure in Phillipsburg to be $12,645 for the 1999-2000 school year, ranking the district as second highest in the state. To determine this figure, it appears the writer used the net expenditures for the 1999-2000 school year divided by 678.1, the number of full-time students Phillipsburg had on September 20,1999. This method of calculation is very misleading because the net expenditures used for this calculation include the Special Education Cooperative, which Phillipsburg currently sponsors. Funding for the Special Education Cooperative is shared by 14 districts, not Phillipsburg alone. When calculated the way the State Board of Education calculates per pupil expenditure, Phillipsburg per-pupil expenditure for the 1999-2000 school year is $6,482. The state average expenditure per pupil is $7,447 for the 304 school districts. Thus, Phillipsburg is spending below the state average per pupil. — JACK M. WALLACE Superintendent Phillipsburg School District Post Office should charge more for junk mail As a citizen who pays a considerable fee to rent a post office box to lug home armloads of junk mail, at the same time sympathizing with home delivery carriers toting huge bags, I marvel at the Post Office's deliberations to cut its services. Has the Post Office ever heard of the law of diminishing returns? A first class letter now costs me 34 cents, while gobs of catalogs and appeals for contributions each arrive at a mere fraction of that cost. How about substantially increasing the cost of such mail? It may be true that this mass mail may originate pre-sorted, at less cost to the department, but it still contributes greatly to the labor required at its destination of thousands of local post offices. Eliminating Saturday service will not decrease the amount of junk mail, it will just increase the amount of labor required the other five days and delay the delivery of first class mail. . , At a time of Republican concern for charity nothing is said about charity as'a business. It seems to me that all anyone seeking a nice income for himself and staff has to do is to think of some social' cause that needs support, borrow some money and purchase mailing lists to appeal for money ';' So far I haven't received any appeals to support men with erectile dysfunction. I have received appeals for contributions to fight practically every other knoWn human disease, and to support a number of veterans organizations and social' programs. When a contribution is made;: the contributor's name and address is computerized to a "sucker" list that is sold.tO.or traded with other such organizations,' arid any contribution is soon followed by; another request. '. '. As far as catalogs are concerned, catalogs that arrive one after another from each company the handling and postage charge is a good percentage of the cost of the product ordered, increasing the prpfits of those companies and depriving locally owned stores of business. Instead of business charity, why not tax all citizens for services that benefit eivery- body instead of making life a decisiph- making hell for truly compassionate people, many of them with very limited incomes. With the Republicans now in; control of everything, with their borrow-and- spend philosophy that suggestion will fly like a lead balloon. — ELSTON FLOHR Lindsbofg Hospital reports are missed We have taken the Journal for 40' years and are sad that the hospital admissions aren't in the paper That's the only way we know our friends from Minneapolis, Delphos, Glasco, iBelmt and surrounding towns are in the hosl)ital. — HAROLD and CHARLOTTE MAXWELL -BeMt • • • In response to the March 31 letter-in-the Journal from Armand and Lila Paradis about the missing hospital reports.-I also miss them and the people I have spolcen to also miss them. I am an elderly person. I do enjoy getting the paper and subscribe by the year I called the Journal about the hospital reports. They said I'd have to call the hospital. Many friends and neighbors are home before I hear they have been in the hospital. Had their admission been in the Journal, I could have at least sent a card. I do miss the hospital reports. — MARIANNA KRONE Delphos Editor's note: Salina Regional Health Center stopped releasing the names of people admitted to and dismissed from the hospital Nov. 1. Hospital officials cited concerns about patient confidentiality, tighter federal rules and the threat of a lawsuit should a name erroneously appear in print when the person had not given permission^. DOONESBURY FLASHBACKS By G.B. TRUDEAU c»ippy, IF YOummBP TOfliBer /mus. AU. you HAP W PO /SASKM^...^ 7h3MUiJ7PtS WP! I HIM!
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