Spring is a season of reunions – schools and their graduating classes, families, social clubs and civic groups, among many others, all finding ways to re-connect, celebrate the old times, reminisce.
Lindsborg is no exception, and for one special group, a big one is in the works. In early April, the Bethany College Alumni Office mailed 1,100 letters to people who, in one way and another, had been part of the school’s football program under legendary head coach Ted Kessinger.
The plan is to invite players, coaches, managers, trainers, secretaries, chaplains, and others who were involved with Bethany football from 1976 through 2003. More than a thou-sand names have come up, Kessinger says, “and we’re still not sure we have them all.”
range of activities and programs over Midsummers weekend, June 20-21, all to the celebration of memories that span at least 277 games over 28 seasons.
Reunion activities – the list continues to grow – will be on or near the college campus, and in downtown Lindsborg. The lure for this event lies in its historic fellowship, an era under a coach who insisted that the way a player lived was more important than the way he played football, although the two were almost always bound by a common faith. It seemed to work well, almost magically over four decades, as Kessinger’s Swedes built a record of 219-57-1 over 28 seasons.
There are bound to be memories. “We want this reunion to be about good fellowship, about honoring the past and remem-bering the players who have passed away, and about thanking this wonderful community for all that it has given us over the years,” Kessinger said. “Lindsborg has been an integral part of all this and we want to express that over and over again.”
We plan more reports about the football reunion as plans become final and the reservations roll in. Not-so-incidentally, alumni events are at no charge. Funds have been raised to cover the banquets, music and meals, and other activities, including special entertainment for children.
This event will no doubt produce an all-star crowd. The suc-cess stories from alums and families will be countless, with credit to the college, the community, the coach.
Kessinger was inducted into the national College Football Hall of Fame in 2010, the NAIA Hall of Fame (2003), and Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (2005); his Swedes finished in the NAIA top 25 poll 20 separate times and won 16 conference titles and 13 National Championship playoff appearances. Kessinger never had a losing season. When he retired in 2003, Kessinger was the NAIA’s most successful active coach in both percentage of victories (.792) and total wins. Kessinger’s teams comprised successful athletes and scholars – nearly 400 All-KCAC players, 43 NAIA All-Americans and 49 NAIA All-America Scholar-Athletes.
Modest almost to a fault, the coach will have little of more applause headed his way. What is important, he will say, is how those he coached developed their lives, the shape of their spirit and character, their growth as decent, unselfish and hon-orable human beings – that is what matters.
The reunion is bound to bring evidence of that, and more. Stay tuned.
Favorable tax news from Lindsborg
Lindsborg City Administrator Greg DuMars reports that Lindsborg again ranks favorably for low tax rates among the 123 first and second class cities in Kansas.
DuMars cited figures from the 2015 Budget Year Report from the League of Kansas Municipalities, which compares, among other things, budget documents from 98 second class and 25 first class cities.
Lindsborg’s municipal levy, 39.574 mills ($39.57 per $1,000 assessed valuation) was 22nd lowest among second class cities. The city’s assessed valuation this year is $21.9 million, mean-ing that a mill in property taxes generates roughly $21,900.
was 11.354 mills (Mission) and the highest was in Osborne, at 94.966 mills.
Osborne (pop. 1,416) with an assessed property valuation at $5.7 million, must tax at a higher rate to generate revenues needed for its municipal budget. Mission, pop. 9,516 in Johnson County, with $117.2 million in property valuation – 20 times that of Osborne – needs a far lower levy to generate sufficient funding for its budget.
The total levy in Lindsborg, including taxes for schools, the city, McPherson County, capital outlay, bond debt and other items, is 126.905 mills. That total tax ranks 8th low-est among the second class cities. The lowest is 91.572 mills (Nemaha County) and the highest is 238.8 mills, for Belleville in Republic County.
Comparing the budgets of first and second class cities com-bined, Lindsborg’s municipal levy ranks 33rd lowest among the 123; the lowest (11.354 mills) is, again, in Mission. The highest is 94.966 mills, in Osborne.
Lindsborg’s total levy (126.905 mills) puts the city 16th lowest among all first and second class cities. Among these, the lowest is 64.495 mills (Osawatomie), and the highest is Belleville’s, at 238.038.
It might be noted that of Lindsborg and 15 other cities with the lowest city-county taxes, nine are in Johnson County.
Other local budget figures:
Salina, $407.5 million assessed property valuation, city levy, 27.080 mills; total, including schools and county, 133.852 mills.
McPherson, $108.3 million valuation, city levy, 51.330 mills; total levy, 140.027 mills.
Hesston, $28.3 million valuation, city levy 33.741 mills; total levy, 132.368 mills.
Abilene, $51.9 million valuation, city levy, 45.438 mills; total levy, 149.958 mills.
Newton, $118 million valuation, city levy, 52.096 mills; total levy, 150.568 mills.
Topeka to local schools: Close early or close for good (Whatever…)
Schools in Smoky Valley USD 400 will close three days early this year thanks to mid-year budget cuts from the Kansas Legislature. This announcement came last week, one among many similar stories across the state: schools are slashing pro-grams, cutting teachers or closing buildings as the governor’s attack on public education takes hold.
The governor’s brown shirts in the legislature have slashed hundreds of millions from state school finance in the past two school years. Those cuts were frozen in place as lawmakers junked the state school finance formula, kicked in an extra pit-tance, and replaced the formula with block grants that send a check to districts based on the aid they received last year.
employer pension funding and property tax relief. There are no provisions for books and supplies, rising insurance and utility costs, enrollment fluctuations or transportation expense, among others. Even the current level of block funding, with a $50 million cut this year, is not guaranteed. Legislators return to Topeka on April 29 for a wrap up session facing a $600 mil-lion revenue shortfall.
The Legislature’s attack on local schools, especially in rural regions, is forcing further cuts or closings across Kansas. A report from the Kansas Association of School Boards notes, among the local cuts:
-Haven USD 312 will close Mount Hope Elementary School; Skyline USD 438, in Pratt County, now needs an extra $118,000 to meet its June payroll; Concordia USD 333 and Twin Valley USD 240 are cutting their school years by a week and two weeks; Winfield USD 465 will close an intermediate school for 5th and 6th graders; Eudora USD 291 faces enroll-ment increases in Douglas County, east of Lawrence, plus the attendant operating expenses, but with a budget that has been cut and frozen. Further budget cuts and tuition increases are in the works.
The list is longer, but you get the idea. The Legislature and the governor have created a two-year, $900 million budget deficit on their Glide Path to Zero, the plan to eliminate the Kansas income tax – in the high brackets, that is.
The schools, especially rural ones, are told to foot the bill.