Superintendent's top issue: funding
As the Hernando County School Board begins its process to find a successor to Superintendent Bryan Blavatt, it is disturbing to discover how little some of the board members actually know about the position's fundamental responsibilities and the intellectual acumen necessary to succeed. A board majority lazily approved Dianne Bonfield's embarrassing and flawed logic that the applicants needed a master's degree in education.
The school superintendent in just about any district in the United States is first and foremost an administrator. He or she has to simultaneously manage fiduciary responsibilities to the state and to the district. This executive must be able to effectively encourage and advance our schools toward excellence with quantifiable results. Let's not preclude capable applicants from applying because of a few board members' naivete. It reflects poorly on all of us.
It would be encouraging if the board discussed how the next superintendent might work with the Florida Department of Education to reach funding parity with neighboring counties. The board and Hernando's next school superintendent both need to learn how much funding we're losing annually and stop the bleeding. Until they understand the severity and the history of the problem they cannot work together to correct long-standing inequities. State funding is integral to the success or failure of any school district. When a school board accepts crumbs (according to DOE, Hernando ranks 61 out of 67 counties in per-student funding) without protest, that must change. What will this board do? And, what should it ask its new superintendent to do about it?
Let's hire a superintendent with the vision to lead and determination to secure adequate financial support for Hernando schools. And once we make the selection, let's give him or her the opportunity to succeed. No need to micromanage unless your own judgment is suspect.
Gregg Laskoski, Spring Hill
Cement industry can't blame regulation | Oct. 12 column
Let kids explain to their parents
Dan DeWitt's column on the politics surrounding the cement industry is right on. It should be presented and fully explained to every elementary school class in Hernando County.
The students will grasp the seriousness of the situation and explain it to their parents, who, so far, don't seem to realize the political manipulation being done to their kids future/health. Determined kids can light a fire under adults like no one or nothing else.
Leon G. Atkinson, Brooksville
Citizens' sinkhole handling wasteful
I have concerns about the process that Citizens has concerning sinkholes. Not everyone has experience with the process and I only have word-of-mouth information, but I am concerned. When sinkholes are identified, the process of repairing the home does not seem to be economically sensible nor timely. The identification to repair process takes more than two years. This doesn't appear to be an emergency situation.
For instance, for a home insured for $300,000 but now appraised for much less, Citizens prefers to fix the sinkhole for the $300,000 rather than settle with the homeowner for one third of what it will cost to stabilize the sinkhole. The repair is only warranted for five years.
It seems to me that Citizens would come out ahead by settling with the homeowner and demolishing the location instead of stabilizing the sinkhole. Thus sinkhole insurance just might be more reasonable. All that cash that is being transferred to sinkhole repair companies would possibly transfer to demolition companies and still provide jobs.
Kathleen Payne, Spring Hill
Make impact fees mandatory
There is no question whatsoever that impact fees should be imposed on every new addition to the community. The economy should not have anything to do with it. The builder or developer walks away with the profit and the buyer is left to pay for the improvements.
I live on a limerock road and in order to have it paved, someone must get all the neighbors to sign up pledging to pay their portion of frontage.
If an impact fee was collected in the beginning of development and placed in an interest-bearing account by the county, then, when sufficient funds had been accumulated, roads could be paved without placing a burden on the homeowner to solicit the funds.
There is no justifiable reason not to require impact fees.
Edwin M. Carle, Brooksville
Dog waste on beach disgusting | Oct. 11 letter
Dog parks pose little disease risk
I, too, am a nurse and think it's absurd a letter writer believes any child would be playing in the waste of any dog anywhere.
Does she stop her child from going to the hospital? There are more virulent diseases there then any dog park.
Besides, when you take your dog to the vet for shots, they do stool and blood checks on the animal to check for diseases.
Janet Mudge, Weeki Wachee
ER nurses at Oak Hill go extra mile
Oak Hill Hospital celebrated emergency nurses week last week. This year's theme was "Every Patient + Every Time Making a Difference," which reflects our dedication to patients requiring emergency care.
Not only do we save the lives of people suffering trauma, heart attack and stroke, but we do offer more to our community to truly make a difference.
We hosted a group of home-schooled students, ages 8 to 15, on a tour of the services and treatments performed in an emergency department. We offered education on safety planning to prevent poisonings in the home, as well as viewing the X-ray of a special patient teddy bear that swallowed a penny. The students gave us a heartfelt thank you that made us feel special and appreciated.
We spent a day with the community at the annual health fair. We offered education on poison control, popcorn, a duck matching game with prizes, and bright and cheerful helium balloons. We spoke to many people of all ages and heard wonderful stories about how they have appreciated our emergency services.
Our emergency nurses have been recognized with accolades and awards for dedicating themselves to a higher level of professional commitment, to be the best that they can be. They have obtained their board certification in emergency nursing and received the first-ever Lantern Award given from the Emergency Nurses Association. As the only ER to require board certification and the only ER in Florida to receive the inaugural prestigious award, we can say to our community that we care about being the best.
Director of Emergency Services, Oak Hill Hospital