Grass isn't always greener on the P.E.R.S. side
In response to last Sunday's letter about public employees, I don't know where the information was obtained, but I am in a Public Employee Retirement System. I am also in Social Security.
I paid into S.S. for 27 years and 16 years in P.E.R.S. I also pay $78.20 each month. I also pay P.E.R.S. $40 a month for coverage on my wife. If I want eye and dental coverage from P.E.R.S., I have to pay extra. Social Security has a cap on when you stop paying in a year. In P.E.R.S. you pay into retirement on every dollar you make; there is no cap. My wife also pays $78.20 each month to Social Security, even though she makes less than $400 a month. With the C.O.L.A. in S.S. my wife and I see an increase of $6 a month combined.
Even though I worked almost twice as long under Social Security than P.E.R.S., S.S. says because of my P.E.R.S. pension they will deduct $200 a month from my S.S. I'm sure Social Security does not reduce last week's writer's payment if he also has a pension from Teamsters or any other.
School board must consider needs of community
Much has been printed, positive and negative, concerning how the Salem Board of Education is addressing current situations. Most, in my opinion has been presented in an emotional context without offering sound evidence of support to the community in regard to those situations. It's easier to place blame on others or situations than to take responsibility.
Many school districts in Ohio are unfortunately being forced due to federal and state cuts to close buildings. This situation is evident in newspaper articles as well as on TV. Each district approaches the task at hand with a plan or strategy, some allowing taxpayers a choice in which building to close. It is a prudent idea in approaching any life-changing event to have a plan. While much has been written, vocalized and published as to this issue being a "no-brainer," nothing has been publicly disclosed as to how this situation will be resolved. For example, closing Prospect will have a dramatic impact not only on 189 students but also administration, teachers and other supportive staff employed in this building. I would like to hear of a plan for redistribution of savings to the district before any decision is made. And yes, the new superintendent should be involved in any major cost-cutting decision, perhaps offering other suggestions or insights.
And while discussing cost cuts, the board might consider readdressing the contractual policy regarding PhD compensation. According to the current policy, "Doctoral adjustments to be paid at the end of each 12 months of employment; Year 1, $3,600, Year 2, $3,900, Year 3, $4,200, Year 4 and beyond, $4,500 (per November 17, 2003 Board Agenda). Most districts compensate once for a PhD but a cap is placed upon the amount. We're currently compensating close to $10,000 per year on top of administrative salaries. I feel a review and redesigning of this contractual policy is justified and should be considered, especially when the administration is "top heavy" and little has been offered in way of cuts.
According to the budget report dated 12/1/04-12/31/04, submitted at the Jan. 18 board meeting, a total of $44,027 was spent on lawyer fees. I suppose the "blame" for this has been put upon the Cougras situation, numerous lawsuits, and teacher grievances. Can Cougras also be "blamed" for "misappropriation" or "just now finding" title grant monies needed to assist children of our district?
I, as a taxpayer, contribute to the finances which assist in running the school district, and I'm tired of being taken advantage of. When reviewing resumes of possible superintendent candidates, board members should not only reflect upon their qualifications, experiences, background information, and personality but also consider the needs of our community.
CINDY L. SLAVENS
The judge was right
I am writing to reply to the editorial published Feb. 3, in response to a court ruling on the hospitalization benefits for election board members. Although, one can agree that rarely are part-time employees given such generous benefit packages, your final analysis is correct; to limit this practice the constituents need to address this issue by altering state law.
I'm confused why you would hold Common Pleas Court Judge Ashley Pike to the fire for his correct interpretation of state law. Clearly, we all should be aware and the newspaper staff constantly reminding its readers of the constitutional separation of powers. Judges don't make the law, they just interpret it. No wonder our children have trouble passing citizenship exams when the local press continues to "muddy the waters" in an attempt to stir controversy.
We taxpayers may or may not like the funding of the court or the election board, but clearly we are paying the right judge because we don't have decisions being overturned in higher courts. His careful interpretation of the law saves taxpayers dollars in avoiding additional court costs.
Congress should rein in the runaway Supreme Court
Whenever there is an abuse of power, that person should be removed from office. How long do the American people have to sit by helpless as the Senate and House of Representatives fail to limit the power of Supreme Court justices? The Supreme Court has decided that a husband has the right to starve to death his wife simply because of accusations by the husband.
It's obvious to everyone who has seen Terri Schiavo that she's aware of her surroundings and responds to the love of her parents. Why do the Senate and House sit by idle while the Supreme Court continues to abuse its power and sanctions murder? The American people's vote amounts to little as we've seen concerning homosexuality. Do the Democrats speak up now that every vote doesn't count?
Truth is unchangeable unless of course it's put into someone who is incapable of receiving it. It has nothing to do with people's diversity. The Supreme Court is incapable of receiving truth, so the abuse of power leads to murder.
Residents must demand and support excellent schools
As a parent of young children in the Brookfield School District, I cannot help but be concerned over the state of our educational system. I believe there are a few issues that need to be addressed in correcting the situation and restoring a level of respectability and accountability to the education our children receive in this school district.
First and foremost is the citizenry of Brookfield as a whole. These are the same people who bicker about taxes and complain that there are no jobs in this area. They cry and boo-hoo because their children are leaving this area and not coming back as a result of a lack of jobs. Did they ever stop to consider that their children might not be coming back here because the school district is in such disarray and that their own parents won't vote on a levy to help correct it?
The lack of accountability starts with the school board itself and its lack of credibility and perceived lack of integrity. For I don't know how many years, there have been essentially the same individuals on the school board with the same superintendent thanks to healthy dose of cronyism mixed with a generous portion of nepotism. The superintendent resigning is a good start, but it must not stop there. If the people of Brookfield are to have a school system they can be proud of for its academics and those who strive for academic greatness, there must be a systematic change of leadership among the school board as well. Citizens of this school district should demand better results fiscally and academically and be willing to pay for it when necessary. Otherwise, we condemn our children, the future of our children and the very township in which we live to terminal mediocrity and obscurity.
ULYSSES A. JOHNSON