School meal cost may go up Jan. 16, article
Schools can't take more money hits
This has got to stop! How much of a hit can the education system and its parents take? Not only do administrators and teachers have to continue to find bare-bone areas to cut, but we parents can only be asked for so much.
The beginning-of-school supply list is out of hand, and only so many families pitch in. What they ask for are clearly supplies the teachers need to do the most basic of tasks: dry erase markers for the boards, copier paper, extra loose-leaf paper for those who do not have any, paper towels, disposable cameras for class projects and events, and more. Gone are the days when we would send in just tissues, extra pencils and some snacks.
Now they are going to raise lunch prices again! And who pays? The middle class. Not the unfortunate families that get free and reduced lunches, which is a very big percentage in much of the county.
I have two middle school students. It already runs my family about $5.50 or more a day. Preparing lunch and having the kids carry extra bags is no better a solution. They already have much to carry, as there are no lockers.
I work closely with the school system as a regular substitute and volunteer and see firsthand how difficult a teacher's job is. The pay is among the lowest in the country and the hours are just as long, or longer, than a so-called regular's job. We simply cannot keep cutting where it is most important. A good education for our kids benefits everyone, young and old alike. There will be less drain on our public assistance system and programs for the needy. Can our legislators see that?
And as a family that does not qualify for any type of assistance, but makes an average living, we are asked to cover the expenses yet again. Florida has some of the highest prices for gas, home insurance and food in the nation, yet salaries are among the lowest. It didn't use to be that way.
Maybe it's time for a state tax. We cannot afford to take away from the foundation of our county: the schools, the police and fire departments, the libraries and so on. Our legislators need to be proactive and find other sources of income for the state and counties.
N. Galasso, Holiday
City attorney was out of line
The failure of the petition asking for an ordinance to vote on whether to dissolve incorporated Port Richey ultimately was the fault of council members Steve O'Neil and Phil Abts. The only election platform I have ever heard O'Neil run on was the 2006 right-to-vote campaign. I guess he has reversed that opinion. Abts, on the other hand, had told a multitude of citizens that he would support the petition. After all, he is the voice of the people. Rubbish. I cannot fault Mayor Richard Rober because he has never stated he supported the petition and obviously doesn't.
However, at the Jan. 13 meeting, it felt as if the city attorney was running the show. Yet another familiar, business-as-usual episode in Port Richey.
The attorney basically refused to write an ordinance giving people the right to a fair vote on dissolving incorporated Port Richey, as the petition requested. The lawyer works for the council. If council members tell him to draw up an ordinance, he needs to do it without prejudice. It would be the council who gives final approval to the ordinance, not the attorney.
His overbearing, negative rant on the petition was out of line, self-serving and mostly ill-informed. His accusation that the petitioners might have gathered signatures before the submitted affidavit was wholly untrue and slanderous.
Since the petition was written by an attorney and procedure was followed as laid out in the charter, in an FDLE report on a previous petition and in a 2004 letter from a prior city attorney, Gerald Figursky, the current attorney's statements were just his opinion and not fact.
Deena Balogh, Port Richey
New gun carry law is frightfully lax | Jan. 15, letter
Expired permit is the exception
The letter writer is blaming all 850,000 Florida carry concealed permit holders for the acts of a few criminals. The fact that Jeffrey Bish had an expired permit shows that he doesn't respect the law.
Why should all Florida permit holders be blamed for Mr. Bish's actions?
I challenge the writer to show me how many law-abiding permit holders have broken the law. He is right that citizens who do not have a felony can get a carry permit, which is their right. Does he want to take that right away from them? How about driver's licences? Should we take away everyone's driver's license because some people drive drunk?
John DiGaetano, Wesley Chapel, president, Tampa Bay Chapter, Second Amendment Club of America