1. Archive

Developers should pay for demands they put on schools

Editor: I read with much dismay about how Don Buck has refused to provide the needed access/road paving for a new elementary school slated to be constructed in May 2006. It amazes me that these developers hem and haw about the timeliness of approval of their plans, their constant fighting, negotiations and renegotiations about how many feet should go between two houses, how much land needs to be set aside for green space, as well as compromises on impact fees. They nitpick till every inch of their property is profitable to them.

I am not against development, I am against the concept of my having to foot the bills in the form of less money for the school system when a situation like this rears its ugly head, costing the county not only in delays, but attorneys fees and staff time.

Knowing that their proposed development will create an influx of families that will overcrowd existing schools, they should be more than happy to accommodate the school system by giving (not selling) land to the School Board in order to make the development as a whole, pay for the needed schools that will inevitably be needed in the affected areas. I am of the opinion that the School Board's hardball position of leaning on the county to hold up Mr. Buck's plans to develop the land until he agrees to pave the road now, is something that should be done in each and every case where a new school will be needed according to the development plans submitted for approval to this county.

It will probably end up where the School Board (also known as the taxpayers) will foot the bill again, and then try to recover the cost from the developer. More than likely he will get his money and do it again.

These developers are making millions of dollars constructing and luring new families into this county and do they not think that perhaps they are responsible for the necessity of new schools? I can't help but think of the case where the well known developer gave the county right of way, as a condition of approving his subdivision south of State Road 54, and then asked the taxpayers cough up money so that SR 54 could be widened.

We the taxpayers whose children attend established schools close to their homes, should not have to be hit with more responsibilities of increased costs of acquiring lands, rights of ways and access, to schools in distant areas where new development is taking place. Let the developer pay for the strain that is being placed upon the whole of the Pasco County School System.

Hold all new development until the priorities are ironed out first, and that would include schools, roads and future expansions. Force the developer who stands to gain riches, to set aside an amount of money in an escrow account for the benefit of the community he is building in where demand for a school will be inevitable. A proportionate share of funds should cover new school/schools, rights of ways and paving, so that when the time has arrived to build, the money will be there and no developer will walk away without paying for what he has created.

David Henry, New Port Richey

Letter revealed writer's ignorance of local schools

Re: Public schools can't afford to miss any days, Sept. 9 letter

Editor: I, like numerous other individuals in this community, was highly offended by the letter. Before making such a critical statement related to the quality of education in Pasco County, you should get your facts straight and complete your research.

First, we as teachers do not make the decision to close schools. Do you honestly think two to three days out of 180 contact days will hurt the overall learning of a child? (Eighteen hours out of 1,080 hours?)

When the decision to close school is made, it is in the best interest of the community. Schools are shelters for many people. During the time a shelter is open, administrators, custodians, cafeteria staff and volunteer teachers man the schools to make sure the individuals who have been forced to leave the security of their home are safe and taken care of in the shelter. After a shelter is closed, that school must be cleaned and food restocked in order for the school to open.

Since the letter writer lives in Trinity, it's apparent he has not lived in the community long enough to know the tremendous number of individuals in our community who have received an education and graduated from high schools in the area. Many doctors, lawyers, the Pasco County administrator, Pasco County Tax Collector, CEOs, small business owners, people in management positions, principals, assistant principals, teachers, etc., have received an education right here in Pasco County.

Part of any educational process is to do research by gathering information related to a topic. You must have missed those lessons in your educational experience.

Volunteer at one of these schools close to your home. You can make a difference.

RoseAnn Verheyen, New Port Richey