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Cutting teachers' pay will end up hurting students

Cutting teachers' pay bad for kids

A story said the Hernando School Board would discuss reducing teacher salaries to cut the budget without hurting classrooms.

This statement is contradictory because the classrooms will be hurt if the Hernando County teachers' salaries are cut. There are several reasons for this.

The teachers would be returning the boost negotiated last spring. Furthermore, Hernando County teachers' salaries are amongst the lowest in Florida.

The classroom population will increase, forcing the teacher to spend less time per student on academics.

Many dedicated, highly-skilled educators may be forced to leave education and enter private industry, where their skills would not only be valued but financially compensated as well.

This would be catastrophic because the purpose of education is to mold our youngest population into good citizens who will enrich society, not diminish it. Our penal system is populated by poorly educated/non-educated men and women. Education is less expensive as opposed to supporting our penal system.

"These are catastrophic times," said superintendent Wayne Alexander. The reader is well aware that America is in the throes of a deep recession. It should not be the burden of Hernando County educators, and by extension its students, to lead the frontal attack against a poor economy. It may take years for our economy to rebound, but during that time, there will be no do-overs for our students.

During harsh economic periods, our citizenry is called upon to sacrifice, and we do. Our youngest, most vulnerable population, requires the educational tools to keep America the greatest nation in the world.

Michelle Misa, Spring Hill

Schools chief: Never mind

Alexander not good for schools

Who is Wayne Alexander kidding? Sure hoping it is not the School Board or the residents of Hernando County who have their children in the school system.

He either did not get a job in Connecticut or maybe it is because his house here has not sold? I mean this is a total joke, this man has done nothing but create more issues in the county schools. The only thing he did was move people and fire people with no concern.

This man is uninvolved and does not care whether our county's children are getting a fair and appropriate education. He could not even handle a meeting with parents when the new Explorer school was opening. Parents with true concerns on what is going to happen with their ESE children had to meet with his ESE committee.

I hope for the sake of the schools in Hernando County, the School Board wakes up and tells him, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out'' with the same compassion he showed to others. Change is good.

Jim Shea, Spring Hill

Flood zone now, after 11 years?

After residing at the same address for 11 years, the Southwest Florida Water Management District sent a letter stating that we may be in a flood zone?

Are the insurance companies trying to collect more money from the consumers than they already do? We may live down the road from Tooke Lake, but we do not live on the lake, and have never even had water standing in our driveway, even after large amounts of rain.

What gives the district the right to say, "Oh, you are in a flood zone now"? I don't think flood zones just appear. This is very aggravating. I feel I am being railroaded into insurance that isn't necessary and costly.

Sandy Bates, Brooksville

Officials must learn to say 'no'

Money is a drug. And some people, no matter how wealthy, seem to never be able to accumulate enough. I understand this better than I understand the fact that our government officials don't seem to be able to just say no to: the development of environmentally sensitive land; developing old mining properties; filling in the swamps; and development around sink holes.

And if they can't help but say yes, then tax the properties immediately on their proposed usage and make the impact fees payable upon receipt of the newly approved plats.

J. Daniel, Spring Hill

Phone in each ear is no way to drive

Is this a record? The other day I saw a man driving on a side road waiting to join the main traffic flow and he had a cell phone on each side of his head. Both his hands were occupied in using each phone at the same time. By the way, he wasn't wearing a seat belt either.

Enough of this nonsense! Get a law passed in this state which gives out heavy fines to these irresponsible people.

Gillian Maden, Spring Hill

Schedule lectures after work hours

I have been coming to the Spring Hill/Brooksville area for 23 years. It was once a sleepy, retirement town where my parents retired. I now live here and with the housing boom a few years ago and the addition of the Suncoast Parkway, there are a lot of younger people living in these communities.

I am in my 40s, live alone and am lucky enough to have a permanent full-time job. I also wake up every day praying it stays that way and I am doing all I can to prepare myself if something should happen to my situation. I read the paper every day and am especially interested in the events section of Business Digest. As I am reading about upcoming workshops, talks, seminars, I find myself very interested in attending these events. But wait! Why are they all during the day on weekdays?

The Women Building Women meeting is having a discussion on financial wisdom to take financial control of your life at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Can't make that one. Wow, a free health and wealth day. Nope, it's 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. Brooksville Natural Foods is having a free chair massage event. Geez, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. "Building confidence and enhancing personal and business communication skills." Sounds like a great lecture and one that would benefit any working individual in any field. Why is it at noon on a Friday?

These were just a few that were in this week's paper. Why are these events held during the day? I am sure I am not the only one in the Spring Hill/Brooksville area that works during the day and would like to benefit from these events.

With the economy the way it is and more people looking for jobs all day, every day, why not have confidence-boosting talks, seminars, and free chair massages in the evenings so we can take advantage of these great events?

Kathie Benton, Brooksville

Avoid DUI fees: Take cab to bars

A letter writer listed all the fees involved when a person is placed on probation for a DUI and how tough it is during severe economic times to pay all this money. He asked for some comments and feedback.

I agree the fees are expensive but send a message to possible future manslaughter defendants. Don't drink and drive. A $10 cab ride from your local bar is still cheap. He seemed perturbed that probation officers violate cases for non-payment.

As a recently retired Florida probation officer let me set the record straight. If we supervised a non-violent case who had trouble paying his or her costs, we usually told them not to fall more than two or three months behind as we would have to notify the court about the arrears. Usually they would work it out and avoid a violation.

The main reason this came to an end is when a probationer would commit a high-profile crime and the media would dig and see the person was in violation for not paying fees, thus have an article stating the subject was in violation at the time and the court was never notified.

Florida statutes stated probation officers should carry no more than 60 cases to be able to supervise them properly. Most officers were closer to 100. Yes, unfortunately the almighty dollar is alive and well in every aspect of life, but let's not make the perpetrators out to be the victims.

Gene Huber, Spring Hill

Swiftmud betrays public's trust

It is disturbing that Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) is supporting the transfer of environmentally-sensitive land in Aripeka to SunWest Acquisitions Inc., a private developer. When Sun West Acquisitions Inc. originally applied for an environmental resource permit in March 2007, the water district had various environmental concerns about the project. Among them:

• Wetland and surface water impacts.

• High potential for sinkhole development.

• Significant historical or archaeological impacts.

• Adverse impacts to sea grass beds and wildlife (the Florida Black Bear, West Indian Manatee, Bald Eagles, Marian's March Wren, and Scott's Seaside Sparrow).

• Possible groundwater contamination (due to limerock being close to the surface and salt water intrusion).

• Possible activities in sovereign submerged lands.

Interestingly enough, when these concerns were formally raised, the developer's consultant withdrew the application within a month's time. In addition, other public and environmental groups have expressed reservations concerning this project.

For example, in April 2008, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (an association of local governments and gubernatorial representatives) concluded that SunWest Acquisition's project could not be determined to be consistent with council policies, nor could impacts to natural resources of regional significance be determined to be of over-riding public interest.

In my opinion, Swiftmud in developing this relationship with SunWest Acquisitions has betrayed the public trust. Existing "Florida Forever" conservation lands should not be swapped to accommodate developers' financial interests (at the taxpayers' and environment's expense).

Our coastal lands are very important to the vitality of our environment, water resources, and wildlife. If the Aripeka land is not valuable, then why did Swiftmud take control of this land to begin with?

I hope our state and local legislators take a good look at what shenanigans may be going on with this land deal.

James Fredericks, Hudson

Cutting teachers' pay will end up hurting students 02/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 6:44pm]
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