Give us details, Progress Energy
At the end of May, the residents in my area received a letter from Progress Energy telling us our homes are in the projected path of the new transmission lines. It did not say how the homes were going to be effected or when.
When calling Progress Energy, we all received different stories. Either we were going to be bought out at what we paid plus 10 percent, or the new lines were going to be added to the existing poles. But those poles might be moved due to the expansion of Sunshine Grove Road.
So, with this mystic letter that raised more questions and caused more rumors, we are now all in limbo. Homes that were for sale can't sell. People who had home projects planned are not sure if they should spend the money only to have their home bought out by eminent domain in the next year or so. I know lawyers already have been contacted and community committees have been formed, and it all might be a waste if Progress Energy would just be respectful of the homeowners and be straightforward.
Stop playing with our lives. Limbo is not a fun game to play unless you're at a party. We're ready for straight, clear-cut answers from Progress Energy.
Danielle Abernethy, Brooksville
Re: Trips, not tests, mark end of year at schools | May 30 Dan DeWitt column
Trips offer more than a day of fun
Mr. Tyree's fifth-grade class at Chocachatti Elementary School read DeWitt's column wherein he expressed his views concerning school field trips. He said too much time was being spent on fun activities and not enough on tests. Our class discussed it and composed the following response.
First, DeWitt said that summer break is long enough, yet he took his own son out of school a week early for a family vacation. Also, if all kids shouldn't enjoy the activities, because they don't work hard enough, then who should be allowed to go?
Secondly, DeWitt wrote that our special events were not that special. Maybe not from the view of a newspaper columnist, but from a fifth-grader's point of view, they are pretty special. DeWitt tried to illustrate his point by writing that his son's favorite part of the Disney Quest field trip was shooting baskets, and he already does that at home. Isn't it possible his son just really enjoys shooting baskets, wherever it might be? DeWitt also seemed concerned about money being squandered on "useless souvenirs." This is an individual parental decision and can be easily remedied by not giving your child money for souvenirs.
DeWitt also must have been unhappy about the roller-skating. One of our most important classes in school is physical education. The national news has told us about the childhood obesity epidemic and our own state has issued mandatory time requirements for students to have in PE. Isn't a roller-skating trip a great way to keep kids active and fit?
Another activity that DeWitt mentioned was a field trip to see a high school play. The play was about Robin Hood. After returning to school, a discussion was held about the trip. Some students enjoyed it, while others didn't, and isn't this what movie critics do for a living? Remember, one of the primary focuses at Chocachatti is the arts. Many of our students want to continue acting throughout their school years, and this exposure is vital to them.
One final thought: What would have happened to Florida had some columnist told Walt Disney to quit wasting his time with empty fun — drawing mice!
Scott Tyree's fifth-grade class, Chocachatti Elementary School, Brooksville
Re: Hasty move on gifted program left Hernando parents behind | June 8 editorial
Gifted program is chance for change
Your editorial has allowed me the opportunity to present a more positive point of view. "This important undertaking has been undermined" not by "zeal and haste," but by the uninformed and misguided words of those with a self-serving agenda.
Our School Board has not "failed to get the necessary buy-in from a majority of parents." Shame on you, Jeff Webb (author of the editorial); that comment is extremely misleading. As you were told, the figure 188 was very premature. I contacted the district June 10 and the number was 210 and climbing daily.
The most misunderstood statement tossed around lately is regarding the costs of the new center. When you state the "school (will) cost taxpayers between $700,000 and $900,000 more this year," I have to ask you, "more" than what? More than what other students cost? By using that one little word, "more," you sensationalize and exaggerate something that shouldn't be an issue at all. Did you watch the board meeting when the costs were submitted to the board for approval? The costs outlined were for teachers' salaries, textbooks, media personnel, etc. You know, costs that would be generated by these children regardless of the school they attend and whether they receive gifted services. Somehow I don't think you would feel comfortable presenting "more" costs that might potentially limit participation for children on the other end of the ESE spectrum.
The school district has never "forced" any child to attend the center. From the start, the board has given parents ample opportunity to learn and make informed decisions through the workshops and board meetings. The bottom line for all parents, though, is change. I believe the opposing parents are underestimating their children's abilities to adapt to the change, and giving greater importance to their sense of personal inconvenience this imposes upon their lives.
This move is a unique opportunity to present "change" to our children and teach them how to happily and successfully adapt to it. The earlier we can instill these life skills the better off they will be, especially if a certain amount of personal sacrifice is needed. After all, we are then teaching by example.
If the parents' final choice is to remain at their school, rest assured, general public, your child will still receive a stellar education. Don't let a few parents' misguided sense of entitlement to demand additional services compromise what the majority of the gifted population is now seeking. Don't let the hard work of our School Board and task force members go to waste. They've made sure every gifted child receives the best education possible. Have faith in the ability of your child. Often our children are far more adaptable, understanding and resilient than we parents are.
Lori Lee, Brooksville