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Letters to the Editors

School Board needs shaking up

© St. Petersburg Times
published August 25, 2002

Editor: Re: Pay hike trumps premiums, Aug. 18 column by Jeff Webb:

Mr. Webb's column takes one's breath away when analyzing the potential consequences to our public school system that could germinate from the poor decisionmaking of a select majority of the current crop of School Board members.

Teachers are very poorly paid in Hernando County, no question about that. But, why are they so poorly paid? Hernando County has one of the highest education millage taxes in the state. Why do we have a defunct self-insured health plan for our teachers? What are we going to do when the half-penny tax sunsets next year? Are we going to have to rely on finding more money under the couch cushions again, as was the case this year when $3.2-million (that earned no interest) was "found?"

Furthermore, I am interested to see any preliminary results from the alleged "Five Year Strategic Plan." I have a genuine interest in any results that this "strategy" has yielded. If there are real results, I will be the first to apologize to the board. I find it odd that the board didn't implement a four-year or six-year plan. Five years seems convenient to try to persuade voters to allow incumbents to "finish the job" and elect them to a second term.

There seems to be no finite resolution to the constant monetary worries being exacerbated by poor decisionmaking and petty squabbling. Also, there seems to be no educational initiatives that can gain enough inertia to offset the ruling male majority of School Board members' proclivity for endorsing each other's favored agendas.

From board members who disagree with the idealogy of community metaphors, vis-a-vis the ancient African proverb, "It takes a child to raise a child" to the "losing" then "finding" of millions of dollars, there needs to be a revitalization of School Board philosophy that will help our children reach their potential. Right now there is no definitive articulation of Hernando's educational vision.

In the end, Hernando County can only suffer from the errors being made by our School Board. After all, it will only be a matter of time before potential residents with families start to bypass Hernando County because of the moribund management of our public education system. With Florida's system being in the bottom 10 of America as far as standards go, we need to give our students as much of a heads-up as possible.
-- Elizabeth Dees, Spring Hill

Wake up, Democrats; run candidate in all contests

Editor: I cannot believe that eastern Hernando County has been so utterly snubbed again, or can I? This time it was by the Republican Legislature, including state Rep. David Russell Jr. (and state Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite), who in that Republican-controlled redistricting fiasco voted to sever our Senate district. It placed eastern Hernando with a large Republican segment of Polk County.

How can we in this eastern part of Hernando County ever again consider voting for any Republican? I promptly switched my registration to Democrat.

We in eastern Hernando do not even get the opportunity to vote for state senator, since the Polk Republicans are running only one Senate candidate and the Democrats are running no one.

Wake up, Democrats, and run a candidate in all contests.

I'd readily run as a write-in candidate if I were just 20 years younger than my mature 82. I've never missed voting in any election since my discharge from the military at the culmination of World War II. Nor have I ever felt so politically discriminated against and disenfranchised by such political mean-spiritedness.
-- Joseph McCrae, Ridge Manor

Newspaper was quick to print firefighters' names

Editor: I in no way condone the behavior of the three firefighters, but you were very quick to expose their names in this affair, exposing their families to heartache and embarrassment.

Yet, you protected the woman who has accused them.

What did she think they took her along for? The ride? To be a fourth at Bridge?

Spare me, please!
-- Joyce Beaulieu, Brooksville

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