If stuff breaks, teachers get bill | Sept. 14 article
Asking teachers to pay is bizarre
Will we also be installing parking meters in the school parking lots for faculty and staff, or just the $2 per day honor system as in the county parks?
Unfortunately, teachers made the first mistake years ago when they started purchasing school supplies on their own. No raises in years then they were told to contribute to their own pension plans. Now this! If these were highly paid members of a unionized trade, they would be supplying all of their own tools and be responsible for maintenance, repairs and replacements. Asking teachers, or any employee, to assume responsibility for technical equipment is totally bizarre and beyond comprehension.
What is truly indicated is a state law for appointed school superintendents, who would be career educators with administrative qualifications, and not career politicians, who are essentially clueless about education.
R. Smith, Port Richey
School Board adopts 2011-12 budget | Sept. 14 article
Unfair budget not set in stone
While staff writer Jeffrey Solochek did a good job of hitting the highlights, I'd like the public to know the entirety of my comments to the Pasco School Board:
"When I spoke to you in August I said that I didn't hold the board responsible for the tough financial condition the district is in and that the blame lays in Tallahassee and in D.C. and in the voters who put those people in power. But I did ask the board to use fairness and compassion in deciding how to deal with this ongoing crisis.
"Unfortunately, I must say that I am profoundly disappointed by, and grieved by, the board's decision to once again balance the budget on the backs of the employees who give their hearts and souls to the children of Pasco County.
"Disappointed by the board's inability to find other ways to save money. Especially when every day I drive into work and see new concrete and stucco signs for the district offices. Yes, I know all about different pockets, but I also know that those pockets have some flexibility, and that the taxpayer sees only one pocket, his pocket from which this money flows, and when we say, 'We need more' he thinks of those signs and all of the other non-mission-critical ways that those other pockets have used his hard-earned tax dollars. And he rightly says, 'No. If you can spend money on signs, you have enough of my money.'
"Grieved by the board's decision to apply the burden of furloughs uniformly to all employees, whether that means a few less dinners at fancy restaurants to some, or not visiting our families at Christmas to others, or yet more no-meat dinners at home to many more than we would like to admit. That's not the right way, that's not the fair way, that's not the Christian way, it's the easy way.
"So I ask the board to ease my disappointment and lessen my grief by remembering what you say every year at this time when you vote to approve a budget. That this budget is not set in stone. That changes can be made as needs and resources change. That, to paraphrase Ebenezer Scrooge, the writing on this stone may be sponged away and the courses of our lives may be changed for the better."
Pat Connolly, Zephyrhills
Leaders help to shrink economy
I was not fortunate to be at the crowded hearing regarding the proposed treatment plant for Northeast Pasco. But, what a thrill to know there are people who would like Pasco County money to go to other uses.
When you read that the county budget approximates $1 billion a year, don't be fooled. A lot of that goes into utilities, not the general fund. Thus the plan to build more utilities to ''stimulate growth" in this case. I always thought these plants were to answer for growth happening now, but this one is to accommodate some future growth.
Why not spend the money on current needs? The county budget is not a deficit spender. It's financial situation does not resemble the federal government with its deficit problems. The Jeb Bush and Tea Party economics say to cut spending, so the County Commission chose to cut it where it hurts: Public services including parks, libraries, animal services, county jobs and employees' pension contributions.
Of the $156 million or so general fund budget, more than $80 million goes to the sheriff each year, no matter who he is, whether he is old and stubborn like Bob White, or young and handsome and unknown quantity like Chris Nocco. All other county services then have to grovel for their needs from what is left.
The economy is shrinking. By socking away money and cutting county jobs, instead of spending for public services as if they served our needs (and they do), the County Commission is only making the economy shrink more. You don't stop recession by not spending, or by laying off county employees. You make it worse.
Kathy Lambert, Dade City
Citizens rude and incompetent
People of Florida, be warned of the horrific level of service to expect if you should have to file a property claim with Citizens Property Insurance.
Adjusters constantly ignore your voicemail attempts to contact them. Senior adjusters are rude and incompetent in their analysis of Florida sinkhole statutes. I have a sinkhole on my property and the company told me to go ahead and fix the damage. After the cost overran the policy limit, adjusters told me they weren't responsible to pay above the policy. Anyone who has been awake the last few years knows that once an insurance company tells the customer to fix a property they must see the project through completion.
It has taken a lawsuit and publicity from a news broadcast to finally get Citizens to pay the stabilization company. Citizens is still refusing to pay for cosmetic repairs to my property some of which include demolished sidewalks and patio. Now they have the nerve to gouge Floridians for unconscionable rate increases. Fellow citizens we must stand up against these increases and demand that Gov. Scott intervene and do something right for once.
Eric McCollum, Spring Hill