The Emporia school district says “the state” will contribute $53 million toward bond and interest payments of its proposed bond issue. The subtle distinction is that “the state” is merely a conduit; taxpayers all around the state will pick up the $53 million tab.

So, while only Emporia residents get to vote on the school bond proposal, every Kansan has a stake in the election because they’ll be paying part of the cost if it passes. They aren’t ‘foreigners’ as The Emporia Gazette recently said; they are Kansans.

Emporia residents will pay the majority of the cost in higher property taxes and their proportional share of ‘the state’ contribution, so it’s imperative that they have all the facts to make an informed decision.

The Gazette didn’t report that taxpayers will get a property tax reduction of about 9 mills in two years if voters don’t approve this bond issue or approve more debt in the meanwhile; they also didn’t report that the bond issue will cost $140 million including interest. To be clear, The Gazette doesn’t say Kansas Policy Institute or our media subsidiary, The Sentinel, is wrong on those facts; they’re just oddly indignant that we’re telling the truth. One must wonder what former Gazette editor, William Allen White, would think about their effort to suppress free speech.

The desire to improve facilities is understandable, and everyone wants students to be safe. But citizens also have a heavy tax burden and can’t lose sight of the greatest education challenge — a student achievement crisis. The 2018 state assessment results show 57 percent of Emporia 10th-grade students are below grade-level in math, and just 15 percent are on track for college and career. USD 253 spent $14,784 per-student in 2018, so taxpayers are already providing a lot of funding.

Kansas Policy Institute isn’t taking a position on what voters should do. Every resident should look at all the information and make their own decision on how best to allocate funding to improve student achievement. We’re just providing facts and answering questions, because information is sometimes hard to come by, and transparency in government is essential.

(13) comments

SnowGypsy

"Foreign Interference" was the opinion title, and it really wasn't a fit title or comparison. KPI was referred as a "culprit" and implied they were trying to get people to vote against the bond. No, they were informing people with facts, and we all know how liberals hate facts! I think that the interest of KPI on behalf of all taxpayers in Kansas in evident in this opinion piece. Taxes, all of the different ones in Kansas, are stunting its growth, and I read that Kansas is #5 in out-migration (moving company, not even the ones getting out using other means) which doesn't surprise me. As I said before, I didn't hear anyone complaining from the Gazette that Kelly got almost a million dollars from outside of the state interest groups. Did I miss the opinion piece on that, how unfair it was that people outside the state were trying to influence who was chosen as our governor? KPI said they were contacted by local people wanting answers which they have provided, so I don't see the issue. If the information that KPI has provided is incorrect, I would like to see an opinion piece printed on that, otherwise, I just don't see the issue. Emporia has lost 2,000 people since 2010 which is significant in a town of this size. In Kansas, our property tax ranks 15th highest in the nation. (What the heck are they spending the money on?) Yes, that matters especially when considering whether people and businesses move in or move out, and how much disposable income there is to spend on goods and services in the local communities (something businesses look at when considering establishing a business providing goods or services). Want to bring in employers? Losing population and high taxes is not the way to go either. Kansas as a whole is going to tax themselves into a 3rd world existence where the only ones here are those that can't afford the gas to get out! "Foreign Interference"? No presenting facts before the bond issue could be slipped through by mail in ballots. I do give the Gazette credit for posting the opinion pieces that obviously don't match up with their own opinions.

SeanRanklin

If the dems and liberals are ruining this state just move to Mississippi and Alabama where they worship The Chosen One. It will be a benefit for all.

Wisdomseeker

Who are you referring to by The Chosen One??

SnowGypsy

Correction: Emporia lost about 2,000 people since the 2000 Census from a high in that year of 26,760 with projections being forecast that the decline will continue. Top reasons for people leaving Kansas being stated as "high taxes and job situation".

scrutinizer

In 2008, Tyson Foods stopped their slaughter operations in Emporia, and laid off over 1,500 people. Liberals don't hate facts - we like to know the circumstances behind the facts. We do hate the way conservatives misrepresent the facts to push their agenda of "No tax is a good tax".

Our kids are worth investing in. School safety is worth trying to attain.

I'm voting for the school bond.

Alphonse Sicard

It sure feels like KPI has taken a position on this bond issue. And you clearly haven't had any issues posting your opinions about this on the gazette so why do you feel like they are suppressing your speech?

Dave Trabert

No, we haven't taken a position; we're just providing facts that some residents couldn't get from media or the school district.

The Gazette was attempting to stifle free speech by calling KPI a 'foreign influence' that shouldn't share any information on the bond issue.

Alphonse Sicard

Where did they say you shouldn't share any information on the bond issue? And shouldn't they have a right to an opinion just as you do?

Dave Trabert

In an editorial last week entitled Foreign Interference. Not saying they aren't entitled to an opinion, but calling them out for attempting to stifle free speech.

Alphonse Sicard

Apparently i need to figure out how this reply button works, but my question still stands.

Alphonse Sicard

How does their opinion stifle your free speech?

SeanRanklin

Dave I know we had banter in the past, and I appreciate you having all the numbers listed in this article correct and verifiable by an outside source i.e. a reader of an article. I don’t agree the Gazette is stifling your freedom of speech. A writer who happens to work for the Gazette disagreed with your opinion, and you call that disagreement stifling free speech which is incorrect. Move to China and Russia if you want to see what life without the first amendment is like. Furthermore, I know you are trying to be transparent. You wrote two opinion pieces to the Gazette saying that a bond had interest and that all tax payers contribute to bonds this is common knowledge to anyone with a high school education, so you are not pointing out anything profound. The fact you keep coming here shows you really want force something that is not there, and that you truly care (have a clear opinion) about the issue.

athertok

Trying to stifle KPI??? Seriously, how can you make that claim when the Gazette continues to publish your info and responses? Claims like that only reinforce legitimate questions as to KPI’s and Dave Trabert’s credibility.

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