By David Klinchuch
First, my hat is off to the Kuna Melba News (KMN) for their coverage of the Kuna School Bond Issue. The efforts of KMN have brought some of the issues to the forefront.
I and many other Kuna community citizens find it disgusting that there are some Kuna School District citizens (i.e. Friends of Kuna School District) are throwing temper tantrums because of the defeat of the latest school bond. The actions of the Friends of the Kuna School District smell of collaboration with the Kuna School District administrators.
One fact should be made clear. A gob of money does not mean a high standard of education. The United States spends more per student than any other country in the world, yet its high school students ranking have gone from first or second in the 1950/60s to 22nd to 26th today, depending upon the metric being measure. There are world class charter schools in the United States that spend less per student than the Kuna School District does. *
I believe that all brouhaha about the school bond issue has made it very clear that the Kuna School District is not operating in a transparent manner and has not made its needs and goals public. ** It is apparent from my discussions with many people that the school bond issue is dividing the Kuna Community. It is my opinion that the following corrective actions should be taken:
Friends of Kuna School District should rescind their petition to recall Mr. Law. This smells of a vendetta against Mr. Law, who probably has been siding with the honorable citizens of Kuna against the Kuna School District Administrators. I don’t know Mr. Law, but I will help guard his back if called upon.
The Kuna School District must present an auditable and understandable Income and Expense Statement to the School District Community. I have heard on the street that public officials who have access to expenditure statements of all Ada County schools find that Kuna statements are incomprehensible. It would be interesting to know expenditures put student.
The school administration must make a presentation of the needs of the Kuna School District and why the bond is necessary. *** The issuance of threats if the school bond is not passed by the school administrators is unacceptable. ****
The legality of the second vote on the school bond must be ascertained under State Law. *****
I just returned to the Idaho and the Kuna Community after about a 50-year absence. I watched with a small amount of pleasure the unexpected number of my compatriots (i.e. senior citizens) at the polling station for the initial vote on the school bond. These are the citizens who have been dutifully paying for the Kuna Schools the past 50 years and are now being alienated by seemly underhanded methods of the Kuna School District. KMN editorials calling them cheap does not help. It is up to the Kuna School Administration to open up and present a transparent plan on both the budget needs and needs for the school. The Community is now divided. It is possible for the Kuna School Administration to win the next battle with its usual tactics, but it will be inviting a war in the process.
Editor’s Note: In an effort to correct the record, we have pointed out where information is available or our own findings. (Information sourced from U.S. State Department of Education, U.S. Census Bureau, propublica.org and the Kuna School District website.)
* The U.S. average per student expenditures for state funding is $10,560. In 2011, the state spending average in Idaho is $6,824 (State $4,968 + Local $1,792) (50th out of 51 states and districts in the U.S.). Kuna’s contribution from the state is $4,663 (112th out of 115 school districts in Idaho.)
** An emergency school board meeting was held on March 19 where it presented all the information to over 300 residents in attendance. Information is also available on the Kuna School District website (www.KunaSchools.org) including accountability charts, district statistics, annual budgets, monthly expense reports, and more.
*** The levy will maintain 73 district positions including 39 teachers, restore 15% of school supply budgets, keep 6 student contact day according to the district’s website.
**** False. There have been no documented threats by school administration officials.
***** The Kuna School District may hold four levy elections a year by law. They may also vote for an emergency levy without voter approval.