Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guest Editorial by Sue

After reading the KTEC blog I decided that I needed to educate myself for the August 24th vote. After days and many hours later, my search for information on the KTEC has been mostly unsuccessful.

Repeatedly stated: 85% of our students do not continue on to a 4-year degree.
Yesterday, I spoke with a person involved with the KTEC. Unable to get a student count to determine the meaning of the 85%, I ventured on my own:

CDA Dist #271 students grades
Cd’A High School 1501 9-12
Lake City High School 1545 9-12
Project Cd’A 197 7-12
Bridge Academy Alt. 176 11-12
Cd’A Charter Academy 537 6-12
Cd’A Charter Academy 467 6-12
JDC School 51 6-12
Riverbend Prof. Tech Academy 20

Lakeland Dist #272 students grades
Lakeland High School 602 10-12
Timberlake High School 528 9-12
Mount View Alternative 96 9-12

Post Falls Dist #273 students grades
Post Falls High School 1457 9-12
New Vision Alternative 76 9-12

I used only the high schools, from the 3 districts, to arrive at a per grade student count:
Cd’A High School 375
Lake City High School 386
Lakeland High School 201
Timberlake High School 132
Post Falls High School 364

If the KTEC is being proposed and supported on the premise that 85% of our children need the KTEC in order to complete graduation, pursue a career and/or continue on to higher education, 85% equates to 1239 students. The KTEC, upon completion, will be available for 180 students – both juniors and seniors.

In all 3 districts, the student count is 1458 in one grade Do we double this to represent the junior and senior grades? If yes, 2916 children need or could benefit from this environment?

Yesterday, I was told that maximum capacity of the proposed KTEC building is 400 students. This leaves 2516 students behind. The KTEC lists a website as a place to find details I found no information that answered any of questions.

The most informative article I found was the North Idaho Business Journal:
I learned that if the school needs to be expanded, another levy would have to pass.

One quote says 'the goal in building the facility is to take back the jobs “given” to China and India'. I am very interested to learn more about this…..

I’ve read elsewhere that 55% approval is required in all districts to pass, but in this article I read, “If Coeur d’Alene fails, we’re dead in the water. If Coeur d’Alene passes and at least one of the others passes, we will build what we have the budget for.” My question – and what is that? What are we actually voting for?

For property owners, the tax increases mentioned are based on a specific property value, minus the tax exemption. Get out your pencil and paper to do the math, as the tax liability is different for every home owner.

If the KTEC were being proposed as another avenue to help ensure bright futures for our school children I would be a cheerleader, but would still want to know all the details of the financial end of this. But when statistics are presented as a dismal future of the 85% that do not go on to a 4-year degree I am disenchanted. This does not pull at my heartstrings.

How many enroll at a Community college, in a trade school or vocational school for a career choice that does not require the 4-year degree? How many choose to go straight in to the workforce, not yet decided on a career……….sometimes career paths and opportunities present themselves unexpectedly. Some enter the military. Some do choose to enter college at a later date.

I am all for our children having every opportunity, but they are not guaranteed success with a 4-year degree. The child that has the drive and determination to work hard will, by in large, achieve success.

In my search for information I did learn that all 3 districts score higher than the Idaho state average, based on ISAT scores for grade 10, in 2008. Also, we currently offer Alternative schools for children who are struggling to graduate. One in particular had a bright statement on their home page:

Once the KTEC building is completed how is it funded? Do we expect to pay higher taxes for additional teachers and staff, maintenance and equipment that is not donated? We need all the details. This is a large financial obligation, and we are not certain that it ends after the construction of the building.

There is a comment in the blog, regarding the students, that says “they aren’t taught to balance a checkbook, manage a budget or have any skills needed for success”. Know that all of us out here are of many different levels of education and we do balance our checkbooks and manage a budget, which is why we want the details that will ultimately affect our budget. The tax obligations of the American people are overwhelming. We want to be told honestly, all the details, so there are no surprises.
Ultimately, we are only a few short days away from August 24th. There needs to be more, a lot more, information available to the public so an informed decision can be made.

Thanks for listening.


Bay Views said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Wilcox said...

My name is Craig Wilcox and I'm the spokeman for the KTEC campaign. Obviously there are great concerns about ongoing taxes. KTEC will cost the Lakeland School Dist. 50 cents per $1000 of assessed taxable property value. This levy WILL END after 2 years.

The state of Idaho has a $65M budget specifically for Technical Ed. We never had access to that money until KTEC. By having the facility we increase the budget per KTEC student by 30%.

This levy is so cheap, if we wait we will NEVER get a deal like this again. If we vote no, this opportunity will be gone. Please give our region and our kids every opportunity to succeed in life. KTEC is a must. If you have more questions call me at 208-667-1212.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Herb for posting my comments!

I have become more and more concerned with the onslaught of taxes at all levels – city/county, state and federal, and with the possibility of another tax I want to know the details. So, if I do not have detailed information about that tax, I would agree with you (in singular form) that I am against that new tax.

I just got off the phone with someone involved with KTEC who is knowledgeable, and I believe that he may be contacting you with interest in posting information about the KTEC.

The Levy for KTEC is for construction of the building only. It will not pay for staffing, maintenance, etc.

I agree that it is not necessary for every junior or senior to attend this facility, but if they want to, it needs to be understood that maximum capacity of the building is 400. My calculation represents that based on the student count each year, the districts will have a possible 2900 students (juniors and seniors) that could benefit from this facility. At the opening, the KTEC will accept 180 students and at maximum capacity it will hold 400 students.


Bay Views said...

400 voctech students represents about 27% of all high school graduates from the three districts. I believe that with many avenues available for grads, 27% is adequate. If not, the school can always expand in the future. The state of Idaho has funds earmarked for districts with Vocational programs. It is my understanding that those funds will need to be requested and used now to avoid the lack of these funds in the future.

Anonymous said...

Herb, you have caught my attention. I don’t know where you found this information but if there are funds available, only now, for the vocational high school it explains the push for passing this now. It does not explain the extreme lack of information – facts on all the costs on this project. Why is it impossible to get the information that a taxpayer should have available to them in order to make a decision?

The representation for this levy is wording presented in a way to emotionally drive the voters to vote for this – not cost details.

Please understand every school year both juniors and seniors are eligible for the vocational high school. It is not just the graduating class that will attend. I fully agree with you Herb that there are many other avenues available to our high school students. It is the KTEC that is making the claim that the vocational high school is the answer for 85% of each class. The KTEC says 85% needs this school, but not all 85% can take advantage of it.

Yes, the school can always expand in the future, which will mean another levy.

The only thing that I am trying to determine is all of the costs. This levy is to pay for the cost of the building and infrastructure only. We do not know how our taxes will be affected by the need for more teachers, staff, maintenance, busing, etc.

But it is a losing battle to get the information. We vote in one week. I am only more frustrated in my attempt to become an informed voter.


Bay Views said...

Sue, in your latest comment, I feel you have jumped to a clunclusion that nobody intended. No where have I seen a statement that claims all 85% need the voctech. The 85% represents those that don't go on to college. This is a complex enough issue without distortions,purposely or accidentally.

Anonymous said...

Herb, you are absolutely correct! This is a complex issue – with very little information available – from my findings, basically none.

My personal opinion is that all 85% of the students will NOT need the voctech school. It is from the comments and statements that I have read that I am believing that the KTEC is telling us that this voctech school is the answer for the 85%.