L-K CISD Needs You

By Superintendent Trevor Rogers


By now you are aware that the school district is attempting to put together a bond proposal for school facility upgrades and improvements.  Through the newspaper along with our social media outlets (Facebook and Website) we have let you know many of the details of the plan.  As we continue towards the time of the election, we will continue to keep you informed.  Part of the proposal for the bond has revolved around the ideas of safety and state/federal code compliance.  We want to keep our students and staff safe and we also want to make sure that we are in compliance with state and federal laws regarding handicap accessibility laws and regulations.  
Please understand that we don’t want to ask for more money but the reality is that we need your help.  The district simply does not have the necessary resources to upgrade the facilities.  I have seen through some media outlets that the solutions are easy-the school just needs to budget better.  The reality is that only about a third of our money comes from taxes.  The vast majority of our income is from the number of students that we serve.  The more students we have the more money we get.  As enrollment has declined we receive less money from the state.  Many of the operational needs remain the same.  For example, the 2nd grade classroom still needs lights regardless of if there are 30 students in the classroom or if there are 15 in the classroom.  The district continues to try to find ways to reduce operating costs.  Our overall operating expenses this year are down about 180k as opposed to this time last year.  
We are trying to provide the best product that we can to encourage enrollment growth.  I have heard the story that in recent years, we have had a lot of students who have transferred out of our district.  We recognize the fact that some students have left us for different reasons.  However, we have many students who live outside of our district and who choose to attend our school.  No school district is a good fit for all students.  Every school district has had students who have left them for some reason or another.  
According to the child advocacy group, “Children At Risk” L-KCISD has a very favorable rating when compared to other districts in our area. .  The rankings are largely based on the academic performance of a district.  We also offer a wide variety of services.  Our HS students can receive 38 hours of dual credit taught by teachers at our campus in core academic areas.  We also offer an additional 16 hours of dual credit through our nursing program.  Beginning this year we will partner with TSTC to have 9 hours of dual credit in welding and office management.   We offer career certifications in welding, nursing, office management, law enforcement/ EMT, and floral design.  At the junior high and high school we will have a competitive robotics program.  Our Junior High will have an expanded STEM program that will focus on design challenges which is a fancy way of saying problem solving.  The problem solving skills will then be used in specific activities such as robotics, rocketry and computer coding.   We are putting additional emphasis on our elementary school Gifted and Talented program by identifying students who meet criteria and by having a specific enrichment time for them.  We also will be reinforcing our dyslexia program this year by having a district wide coordinator who will develop plans that will help our students with dyslexia to perform better.  
We realize that we are not perfect.  We are always asking for input as to how we can get better.  On the other hand, we are proud of the direction of our school!  
No doubt some of the facility issues could have been addressed more effectively from the district’s standpoint.  The facility committee that was formed to look at the possible need for a bond will stay in place as a means for helping the district to maintain our facilities and as a source of accountability for the district.  Part of the bond proposal is to create a comprehensive maintenance plan that will guide and help us to maintain the facility upgrades.  Not all of the needs that we have now are tied directly to a lack of maintenance.  All 3 of our campuses have buildings that are 60 years old.  As with any building, school facilities are going to require improvements or they will eventually get to a point where they don’t function well at all and their appearance will decay as well.
Part of the reason that we are asking for financial support boils down to Linden Pride.  As a new person to the Linden community, I have heard of the days when the city of Linden was thriving and school had some of the best facilities around.  Unfortunately, over the course of time, the economics of the area have brought hard times.  As the population of Cass County has declined, our student enrollment has also declined.  One of the most proven ways to increase enrollment is to have quality facilities.  If our district ever expects to change direction in regards to our enrollment pattern, we must improve our facilities.  People are not going to send their children to a school where the facilities are not in decent shape.  The same can be said for improving the economic conditions of our community.  If we are to ever really expect a new business/employer to come to our area, we have to have a school district with quality facilities.  Without the desire to improve and get better we can expect to continue a downward trend.  
In the book, “Boomtown USA,” author Jack Schultz writes about how small towns throughout America have either created a vision for the future of their towns and made decisions that have helped them to thrive or they have lacked any vision for the future of their community and they have resisted any change.  Needless to say many of the communities that have not changed and were once thriving and vibrant communities are now not much more than ghost towns.  I guess the question is –“Is this what we want for Linden?”  
It’s a difficult task to ask others for financial help and support.  The last thing that the district wants to do is to raise taxes.  Because the needs are too great for our existing budget, we need your help.  We encourage any questions that you may have.  On Tuesday July 19th, we will be having a community wide meeting to review the bond plan.  The meeting will be in the high school cafeteria at 6:30 PM.  We hope to see you there!

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