Certainly enjoying the nice weather. Larry and I drew lottery tickets to the Masters practice round Wednesday and we had fun just walking around watching the pros and seeing the beautiful course. We saw Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player in the par 3 tournament. And we saw Tom Watson and Gary Woodland as well. Fun stuff for a couple of duffers!
There is LOTS going on this spring in our communities. Check out the community calendar below and join in!
SCHOOL FUNDING BILL IMPACT ON LOCAL DISTRICTS
I got a copy of the budget impact of the school funding bill. The state will be made to start supporting school bonds again through equalizing capital outlay. This has been state law for some time, but the Legislature just stopped obeying the law. There will be some new money for classrooms, but some taken away as well. Since most of our districts have maxed out their Local Option Budgets already, most of the money coming in for equalizing supplemental funding (operating funds) will go to lowering your mill levy. That is good news, but the Legislature’s plan for putting more real money into the classroom is to raise your property taxes back up by raising the cap on the LOB from 31 to 33% and by raising the figure on which the LOB is calculated.
Here is the impact on our area school districts:
|DISTRICT||CAPITAL OUTLAY||ADDITIONAL||PROPERTY TAX|
|Santa Fe Trail||40,320||23,744||335,080|
If your district had maxed out its LOB, you get more property tax relief. If your district was below the cap, you got more money into the classroom. While the additional operating dollars look like big numbers, they are pretty much a small part of the total budget. So don’t be surprised if your district still has to cut teachers, increase class size, or close schools. The bigger part of the lawsuit that deals with boosting state aid to the classroom has yet to be decided.
UNDER THE RADAR
Water – the quality and quantity – is at risk. We are all familiar with concerns about the Ogallala aquifer, but it goes beyond that. The state has gotten rid of many of the people who are experienced in testing water quality. KDHE just approved the expansion of Seaboard’s Greely County Ladder Creek hog operation to handle up to 396,000 hogs. It will be the second largest operation in the US and generate twice as much waste as the City of Wichita. The Kansas Geological Survey has reported that the aquifer at this site is “effectively exhausted”. In normal operation the waste is pumped into lagoons and diluted with water to be pumped onto fields. KDHE allowed Seaboard to skip this permit requirement to fill the lagoons to a certain level with water to reduce the odor. KDHE said it wasn’t required to mandate that Seaboard has access to enough water to properly operate the waste management system. In a state that depends on water quality for its agriculture, we can do better.
If you have community events coming up, let me know. This email goes to nearly 3000 homes in Shawnee, Osage, and Douglas counties. I’d love to help you get the word out! Just remember to send your activities ahead of time.
- Thursday, April 17: National Night Out planning meeting for Shawnee County neighborhoods at the Library at 6:30 pm.
- Saturday, April 19: Volunteers who want to help pick up tree limbs in Overbrook are asked to gather at the Kansas State Bank parking lot at 9 am. A fun community project that only takes a couple of hours.
- Saturday, April 19: Topeka Sunflower Lions Club Pancake Breakfast and silent auction from 7 am to noon at the First Christian Church, 1880 SW Gage. Pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy.
- Saturday, April 19: Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum grounds cleanup. At the museum near Clinton. 9 am.
- Tuesday, April 22: Come help the Overbrook Rotary Club members landscape the Library. Stop by the library and sign up for a work shift.
- Thursday, April 24: Harvesters mobile food pantry at Stull United Methodist Church from noon to 1 pm.
- Thursday, April 24: If you are a parent wanting to know more about the College and Career Readiness Standards, go to the informational meeting at Washburn Rural Middle School, 5620 SW 61st St, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This is important! Learn more about what is available for your child to be successful.
- Saturday, April 26: Overbrook city-wide garage sale.
- Saturday, April 26: Combat Air Museum Celebrity Pancake Feed from 7 am to noon. $6 includes all the pancakes and admission to the Museum. Also includes a variety of items marked for sale.
- Saturday, April 26: Clean up day at Clinton Cemetery. Memorial Day Ceremony will be Monday, May 26th, at the Cemetery.
- Saturday, April 26: ASPCA Help a Horse Day – Horse Rescue Open House at B &C Equine Rescue, 740 SW 125th Street near Carbondale from noon to 4 pm. Learn about horse rescue, therapy programs, horse care and more. For info call Brenda Grimmett at 785-633-3318.
- Saturday, April 26: Get Down and Get Dirty! Community clean-up day in Shawnee County from 10 am to noon. Free lunch, t-shirts and prizes for volunteers. For more information write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-224-0446.
- Thursday, May 1: Annual Overbrook Community Prayer Breakfast at the Community Center in the Library. Breakfast served starting at 6 am for a donation. Speaker will be Pastor John Zobel.
- May 2-3: Carbondale City Library flower sale.
- Friday, May 9: Celebration Walk starting at 6 pm for Midland Hospice, 200 SW Frazier Circle in Topeka. Celebrate the lives of special people in your life. For info: www.midlandcareconnection.org/14walk .
- Saturday, May 3: Topeka Civitan Club golf tournament at Cypress Ridge Golf Course. For information contact Russ Cole at 785-272-5580.
- Saturday, May 3: Shawnee County Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale Extravaganza in the front parking lot at the Extension Office (1740 SW Western Ave) from 8 am to noon. Bedding plants, perennials, and hanging baskets. Don’t miss this one!
- Thursday, May 22: Community Connections Celebration at Santa Fe Park in Osage City from 3-5 pm. Sponsored by ECKAN, a community action agency serving low-income families. Refreshments, children activities, informational booths, drawings, and more!
- June: The Shawnee Heights High School Cross Country team is planning a garage sale in June and they need your donations. Contact Shelly Clubine at 785-357-7924 for pick-up.
- There is story time every Thursday evening at the Auburn Library from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. No charge!
- Poultry and small animal swap meet at Tractor Supply Company at 710 NE HWY 24 the third Sunday of every month. Great way to support local farmers as there are fresh eggs, live birds and rabbits as well. No buyer or seller fees. Just don’t sell the same stuff the store sells.
- Enjoy BUNCO at the Carbondale Community Building once a month on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Call 785-836-7478 for details about dates, prizes, treats, etc.
- Don’t miss the Beatles display at the WREN radio station in the NOTO district in North Topeka. Ronnie Russell and Tony Wedeking have an extensive display of Beatles memorabilia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the British invasion. Runs through April 30.
- The Berryton Pickers are at Berryton Baptist Church the first Saturday of the month from 7 to 9 pm. Bring snacks and have some fun!
- Swap meet the last Saturday of the month from March through October from 7 am to noon at Premier Farm and Home at 900 SW University Blvd (just west of Forbes Air Field). Baby chicks, laying hens, guineas, roosters, rabbits, ducks, geese, eating eggs, hatching eggs, and more! For more info call Karl at 785-547-5046.
- Country and ballroom dancing at Croco Hall on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 pm. For information call Edwina Hamersky at 379-9538.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Quote of the week from a teacher concerned about the Legislature eliminating teacher due process: ”My teaching conditions are your kids’ learning conditions.” How true! We simply must treat the most important people outside of parents in our kids’ lives with more respect.