Raytown schools vs. Brookside Soccer Club
The Kansas City Star
The heated battle over spending Raytown School District dollars to help build a youth soccer complex in Swope Park has provoked an old-fashioned letter-writing duel.
Raytown school officials this week put together sample letters of support for the district’s position that Kansas City should not be allowed to divert millions in educational funding for the soccer project.
Last week, the Brookside Soccer Club - which would benefit from the new fields - urged its members to write to Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders so he would switch his position and support the soccer plans.
To get a flavor of what both sides are saying, first up is a sample letter from the Raytown District to the Tax Increment Financing Commissioners who are set to vote on the matter in early January.
After that, take a look at Brookside Soccer’s form letter to Sanders.
FROM RAYTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT:
I urge you to reconsider your vote at the upcoming January 9 meeting of the Winchester TIF Commission. The Raytown School District has always been a good steward of tax payer monies, and the anticipated surplus amount of $4 million Raytown is expected to receive from Winchester TIF payments is a much needed boost to our district. It is unfair to tax payers such as myself to continue this TIF and allow developers who do not live or do business in the impacted areas to reap the rewards.
In the business of educating children, districts’ funding sources are local tax levies and state budget allocations. It is important to account for and collect all monies due, including those due from TIFs and to not have to ask patrons for levy increases. Extensions and amendments to TIFs like the Winchester TIF rob districts of funds which are rightfully theirs and which can be used for curriculum, professional development, additional staff, technology, building upgrade and repairs, and transportation, not to mention teacher salaries. As a taxpaying patron of the Raytown School District, I urge you to vote to end the Winchester TIF and to pay forward the surplus due each tax district.
Commissioner names and addresses:
Ron Yaffe firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Glynn email@example.com
Barrett Hatches firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelley Martin email@example.com
Estella Morales firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM BROOKSIDE SOCCER CLUB:
Dear Mike Sanders,
As a citizen of Jackson County, I am contacting you to support proposed 6th Amendment of the Winchester TIF. This plan is critical in providing much needed infrastructure and fields for the Kansas City, Mo. community. Also, it would allow the Brookside Soccer Club (a not-for-profit, volunteer based youth soccer organization) to continue to grow and provide vital programming for inner-city and mid-town KCMO youth.
The Brookside Soccer Club, which has been playing games in Swope Park since 2003, has already had a positive impact on this community. Some important facts on the impact of the Brookside Soccer Club include:
· BSC provides youth soccer for more than 4,000 kids annually; from 77 zip codes, 120 schools and whose ages range from 4-18
· More than 110,000 soccer spectators visit Swope Park annually
· BSC’s move to Swope Park in 2003 was a significant catalyst to the revitalization of Swope Park at 63rd and Lewis Road
· BSC is one of the largest recreational soccer clubs in the region
· BSC leverages over 30,000 hours in volunteer efforts annually
· BSC’s participation has grown 10% each year for the last 10 years