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Is This For Real?: Letter From Liberty Mayor to School Superintendent Dated Sept. 6, 2011

Quote: "I have concerns about the direction of the Liberty Public School District and the leadership being provided." Photo Credit: 123rf stock photo

A Liberty resident posted a letter tonight on Facebook purported to be from Liberty Mayor Greg Canuteson to Liberty Public School District Superintendent Mike Brewer. Because the resolution of the letter that appears online is poor, here is a transcript:

September 6, 2011

Hand-Delivered
Mike Brewer, Superintendent
Liberty Public School District
Administration Building
Liberty, MO 64068

Dear Mr. Brewer:

Please provide the following:

1. All reports, memoranda, data, calculations, and other written material that assessed the impact on economic development (specifically related to the City of Liberty) reviewed by the School Board before placing the proposed tax increase on the ballot.

2. All reports, memoranda, data, calculations, and other written material that assessed the impact on parents who have children in the free or reduced lunch program reviewed by the School Board before placing the proposed tax increase on the ballot.

3. All reports, memoranda, data, calculations, and other written material that assessed the impact on senior citizens on fixed incomes reviewed by the School Board before placing the proposed tax increase on the ballot.

4. All reports, memoranda, data, calculations, and other written material that assessed how many businesses will leave Liberty (due to the tax increase sought by the School Board) reviewed by the School Board before placing the proposed tax increase on the ballot. Furthermore, how many jobs are estimated to be lost due to this tax increase by the School Board?

5. A list of all Liberty Public School District employees whose total compensation package equals or exceeds $100,000. Please provide the name, title and total compensation.

6. A list of all Liberty Public School District employees who are employed or receive compensation from Northwest Missouri State University. Also, a list of all District employees who have been employed or received compensation from Northwest Missouri State University since the Blue Jay Tower building was acquired by the District. Please provide the amount of compensation as well.

7. A list of the programs that have been offered to high school students by Northwest Missouri State University at the Blue Jay Tower building since it was acquired by the District.

8. The number of students who have taken Northwest Missouri State University classes or programs in the Blue Jay Tower since it was acquired by the Liberty Public School District.

9. The total District debt obligation on the Blue Jay Tower Building.

10. A list of the expenses for the Blue Jay Tower since it was acquired by the Liberty Public School District.

11. The total balance of all Liberty Public School District debt, including, but not limited to mortgages, general obligation bond indebtedness, special revenue bond indebtedness, lease/purchase obligations, certificates of participation and any other short-term and long-term debt on all real and personal property.

12. Email addresses for all subscribers in the Quick News in electronic format.

I have grave concerns about the direction of the Liberty Public School District and the leadership being provided.

It is my understanding that the School District recently passed a nearly $120 million budget and that neither the Audit and Finance Committee nor the School Board amended the proposed budget by a single penny. Given the historical malfeasance by school administration in the Liberty Public School District, there is an appearance that no one is providing actual oversight to the budgetary process. Instead, it appears to some that the administration has placed its own interests over the students, parents, teachers, and the community partners who have supported the district for many years. There has been no effort to fund the necessary projects from current revenues and provide the students and teachers of the district what they need immediately.

It is important for you to remember that the students, parents and teachers have been responsible for the excellence achieved in the Liberty Public School District, not the administration. I fear that the general public believes you have forgotten that fact and have substituted administration interests over those of the students, parents, and teachers. I hope you will receive this letter in a spirit of cooperation and mutual partnership — something that I think many people believe the District has forgotten.

In this spirit of cooperation (and with the caveat that I have not yet conferred with the City’s Budget Committee), let me offer the District an opportunity to work with the City’s Budget Committee. We have had outstanding success by implementing a budget committee. This has allowed the City to increase city services while doing so on decreased revenues. I believe that t he City’s Budget Committee might be willing to mentor both the School Board and the Audit and Finance Committee and help them provide substantive oversight of the budgetary process. This may alleviate the need for a harmful and unnecessary tax increase.

Also, please provide a date for you to appear before the City Council for a study session so that the City may conduct a comprehensive review of the proposed tax increase.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Greg Canuteson,
Mayor


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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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