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Say no to penny for schools till waste is trimmed

Editor: Do I detect "push" by the schools' "powers that be" urging students to write the editors pleading a "yes" vote on the penny tax? This morning we find school Superintendent Thomas Weightman and Assistant Superintendent John Long stumping for the tax, but when the stressed bus driver complained, asked for help, they had no time to investigate?

With apologies to these young people, I'll vote No! Why? Because I don't trust government that talks out of both sides of its mouth!

When you students become taxpayers, I hope you will vote, take an interest in how your money is spent by those in power.

I am a senior; my daughter, a teacher. We are and always have been champions for education, but with the mess our administrators have made of the educational system, I insist the fat be cut from politics before funding any more screwball ideas by school boards, commissioners or congressmen.

To you other adult letter writers, I wonder how many of you have contacted your representatives in Tallahassee and Washington about the pork barrelers and their brazen attitude that they are privileged to use our money for their vacations, mailings, trips a la Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the king of pork?

Parents are starting their own schools and are paying ever higher fees at colleges where students teach students while the professors lecture (no hands on help) and obtain grants for research! Is this why it's taking five years to graduate from college?

Have you asked where all the lottery money we voted for schools is going? Has your representative answered you? We were conned into that one, for sure.

Has any tax, once voted in, ever been dropped later?

Mrs. J. A. Hugh, Holiday

Penny will save us from overcrowding

Editor: Voter approval of the 1-cent sales tax referendum Sept. 12 is essential if we are to avoid overcrowding of classrooms and possible double sessions in the near future.

These are the facts. More than 7,000 new students entered Pasco County schools during the past five years. Another 7,000 new students are projected for the coming five years. State level funding for school construction is being cut.

In the past we have insisted that our educational facilities be constructed of a degree of quality thatlends itself to long life, low maintenance costs and, it is hoped, at a cost below the average cost for construction of such facilities. In fact, seven projects over the last seven years have been constructed 7 percent to 24 percent lower than the Florida average costs for facilities of this nature.

The voters of Pasco County can be assured that 10 percent of the monies raised by the one-cent sales tax will be spent on school construction, school remodeling, school renovation, school maintenance and other capital improvement projects. Not one red cent will be spent on salaries. That is the law.

Furthermore, this tax will automatically end in five years. That also is the law.

Howard H. Fleming,

School Board architect,

District School Board of Pasco County

Questions about penny need answers

Editor: I'm one who usually keeps quiet knowing there is little I can do to make a change, particularly in government. However, there are a few things that don't add up when it comes to the proposed 1-cent sales tax increase in Pasco County earmarked for county schools.

Why not go to the lottery officials? Wasn't that going to be the "answer all" for school woes? According to the paper, it is making money hand over fist.

Is the school system really hurting that bad? They are sure building some beautiful schools in Pasco County. They are much more than utility-type school buildings. They are showplaces. The new Seven Springs Middle School on Little Road is unreal. The architect's fee alone would boggle your mind.

Last, how about the $500,000 computer for the cafeteria to ensure that the students are getting a nutritious lunch? Must be some computer. Believe me, what goes past the computer checkout does not necessarily go into that student's stomach. There is more trading and swapping going on than any swap meet you have ever been to.

They want to cover up for the students on the free lunch program. Why? The other students already have this figured out.

I have not said I oppose this tax increase. All I want you to do is show me you are spending your money wisely before you want more of mine.

Mr. Weightman, what we owe the students is honesty.

Mr. Long is trying to convince us that this tax will go away in five years. Mr. Long, would you be interested in buying the Sunshine Skyway Bridge?

Walter G. Nagel, New Port Richey

All tax revenue would go to building

Editor: One hundred percent of lottery dollars in Florida have always been spent on education, but the problem is that money that had traditionally been used to fund education is now spent elsewhere in the budget, primarily to build more prisons and assure that prisoners serve longer sentences.

Right or wrong, one must decide, but there was no law nor provision in the Florida Constitution that prohibited our Legislature from doing this.

As director of planning and construction for the Pasco County School Board, I sincerely hope that your readers understand that there is both a law and a provision in the Florida Constitution that clearly specifies that all the money now being spent by the School Board for construction can be spent only on construction and that any money raised by the passage of a one-penny sales tax referendum can only be spent on construction. It is the law!

Not one dime of current construction money nor any new referendum dollars can be spent on salaries, additional staff, or anything but construction.

Michael B. Rapp, Director,

Planning and Construction,

District School Board of Pasco County

Tax increase for schools necessary

Editor: On Sept. 12, Pasco County voters will be asked to approve a 1-cent increase in sales tax. I would like to encourage everyone in Pasco to support our schools and vote yes for this increase.

Our school system grows by more than 1,800 students per year, which equals two new schools per year.

It is expected that state funding for school construction will be cut in half during the next two years and our current budget is not sufficient to keep up with the rapid growth Pasco County faces annually.

If this increase is approved by the voters of Pasco, it will be in effect for only five years. By law, the money must be spent for the construction of new schools, maintenance of buildings, updating of buildings for technology, land acquisition and the purchaseof school buses. If this increase is not approved, Pasco County schools will be faced with continued overcrowding of classrooms and most likely, double sessions.

Please support our students and our future by voting YES on Sept. 12.

Anita C. Mullins, Assistant Principal,

Lake Myrtle Elementary School, Land O'Lakes

Thanks for helping Lions help others

Editor: As outgoing president of New Port Richey Lions Club, I would like to take time to say "thank you" and acknowledge the following groups and individuals for their much appreciated and continued support as we help those in need.

The Salvation Army, for use of the building for eyeglass applications; Dobies Funeral Home for donating used eyeglasses and hearing aids; the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce and local churches for collecting used eyeglasses; missionaries Lorretta and James Coles, for hand-carrying eyeglasses, clothing and food to the orphanage in Jamaica at their own expense; and Mr. Leonard at Kash n' Karry for door space on candy fund-raising days.

For monetary donations we thank Dr. Mark Mathews, Dobies Funeral Home, Dr. Matthew Kraus, Lola, Mike, Mitzie and Boris at Lola's Steak and Seafood Restaurant, and First Federal Bank, and those who stop and drop coins and bills into the cans on our candy day fund raiser. To each of you, many thanks for helping us to continue to served mankind.

Vilma D. Lee, President, Port Richey

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Send your letter to Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668.