Piper district prepares for future jobs

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by Murrel Bland

In 2033, half of the jobs that are available aren’t in existence today. It will be most important for students to be prepared to meet the challenge of these jobs.

That was the message from Dr. Jessica Dain, superintendent of the Piper School District, who was the keynote speaker at the Annual Membership Meeting of Business West Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Rowe Ridge Vineyard and Winery in the Piper community. A voluntary committee from the Piper community created a strategic plan so that students would have a competitive edge.

Dr. Dain said this plan has an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, cross-cultural skills, self-reliance, communication skills, social and emotional well-being and creativity and innovation.

Dr. Dain said a program of academies starts in the eighth grade. Students are exposed to various areas of business including design, production and repair, entrepreneurship, fine arts, aeronautics, digital communication and graphic design, animal and plant science, health and life sciences, public services and information technology. Internships at area businesses are an important part of this program. A plurality of students has expressed an interest in entrepreneurship.

Dr. Dain came to the Piper School District about two years ago from the Olathe School District where she was an assistant superintendent. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from Emporia State University and a doctorate from St. Louis University. She and her husband, Dr. Todd Dain, are the parents of two daughters and a son.

The Piper District can trace its history to 1920 when it opened with 65 students. Today it has more than 2,500 students. The district plans to seek a bond issue next January to meet growing student enrollment.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

Bank account monitoring proposal draws opposition

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by Murrel Bland

The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing its annual Legislative Agenda — something that traditionally takes a few months. (Its Legislative Committee met Friday, Oct. 8, via Zoom.)

But a proposal that would let the IRS monitor the inflow and outflow of money from bank accounts has caused the chamber to move much more quickly. The issue is the proposal that would allow the IRS the power to monitor individual and business accounts with transactions of $600 or more.

Craig Gaffney, a former Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board and a senior officer with Country Club Bank, urged the chamber to oppose the IRS proposal. The chamber’s Board of Directors would need to approve any such issue.

Gaffney said the proposal would force financial institutions to hire additional employees.

Gaffney cited an editorial published Oct. 4 in The Wall Street Journal. The editorial said the proposal is part of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen says the proposal will help catch tax cheats; yet there is little or no evidence that the plan will work.

There is also concern that the proposal is a very serious invasion of privacy. Critics say the reporting would be a dragnet on regular taxpayers, not a target on the rich, according to an article in marketwatch.com.

Trade associations including the American Bankers Association, the Kansas Bankers Association and the Community Bankers Association of Kansas have opposed the IRS proposal.

Once the chamber has prepared its resolution, it will be forwarded to U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-3rd Dist.)

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.
Opinions expressed here are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the publication.

Federal stimulus spending considered necessary

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

The federal government had to take bold action because of the financial hardship that the coronavirus pandemic caused.

At least that was the message from U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., when she spoke to the Congressional Forum, via teleconference, at Children’s Mercy Park, Friday, Sept. 17. She had originally planned to appear in person, but opted for a teleconference because of a family emergency.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which is also called the COVID-19 stimulus package or simply the American Rescue Plan, is estimated to cost $1.9 trillion.

Part of the stimulus plan was the Paycheck Protection Plan; employers affected by the pandemic could apply for loans which, if conditions were met, could be forgiven. Banks report this as most helpful, particularly for restaurants.

Rep. Davids said she supports a new stimulus funding for restaurants; she said several restaurants, particularly smaller independent operations, were left out.

Rep. Davids was asked about her feelings about Congressional redistricting. She said there should have been more notice given about public meetings concerning redistricting. There were 14 meetings across the state, including one at Kansas City Kansas Community College and another in Johnson County.

Republican political operatives have suggested that Wyandotte County and Johnson County be separated. This would dilute Rep. Davids’ Democrat base. She lives in Roeland Park, which is in Johnson County.

Rep. Davids already has potential Republican opposition; Amanda Adkins, who lost to Rep. Davids in 2020, has announced she will run again.

Forum members expressed concern about excessive government spending. Joe Vaught, a commercial real estate agent, warned about borrowing more money than the federal government can repay. Bill Schmidt, a certified public accountant, said that government borrowing should be limited to the value of the gross national product.

Paul Bush, a banker with First State Bank, said he was concerned about the proposal that would require banks to report most all banking transactions of account holders. This would be an invasion of personal privacy, he said. Rep. Davids said she would look into the matter.

The Congressional Forum is a function of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.