As a citizen of Lee's Summit I believe the time has come for change. Wouldn’t you agree that it is time for the Lee's Summit R7 School District to get back to the business of education and out of the construction business? Do we really need a $12 million pool, $100,000 band uniforms, a $15 million elementary school that is going to have empty classrooms?
Mr. McGehee’s articles seem to appear everywhere boasting the district’s performance awards from the state of Missouri, Money Magazine, etc. Sounds great until you research the real facts! School Board Candidate, Sherri Tucker did just that to discover the United States Department of Education ranked Missouri as 45th in the country with a grade of “C-” and a “D” for K-12 Achievement. Missouri received a status of “F” for spending, a “D-” in accountability and an “F” in college readiness. The Lee’s Summit R7 District is ranked 27th in the State of Missouri. Lee’s Summit High School is ranked 12th in the State, Lee’s Summit North 24th and Lee’s Summit West 57th.
Out of 523 districts this year, the state’s education department handed out Distinction in Performance awards to 330 districts, one of which was Lee’s Summit. Ironically, Lee’s Summit is also one of the districts that received federal sanctions this year for not making enough progress, yet they received a state award for distinction in performance? So some districts that received criticism when Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) results were released in August are now celebrating their state distinction? While students on average met the standards qualifying the district for the state award, subgroups of students (special education, black or those receiving free or reduced-price lunch which comprise 25% of our student population) did not. Is that acceptable? Sherri Tucker does not think so and neither do many other Lee’s Summit residents, myself included.
In addition, our tax levy is the second highest in Jackson County. According to the Lee's Summit District Newsletter, we spend the least amount on our students. We are 4th out of 6 school districts for teacher's salaries and we are 3rd out of 6 school districts for administrator's salaries. Where is all of that money going? Could it be continued construction of new and expensive facilities that we don’t really need?
Lately it seems the current board feels that we need to make Jackson County raise the assessments on our houses. I agree with Sherri Tucker’s viewpoint of cutting back on unnecessary expenses and put the focus back on the business of education. These cuts need to affect all departments including administration. We need to educate all of our children and not just the ones that make us look good. It is not just important to have a good reputation, but to live up to it as well.
I would ask the people of Lee's Summit to do their homework. Get the real facts and then vote for Sherri Tucker. No matter what you may read, Ms. Tucker is not a single-issue candidate. Sherri knows her facts as well, if not better than the other candidates or those currently seated on the board. We desperately need Sherri Tucker representing all of our children. We cannot continue in the direction that we are currently headed. Our children’s’ lives depend on decisions that our board makes. Right now they are not making decisions in the best interest of all of our children