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East County Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013 4 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ School district still seems too top heavy
Dear Editor:    

Why is it that no one seems to question just how much of our county school budget is devoted to administration costs versus classroom costs? Why is it necessary to have three principals for each high school, middle school and elementary school, each with an administrative staff? What are the percentages in Manatee County, today?

About 10 years ago, in Sarasota County, about 65% of the school budget was going to administrative costs with only 35% devoted to the classroom as teacher salaries, classroom textbooks and supplies.

Does anyone else see the problem here? It’s called “empire building.” Huge administrative buildings, big staffs and more people overseeing the few who actually do the day-to-day teaching — lots of drones and fewer worker bees makes less honey for the hive.

The recent budget cuts call for the elimination of 11 custodial positions from the administrative side. How about getting rid of the bloated administrative staffs, including the extra principals? How about eliminating busing except for those who live more than one mile from a school? Reducing busing costs would save countless millions over the years. Walking to school could help solve the so-called obesity problems affecting today’s school children. School children could be stationed on the busier intersections as “school patrol,” just as was done years ago to control traffic for safety.

Recess and/or P.E. have been removed from the daily curriculum and, yet, we worry about children being overweight. Charges are made that we have to feed every school child or that child will not have a proper diet. Where’s the parental responsibility to feed their children before sending them off to school? What’s wrong with kids bringing bag lunches from home? I know many parents do take an active interest in their children’s education, but it is not the responsibility of everyone to feed and clothe the students. 

Teachers are complaining about having to buy classroom supplies out of their wages. Where’s the parental responsibility to provide their children with those items? All the necessary classroom supplies such as textbooks and a starter set of pencils/pens and notebooks could be given at the start of the school year, to be replenished by the parents.

And before people jump my case, it seems most every child already has a cell phone to take to school. Why not take their own pencils, pens and paper? Or should the taxpayer also begin paying for the cell phones used by the school kids?

As government intrudes more and more into the daily lives of the citizens, freedoms and responsibilities are lost. Government works best when it works for the people, not against them.
J. A. Hennen
Myakka City

+ Changes needed to improve road safety
Dear Editor:

Something needs to be done about State Road 70 east of Lorraine Road before a horrific accident occurs. Impatient drivers pass on the left into oncoming traffic, often not appropriately judging the speed and distance of all vehicles involved only to get stuck at the same red light at Lorraine Road as everyone else.

I witnessed such an act the other day while driving west on S.R. 70 at 65 mph, three car lengths behind the vehicle in front of me. A minivan driving at a very high speed behind me passed my car on the left, and the vehicle in front of me, as oncoming traffic closed in on the van. The minivan forced the car heading west to veer off the road onto the grass, almost causing a major accident.

I know firsthand how terrifying that situation is; it happened to me with my two young daughters in the back seat. After picking them up from school, I proceeded east on S.R.70. A vehicle driving west was heading straight for us on the eastbound side of the road. There were a line of cars on the westbound side of the road, and the vehicle had nowhere to tuck in.

Apparently, the driver had misjudged the distance and speed of the cars it wanted to pass and the oncoming traffic. I had only seconds to react, because the oncoming car was closing in on us at a very high speed. I veered onto the grass at 60 mph, avoiding the oncoming car by a couple of feet. Gripping the wheel with white knuckles, I called out to my girls, “Hold on!” The car bumped violently as we hit the grass. The girls were scared, and so was I. Trembling, I pulled back out onto the road, never losing control of the car. We were safe for the moment.

There are many beautiful communities east of Lorraine Road filled with families who travel east and west on that road every day. It needs to be made safer to protect us from impatient drivers who, at any cost, will put other people’s lives in danger just to race to the red light at Lorraine Road.

The road was recently repaved, and, yes, it looks great and is also a little bit safer when driving in the rain. Most importantly, something needs to be done to protect law-abiding people who just want to get their kids to school safely or to arrive at work alive and well without a story of a near-death experience.

A cement median would do the job just fine. It would force people to drive at a safe speed, while not allowing them to put other people’s lives in danger by passing on the left. I truly hope something is done in the near future that will make State Road 70 a safer road to drive on, and I hope it happens before someone has to die.
Tina O’Brien
Lakewood Ranch


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