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During the Candidate Forum sponsored by The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudorareporter.com, Representative Anthony Brown made the statement that two members of the school board told him that the cuts made to the K-12 education budget allowed the district to cut the “dead weight” from the school district.
In an attempt to try to fact check the statement, we talked to every member of the School Board. All seven of the School Board members denied that they told Representative Brown they budget cuts allowed the district to eliminate “dead weight” from the district.
Board President Joe Pyle defended his fellow board members when asked about the statement.
“I cannot imagine any of our board members using language such as “dead weight”. The last several years have been very difficult for our district and particularly for all of our dedicated and hardworking staff. I am consistently amazed how hard our teachers, administration, and support staff within the district work to provide an outstanding educational experience for the children in the Eudora school district. Our schools are top notch and this is due to our dedicated educational professionals.”
Joe Hurla stated in his denial that the pain of the cuts to the community and the educational mission of the district were big.
“Our dedicated administration and staff have worked diligently to minimize the negative impact of these cuts. Perhaps Mr. Brown has misconstrued the success of our district in rising to meet those challenges as a justification for prolonging and exacerbating them.”
Hurla further went on to talk about the fiscal responsibility of the board and administration.
“If anyone on our board felt there was any “dead weight,” we would have sought to eliminate it on our own and re-allocate resources to appropriate areas. We work constantly to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and responsibly; if there is an opportunity to reduce the tax burden on our community, the board of education will embrace that opportunity on its own – not wait for Mr. Brown and others in Topeka to mandate it.”
Belinda Rehmer vehemently denied any involvement in the statement as well.
“Absolutely no, the budget cuts for the Eudora Schools were not good for the district. And we will NOT be able to sustain any further cuts and still maintain the quality education standards we have worked so hard to achieve.”
Mike Kelso weighed in on the economic impact of the cuts.
“The cuts that were made affected peoples lives and careers. No good came from those cuts, at all.”
We did follow up with Representative Brown, informing him that the entire board publicly denied making the statement and asked if any of the board members used the exact term “dead weight” in their conversations with him. Brown said that one of the two members he spoke to did in fact use those exact words. Brown also again refused to name the two board members that allegedly told him the statements.
We asked if any other board members had reached out to him in an attempt to discuss the cuts the state was making in education funding and Brown stated that no others did.