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  1. Opinion

Teachers’ salaries aren’t keeping up: November’s letter of the month

Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
A fourth grade teacher and her daughter protest with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of the school board building in Tampa in Dec. 2017. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
A fourth grade teacher and her daughter protest with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of the school board building in Tampa in Dec. 2017. [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 30

Teachers’ salaries aren’t keeping up

November letter of the month | The winning letter concerns stagnant teacher pay

I recently discovered a copy of the salary schedule from Pinellas County schools from 2005-06. Being in my 24th year of teaching, I paid attention to the salary of a 24-year experienced teacher from back then. In the ’05-’06 school year a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 24 years’ experience would have made $54,400. The salary for a bachelor’s degree teacher with 24 years’ experience in 2019-20 is $55,008, a difference of only $608. That equals a 1.1 percent overall pay increase in 14 years. During that same time period the CPI in the Tampa Bay area rose an average of 2.2 percent a year — an overall increase of 33 percent. If the pay scale had just managed to keep up with the cost of living, the pay for the said 24-year teacher would be $72,403, a difference of $17,395. Year after year, experienced teachers are being squeezed out of the system with wage compression that Tallahassee forces on the districts. While paying beginning teachers higher and higher salaries is a good and decent thing, the insulting and injurious pay scale for the experienced teachers helps explain the exodus of good, experienced teachers from the profession.

Lee Bryant, St. Petersburg

Here’s what the Senate can do

Trump’s defenders have no defense | Column, Nov. 24

President Donald Trump [BRYNN ANDERSON | AP]

I have watched all of the impeachment inquiry hearings to date, and it is difficult to see how Peggy Noonan missed the defenses available to President Donald Trump. Hearsay upon hearsay, bias of disgruntled ex-employees and contradictory statements by and between witnesses are just a few. If the Republican representatives did not demonstrate these and other defenses, a major reason is the one-sided rules and procedures set up by the Democrats in general and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff in particular. Considering the unlevel playing field provided by the Democrats, the Republican representatives did quite well.

Noonan states: “... the case (for impeachment) has been so clearly made you wonder what exactly the Senate will be left doing.” The Senate will have to do what the House failed to do: provide a fair, just, even-handed process for both sides to present their cases. The process should include foundational elements of our system of justice: due process, the right to call witnesses, the right to full and fair cross examination, right to confront one’s accusers, etc. Based on the unfairness of the impeachment inquiry so far, it is probably not surprising that Noonan believes “Trump’s defenders have no defense.”

John Chiarelli, Odessa

The case for impeachment

Trump’s defenders have no defense | Nov. 24

In her column, Peggy Noonan states that “the case has been made. Almost everything in the impeachment hearings this week fleshed out and backed up the charge that President Trump muscled Ukraine for political gain.”

She concludes by stating “the case has been so clearly made you wonder what exactly the Senate will be left doing.” And, then, oddly, she swerves off course. She says, “A full-blown trial on charges most everyone will believe are true, and with an election in less than a year, will seem absurd to all but diehards and do the country no good.”

If, as she states, the charges against the president have been backed up by the evidence, how can the Senate do anything but convict him on the forthcoming impeachment charges? If the authors of the Constitution intended to only try impeachment charges in the first three years of a president’s term, wouldn’t they have stated so? Impeachment should not be used in cases of incompetence or differences of political opinion — this is where elections come into play. However, impeachment is in the Constitution to override abuse of power. This is where the good to the country comes into play. Shouldn’t we convict the president so that future presidents will not perform these same selfishly motivated acts?

Melissa Pierce, Tampa

Don’t crowd out paradise

Remember when we lived in paradise? | Floridian, Nov. 24

A clearing late-day storm adds drama in the sky over a sawgrass prairie in Everglades National Park in Florida. [ROBERT F. BUKATY | AP]

The residents in our area were invited to a meeting where we were told that we were going to have to get used to the idea that we will have multi-family homes on our streets due to the lack of inventory of single-family homes. “Density” is the word of the day, it seems. Nobody likes the idea of the traffic, increase of population and a larger carbon footprint in our wonderful spot in Florida. We live on a dead-end street. If the parking lot were to face our street there would be constant traffic of people turning around to face the right way to park. We have a beautiful, quiet, neighbor-friendly street. We’d like to keep it that way. If you bring the values of our homes down by over-building, we may have a few things to say about that.

Now and then someone writes about something that has been on your mind and lays it out perfectly. Take this column by Gary Mormino. In the interest of space, I simply suggest that people read what he wrote. All that is left to say is — what he said.

Sue Bailey, Dunedin

What was deputy to do?

After shocks | Nov. 24

A Taser X26 [JASON BEHNKEN | Tampa Bay Times]

Baudilio Morales Velásquez was an undocumented worker who was in America illegally. He was shocked by a Pinellas sheriff’s deputy who used his Taser after the man fled. My sympathy is for the sheriff’s deputy just trying to do his job. If you want to come to our country, then do it legally.

Mary Easterly, Tampa

Assignment at birth

Beautifully reclaiming Brenda | Nov. 24

I find the use of the phrase “... the gender they were assigned at birth” rather curious. Use of the word “assignment” indicates the doctor may have some flexibility to determine a baby’s gender based on some subjective scale, despite the abundance of biological evidence regarding gender classification.

Steve McCarver, Dunedin

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