To the editor:
The Republican primary for the Kansas 113th House District presents us with a clear choice between real-world experience and political campaign ideology.
Donna Hoener-Queal has been living that real-world experience, serving as vice-president of the Pratt School Board. Like local elected officials across Kansas, she has worked hard to best meet the needs of her community. She also received the endorsement of 113th Rep. Greg Lewis prior to his passing.
Brett Fairchild has never held an elected public office, not school board member, not county commissioner, not township treasurer, nothing. Yet he is calling on us to put him in the state legislature. And he offers a list of ideas that he maintains will improve Kansas government. His ideas trend long on sounding good and short on reality.
Fairchild’s ideas about education are an example. He states, in recent years, administrators in our state have been receiving 9%, 10%, and sometimes even higher percentage increases. He proposes that the state legislature should dictate maximum raises for administrators. This sounds good, but it is short on reality. First is the notion that we should give up local control of school salaries. The second is the numbers. The state average administrator raise last year was 1.3%. Some district raises were high. Otis-Bison, a 1A Rush County school, reported an increase of 36.1%. But the previous year’s salary was only $32,118, so the new salary was $43,700. We don’t know the why and how of this change, but the good folks in the Otis-Bison district are capable of making such decisions without the state legislature, with the influence of political lobbyist, telling them what to do.
For the 2019-20 school year, Hoener-Queal and the rest of the Pratt board of education did reduce their superintendent salary by 13.5% from the 2018-19 school year. This was not done because of some ideological magic wand. They were able to do this because an experienced superintendent retired and was replaced with a principal promoted as a first-time superintendent. Sometimes the real world provides opportunities and sometimes it does not.
Please put the 113th House District in the real world of responsible government and keep it out of the false world of want-to-believe campaign ideology. Vote for Donna Hoener-Queal on August 4.