New educator pay bill not practical
Recently, Sen. John Thrasher introduced SB 6, which makes drastic changes to the way educators are paid and evaluated. Sadly, this bill passed in the Education Pre-K-12 committee with a vote of 6-2.
This bill makes a feeble attempt to achieve teacher accountability. While I completely agree that we need to ensure we have the best educators (including administration and district personnel) in our school systems, no method of accountability has been introduced that is fair, equitable, and based on controllable variables. The legislation that has been introduced this year and in years past (with MAP and other performance-based pay initiatives) leaves out many components. One vital component to student success is the parents and students themselves.
I ask for a new bill that would attempt to do the same thing as SB 6 but with other state and local employees. While this idea might seem like a joke, it is not. Introducing this bill would show just how ridiculous teacher performance pay ideas are.
Under the bill, all state and local elected officials (including the governor, Legislature, etc.) would have 50 percent of their pay based on: Fiscal responsibility (state and local budgets should be balanced with all necessary programs fully funded), unemployment rate and property values.
Police officers and jailers should have 50 percent of their pay based on: Crime rate, rehabilitation rate, repeat offender rates and response times. Firefighters should have 50 percent of their pay based on: Number of fires, property damage rate (the more damage the lower their pay) and response times.
Tracey Snyder, Zephyrhills
SR 54 mess should be done
Living in Wesley Chapel for more than 10 years, I keep wondering when the nightmare on east State Road 54 will end. A county commissioner told me the delay was caused by the Florida Department of Transportation. But others say that isn't so, the delay was caused solely by our county commissioners who had other priorities such as SR 52, Wesley Chapel Boulevard and other roads in the area around our many shopping malls.
The Florida DOT didn't approve allowing business on that road, some of which must be removed, nor did they approve the many subdivisions or the Wesley Chapel school complex that pump more and more cars on SR 54.
This stretch of SR 54 is the victim of the perfect storm of traffic. Any fool could see it would be a choke point causing grid lock on this two-lane road. Now we must wait another two years for a fix that should have been completed at least five years ago.
If ever there was a poster child for the Hometown Democracy ballot initiative, this mess of east SR 54 is it.
Art Hayhoe, Wesley Chapel
Why so many garbage trucks?
The neighborhood in which I live has three trash haulers come through twice a week plus recycling trucks twice a month. The hauler I use has very few customers considering how large the community is.
Why do we need all these trucks coming through putting wear and tear on our roads?
Elizabeth Bridwell, Hudson
Efforts of work board are positive
I am pleased the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has moved forward to help clean up any lingering doubts about the reputation of the Pasco Hernando Workforce Board by arresting two people with a relationship to the former board that was then under the direction of Lee Ellzey. As important as these arrests are, the greater, and largely unrecognized, work has been the ongoing efforts of current board chairman Ed Blommel to turn this board around. Mr. Blommel and his fellow reformers have done wonders to right the ship and head the once beleaguered agency back in the right direction.
It is disappointing that an anonymous e-mail that disparaged Mr. Blommel and other members of the current board has taken the focus away from the good work he and his fellow advocates for change have done to inspire confidence in the board and the important work it does in the community. Putting people to work is one of Florida's highest priorities, and the Pasco Hernando Workforce Board is doing just that. That is the sort of attention that the board deserves and I hope it will continue to receive the credit it is due.
Mr. Blommel, Mark Barry, Michael Cox and others on the current board deserve great praise for taking the steps to clean house when it was revealed that the former director and some board members were engaging in improper and illegal behavior. Mr. Blommel is a man of great integrity and deserves to continue to complete the successful mission he is currently on: make the name of the Pasco Hernando Workforce Board respected once again. I will be the first to support his efforts and applaud him for all that he has done so far.
State Senator, District 11
Re: School lockdowns
Supervision at school lacking
We received a call at 3:07 p.m. from Anclote High, where my special needs child attends, informing us the buses were going to be approximately an hour behind schedule. I informed her teacher we would come get her. Right next door is my youngest child's school, Paul R. Smith Middle School, which shares buses with the high school. So I called to ask if her bus was going to be late also and when they said yes I said to put her in the office and I would be there to pick her up.
Arriving to her school first I noticed she was standing outside by the car loop without an adult. Around her were high school kids who had cut through school grounds on their way home. I was scared and mad. I got her into the car and went to the office to let them know I didn't appreciate my child being outside when I specifically said to keep her in the office.
I was told she was given permission to stand outside but to stay close in case I came in the office looking for her. I called the School Board and the school to complain but nobody was available to talk to me.
I need to open up the eyes at this school. My little girl could have been hurt or worse grabbed and put in a car.
Jamie Alexander Van Beek, Holiday