Thumbs up

High school students raise money for the disabled
Four Smoky Valley High School seniors decided to try to change the world for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Whitney Willems, Tiffani Peterson, Morgan Willems and Abigail Householter organized a fundraiser for Multi Community Diversified Services Saturday for their Change the World senior project.
The fundraiser included musical performances, a bake sale and a silent auction with homemade items and items donated by local businesses and residents. It raised $800.

County changes burning regulations
We give a thumbs up this week to McPherson County for amending its burning rules. Residents in unincorporated areas of the county cannot burn six hours before or six hours after a red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service.
Officials hope this will reduce the number of controlled burns that rekindle or become out of control.
The change will improve safety and hopefully conserve public safety resources.

Thumbs sideways

Area school districts battle over busing
When the Kansas Legislature allowed outside districts to bus within 2.5 miles of other districts’ schools, they started an enrollment battle between the Little River and Smoky Valley school districts.
Smoky Valley has been losing enrollment from its outlying communities. This is expected to increase with the closure of Marquette Elementary School.
We support school choice.
However, this busing issue has made it difficult for the Smoky Valley school district to budget.
It also has meant tax dollars are being spent to bus children longer distances, which is an inefficiency.
Parents should be able to choose to send their students out-of-district, but they should be required to provide their own transportation.

Mac Senior Center meals programs need community’s help
The Friendship Meals and Meals on Wheels programs based at the McPherson Senior Center are vitally important to the McPherson and Lindsborg seniors who are fed by the programs. It often is the only hot meal the seniors eat each day.
However, under-utilization of the program and government budget cuts are threatening the viability of the program.
We urge McPherson seniors to use the program. Only one meal eaten at the center per month would greatly improve the program’s bottom line and ensure its survival for the future.
Younger members of the community can donate funds to the program or offer to volunteer to deliver to homebound residents.

Thumbs down

Legislature seeks to move city, school board elections
We do not support efforts by the Kansas Legislature to move city and school board elections to fall.
Electing school board members in spring helps members to become acclimated to their positions before they have to make significant decisions on budgets and policy during the school year.
The spring elections also are nonpartisan. This keeps the focus on local issues and candidate’s qualifications and not party lines.
Moving these elections to fall also may reduce interest in important local issues when debate is focused on larger elections.

— Cristina Janney for The McPherson Sentinel Editorial Board.