Working in public school finance was the most rewarding job I had. I watched as public money was being used to benefit the public. Every cent, whether upgrading and building schools, meeting demands of regular maintenance or, the most important, maintaining a good teaching staff, was spent for the public good.
After reading today’s paper (Wednesday) I wonder just how good the stewardship is of the Cowley County Board of Trustees. Community colleges are rather new when looking at the history of public education. Its origin was the belief that it would benefit the community by offering a good post high school education at minimum cost. No unnecessary frills to attract students, just good solid offerings to meet the needs of the community.
There is nothing wrong with having good solid buildings, good equipment and a good planned preventive maintenance department. But the emphasis must be on education and offering programs that meet the needs of the students.
When community colleges in Kansas gave way to popular things like collegiate sports I have a feeling that the purpose argued before the Kansas Legislature many years ago has been lost. At that time the leaders of community colleges demonstrated a financial need to meet the educational needs of the community since the local taxes were not enough. Now community colleges across the state have taken the state appropriations and much that we see is football and baseball fields that benefit only the talented athletics from far and wide who need a way to sharpen their skills to get into four year colleges.
Perhaps it is time to abandon programs that do nothing to meet the local needs. Recently an increase in the local tax for CCCC was passed, now we wonder if it was just to have funds needed for a purchase that does little if anything to improve education. Perhaps a member of the board could explain the action of the board publicly.
Clyde Vasey Jr.