Daily Archives: March 26, 2007

It’s your decision

After reading an earlier post about a letter sent out to Wichita district employees, Superintendent Winston Brooks is clarifying a paragraph he wrote about the election.

In a email he shared with us, Brooks wrote that employees should educate themselves on the candidates. He also wrote that there are other groups besides United Teachers of Wichita that they can contact to learn more.

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More on cameras on police cars

We reported in The Eagle today about Mayor Carlos Mayans and City Council member Carl Brewer supporting cameras in police cars. Both men supported it in their comments. But, as Sunflower Community Action members are pointing out this morning, that’s not the full story.

Mayans asked Brewer to make a motion on the cameras during budget negotiations last year, but Brewer didn’t. Later, Mayans made a motion of his own to shift $150,000 from the city’s long-term spending to start a pilot project. Brewer voted against that. Only Mayans and Paul Gray supported it. See the full minutes in a PDF file here.

I’m not telling you what to do but….

Wichita schools superintendent Winston Brooks is happy that everyone is back from spring break but he wants to remind everyone to vote on April 3.

Not sure who to vote for? Call the union.

In an email, Brooks, who sent it out a district wide, thanked teachers and staff for their work during the year.

At the end, he urges everyone to do their civic duty and vote. Brooks writes:

“Finally, let me remind all of you that you owe it to yourself, to our students, to the District to go vote on Tuesday, April 3. As you all know, we have contested races in four out of seven School Board seats. Contested races are in District 1, 3, 4, and At Large. I strongly recommend that you educate yourself about the candidates in each of these races. If in doubt, I would encourage you to contact Paul Babich or Larry Landwehr of UTW should you need recommendations on who to vote for. I also want to remind you that those of us who reside within the boundaries of USD #259 will be able to vote for all four races.”

The UTW or the United Teachers of Wichita, the teacher’s union, endorsed incumbent Kevass Harding, district 3 candidate Barb Fuller and district 4 candidate Jeff Davis. The same candidates endorsed by a majority of the school board members.

So who really is responsible for Core Knowledge?

An item that didn’t fit in yesterday’s school board race story, puts district 4 candidate Cindy Duckett and Chip Gramke at odds. It starts out with a phrase in Duckett’s literature that quotes Gramke. The quote said:

“Cindy was tremendously helpful in getting me the information [on Core Knowledge],” She did a tremendous job. If you look at the test scores of these two schools, it works.”

Hold on says Gramke. That might not be entirely accurate.

“Did we discuss core knowledge? Yes,” Gramke said in a conversation with the Hall Monitor last week. “Was she instrumental in starting the school? The people that were instrumental were Chip Gramke and Marty Marshall. They talked to the parents and pushed it through the board agenda.”

Core Knowledge is a magnet concept for two schools in the district.

After calling Duckett for comment, a series of emails were sent out to school board members, including Gramke, and the media. In one of them, she outline her exact contribution to the magnet concept:

“If asked, Chip may recall that I — alone — secured the donation of phonics and math textbook from Saxon Publishers in Norman, OK for every Bryant Core Knowledge student. He might also recall that I — alone — secured a large donation for the Bryant Core Knowledge library from Don and Faith Bell at Security Savings Bank in Olathe. He might also recall the numerous meetings at the UTW office with me, Greg Jones, Barb Fuller, David Payne and former school board member Marshall Jones to get this project going. Chip can be a sweetheart but I think his memory might be getting a bit cloudy.”

Gramke, fellow board member Lynn Rogers, and businessman Fred Berry, will hold a press conference at 2:30 today in the 3rd floor boardroom in the central library. The gentlemen will endorse Duckett’s opponent, Jeff Davis.

And in another twist Berry is listed as one of the contributors for CEO First, Duckett’s non-profit that gives scholarships to low-income students to attend private schools.

Also on that list is at-large candidate Karl Peterjohn, the Kansas Taxpayers Network which Peterjohn heads, and state board of education member Steve Abrams.