An open letter to the Winfield School Board:
Dear board members:
When will enough ever be enough? With Winfield losing population every year, a shrinking school population, and an already excessive tax levy, why are you even thinking of adding more to the shoulders of the local taxpayers with the many big and expensive projects now being considered?
Thanks to the almighty Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas schools received approximately $500 million additional state tax dollars in 2018, and then another additional $90 million in 2019. This, of course, is in additional to all the local school taxes we pay. What is being done with all this additional money? Have the classroom teachers received any better pay?
Buildings don’t educate — teachers do! We need to hire and pay for the best teachers we can find instead of spending on buildings — tearing down the existing and building more. Teaching is one of the hardest, most challenging jobs, but also one of the most important and rewarding. Too many of our best and brightest college students are not choosing the teaching field today because of the low pay. In Winfield, we need to pay enough to hire retain the best teachers available.
I recently visited my former high school and grade school, which were built in 1939, in St. John, Kan. How good to find that they have been maintained in almost perfect condition and are still being used. In contrast, Winfield has the habit of regularly tearing down good buildings and building more with little regard to the cost.
Realtors tell us that many who would like to live in Winfield choose another location because of our excessive taxes. One area adversely affected is Vizcaya, which has a number of older residents, many of whom now need to sell. There are presently at least eight houses for sale in the Vizcaya area, not counting the ones which the owners have given up on selling and have rented out. Prospective buyers cannot afford the $500 to $700 a month real estate taxes Vizcaya and Quail Ridge owners are paying. We paid more than $6,000 real estate taxes this year on our 28-year-old house, which figures $531 each month, and many pay even more.
Citizens who have not read the proposals on the survey (which a Kansas City company is being paid to conduct) should obtain a copy in haste, as the deadline for their return to the 475 Administration Center; 1407 Wheat Road; is Sept. 20. The number of unnecessary and expensive projects being proposed is alarming.
We taxpayers need to let our school board and city commissioners know that Winfield must stop this ever-spiraling upward tax rate, lest someday the epitaph erected over what may remain of our town might read: “Here lies the ruins of the beautiful little city that high taxes killed.”