Editor: In the past I have, on occasion, seen fit to take issue with initiatives presented by the Pasco County School Board and the public school administration. My initial reaction to the proposed 1-cent sales tax was negative. Nevertheless, I have attended public discussions of the tax proposal with an open mind. Also I have followed up with conversations with Tom Weightman and John Long.
In arriving at a firm and informed opinion, I had to resolve several concerns:
1. Is this measure really necessary? Here I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely necessary.
2. Are there workable alternatives? There are none that I know, and I can personally assure you that the 45-15 year-round solution has already proven itself counterproductive.
3. Will this perpetuate itself into a permanent burden on the taxpayer? The answer is only if we were to extend it, at the polls, beyond its five-year sunset provision.
I still have one major misgiving that will not be resolved. I strongly object to this measure being offered to the public through a special referendum. But, I am not willing to vote against what I consider to be an essential and fundamental element in the educational process.
I am not part of an organized effort to pass this measure. However, I do hope that everyone who votes on this issue will be informed and will vote on the basis of the consequences of its failure.
James L. Hollingsworth
Quality education depends on tax
Editor: As a graduate student, I realize the importance of receiving a quality education. Recently, I have become concerned with our educational system. It seems our community does not understand the present and future classroom shortages.
I have seen how a lack of funding has affected classroom instruction. My mother is a science teacher in Pasco County. She prides herself on being a hands-on teacher, not one that simply teaches out of a book. The students were exposed to hands-on science experiments on a regular basis. This was a way of getting the students involved in a subject that often proved difficult for them to understand. However, because of the growing number of students and the lack of classroom space, she will now have to teach science in a portable classroom. This will certainly curtail the amount of hands-on teaching that she will do. Portable classrooms are not equipped with the facilities necessary for science experiments. The facilities necessary are not elaborate: simply counter space, sinks and tables. So, as a result of a lack of funding, our students are penalized.
The proposed 1-cent sales tax would enable our schools to build more classrooms, thus providing our children with a better education. I cannot imagine anyone not supporting education and this sales-tax referendum. Please vote yes on Sept. 12.
Lorie L. Gerken, Stetson law student,
New Port Richey
All are obligated to support schools
Editor: I retired and moved to Florida several years ago after working and raising my children in another state. I don't know a great deal about the schools in Pasco County, but I do know this: One of the main reasons our country is so great and has such a high standard of living is our commitment and dedication to educating our children. When I was a youngster, it was common to see adults who could not read or write. Now in this great country, unlike so many other countries, nearly everyone 6 years old and up can read and write.
My children may have gone to school in another state, but I know that it is the obligation of everyone who loves this country and wants to see us maintain our position of greatness throughout the world to support education.
The papers have reported the rapid growth occurring in Pasco schools caused in part by so many of us retiring here and the fact that state school construction dollars are being cut by more than 50 percent. I will gladly support a penny sales-tax increase for school construction. I hope all of my retiree friends will also.
Harold Levine, New Port Richey
Growing schools need tax money
Editor: As a recent graduate of Pasco County schools, I am writing to ask your readers to support the 1-cent sales tax that will be on the ballot Sept. 12.
Pasco County is growing, and with this growth are more kids who will be attending our schools. Our schools are already overcrowded, and without this tax they will have to go on double sessions.
Please vote yes on Sept. 12.
Robert Maxson, Zephyrhills
Is special election really necessary?
Editor: "Cut the Fat."
This is what Commissioner Ed Collins and Times Editor of Editorials Dave Hackett are saying. I readily agree the fat should be cut at all levels of government, federal, state and county.
Our School Board is requesting a 1-cent sales tax increase. They want a special election that will cost taxpayers approximately $120,000. The tax will pay for new classrooms and equipment. When the general election is only months away, why the special election? This 1-cent tax increase will constitute one of the highest tax increases ever. So why not wait for the general primary election to decide the issue, instead of having the vote when mainly only the people with the greatest interest will turn out to vote? I have no doubt the School Board needs this money, but why the special election when you are trying to cut the fat?
I question also why every year you condemn and criticize the Sheriff's Office for its budget? With criminal activities as they are, we need all the protection that we can get, and the need is just as great as the need in the educational system.
The Sheriff's Office has to cover the entire county, the incorporated as well as the unincorporated areas. The deputies are sworn to stop crime wherever they find it. The deputy making the arrest in the Pussycat Club in New Port Richey was doing his duty, even though New Port Richey has a police department. The deputy just happened to be there when an arrest needed to be made.
However, I do question the expenditure of $120,000 for the special election.
W. Ray Elliott, Bayonet Point
Times should leave sheriff alone
Editor: In recent editions there has been much criticism of the way Sheriff Lee Cannon runs the Sheriff's Office. The Pasco Times should stick to the work of a newspaper by printing the news and letting the sheriff run his department.
Michael J. Diglio, Port Richey
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