Editor: Thank you for allowing me to clarify my positions on several issues that were addressed in your letters to the editor column on April 17:
The first letter states what "Sandra Nicholson thinks," and since he did not talk to me personally, I would like to inform your readers what I really think.
I don't believe the school district should abandon the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. I do think the school district should get out of the county social service arena and concentrate on our students. I do not want to reinvent anything. I personally know of a very good volunteer program that is working in Spartanburg County, S.C., which was modeled after a very successful program in Dade County, Florida. This could work very cohesively with the RSVP.
The second letter writer indicated that the "school board is an offshoot of county government and the county commission should call the shots." I understand that in some states that is the way the system is run, but not in Florida. The two governing agencies are separate, with separate funding and total accountability.
Letter writer Joseph Lentini is absolutely correct in that the RSVP has nothing to do with the date of the sales tax referendum. I don't know why board Chairman John Druzbick brought up the RSVP issue at this time. It is possible that it was because it is budget review time and he thought it was appropriate. We are very much aware that the current program functions for 14 health and medical facilities (many are for-profit) and 44 community, private and public organizations. This is exactly the reason I feel the school district should not be a major funding source for this program.
I often am asked why public schools are more expensive to operate than private systems. This is just one small example of a social expense that I don't think should come out of the school's budget. Yes, it is all YOUR tax money, but my job is to be a good steward of school money. I believe the schools should stick to what we were originally formed to do _ teach, especially reading, writing and math. The schools can't be all things to all people; that's why we have other government agencies. Let us use our money for books, teachers' salaries and the basic needs to enable them to teach.
I will not deny support to the RSVP, but I do believe other financial arrangements should be made. The RSVP director, Joy Blaha-Fifer, and her staff do a wonderful job and deserve all our respect and support.
Sandra K. Nicholson
Hernando County School District
Publicity for AARP
tax program appreciated
Editor: I want to thank the Hernando Times staff for publicizing the AARP Tax Aide Program in your newspaper.
It brought many people to our doors, looking for assistance in doing their Federal Income Tax and their Florida Intangible Tax. In fact, there were almost 2,600 persons who had their taxes filled out by our 64 volunteers.
Keep up the good work in your public assistance programs.
AARP Tax program