Source: Sherman Publications

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Letters to the Editor
Readers' views on proposed school bond

April 25, 2012

Provides tech

Dear Editor,

As seniors, we personally feel we need to vote "yes" on the proposed school bond issue for the following reasons:

State school funding has dropped to the 2005 level and, as we know, with 80 percent of school budget costs for employees, there is little room for cost cutting;

Due to home values dropping, our property tax has also been reduced and we still have the homestead tax program;

Most of us are not being taxed on our pensions and Social Security; and

If we expect our home values ever to regain pre-2007 levels, we need to provide excellent schools and this starts with technology.

To summarize, we, as a group, have not felt the hardships that are a real problem for families educating children.

Paul and Geri Ilg


Alternative to bond

Dear Editor,

In regards to "Group spreads word on school bond," April 18 edition, their placing Dr. Rod Rock on a pedestal causes some readers to wonder if their opinion was merited.

Dr. Rock left a school district that had children no different than ours. He left because ours is a more elite district and his salary was increased.

Do you think he would stay here if another school district offered him a job at a more prestigious school with a salary higher than ours? Of course not. No one would blame him. He owes it to his family to provide the best he can for them.

Here's my alternative to raising our taxes for the next 20 years. We charge our athletes on a pay-to-play plan. If we were to do the same for students having the latest computer technology, there would be a number of advantages.

It would be less expensive, instead of paying the increased taxes for 20 years.

Parents would own the computer and students would have it throughout their entire school career. If they moved from the district, their computers go with them.

The student would possess the computer year round, through Christmas, spring break, and summer.

Students going to college would already have theirs most colleges require them.

Parents would be spending for only their children, not those for the next 20 years.

The school board would reap the benefits of not having to supply them.

Our seniors living on a fixed income would not lose 4.2 percent of their purchasing power the government gave Social Security receivers a 3.6 percent increase this year, but said cost of living increase by 4.2 percent over the last 30 years.

Our school board or lending institutions could contract to pay each year the amount they would have paid in tax increases until the cost is paid.

Our school board wouldn't have to ask for an additional $20 million every 10 years.

It would send a message to our school board, they don't have the option of raising our taxes each time additional revenue is wanted.

For those in favor of the tax increase, please don't use the same old excuse, "it's for our kids" when listing its advantages. That line is overused.

Just in case you thing I'm against everything pertaining to our schools, I voted for the building of our newest high school. But I will vote against the bond issue.

John Thomas

Independence Township

Adds to debt

Dear Editor,

Our former county clerk worked to eliminate stealth millage elections outside the regular two year cycle. If there isn't, there ought to be a law. This May 8 election is costing a casually estimated $35,000. Rod Rock seems to think it akin to rolling the dice for $20,000,000. He, and some members of the local school board are willing to flaunt voters, gambling with your money. With Clarkston area taxpayers already in debt tens of millions for public education, a giant new high school, "early education" buildings and luxurious administration offices, they are demanding "just another $20,000,000."

Flaunting election laws are nothing new to the public education lobby. Signs supporting the May 8 election millage went up over the weekend when local ordinance officers are off duty. Political signage in Independence Township is limited to 14 days before an election. This matters not to supporters of another further reach into your future earnings.

The ends justify the means, if you know what that means. Former Michigan legislator and candidate for Governor Joe Schwarz said it best, "The public education lobby is pretty much insatiable...." Vote NO May 8.

Rob Namowicz

Independence Township

Focus on the kids

Dear Editor,

In regard to the Clarkston education bond election, it is disappointing to see the NO supporters continue to behave so negatively and contentiously.

Now they have decided to set up straw men to distract the election with information that is totally irrelevant to the bond election -this is unfortunate.

To me the heart of the difference is in the names. Clarkston Kids First focuses on kids - while the naysayers focus on dollars.

Its also very disheartening when my 6-year-old daughter sees a NO sign in a yard and asks "why wouldn't they want to help my school".

I have only seen positivity come from the administration, the wonderful teachers and staff of Clarkston schools, and Clarkston Kids First therefore, I will be voting YES on May 8th.

For all the negative naysayers: "Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you" -Robert Fulghum

Janel Sadowski

Springfield Township

Reasons to say 'no'

Dear Editor,

I have never voted against a school millage in the past, but I will be voting "no" on the $20 million Clarkston school bond.

Most of the first half of the bond proceeds of $10 million would be to provide wireless devices to the students and teachers and to provide the Wi-Fi mast infrastructure, which uses radio waves to provide high-speed network and Internet connections throughout all of the schools.

There are so many reasons why this bond is wrong at this time. I have been made aware of the health dangers of Wi-Fi microwaves in general, but especially when it is turned on all the time in schools where it can affect the health of the students, staff, volunteers, and other visitors.

The district is claiming the wireless devices will have a useful life of six years to justify using the bond to pay for them, but I doubt the devices will survive nearly that long. Where will the district find the funds to pay for the next batch of wireless devices in two or three years to pay for the replacements when they can't be replaced or repaired any longer?

Although probably fun to use, the use of the technology has been tested elsewhere with no evidence of increased test scores or clear benefits to the learning of the students.

It's ill timed with the economy as it is, the unemployment, the high percentage of families in the district on subsidized meals, and the extra $35,000 it will cost to have the 'stealth' one topic election in May when nothing else is on the ballot and most won't come out to vote.

Dawn Schaller

Independence Township

Discuss upgrades at a better time

Dear Editor,

Property owners in Independence Township, do not get caught up in the rhetoric of the school bond proposal of May 8.

I am appalled at the decision to go forward with a $20 million bond request when Clarkston's school district is already $200 million in debt.

We already owe more than we have in assets. Sound familiar? This non state bond doesn't need collateral because property owners will be on the hook of having the proposed l mill increase continue to increase perhaps to 2 mills when the school district cannot make the payment.

How real is this possibibity? Well we have already borrowed from the Michigan School Bond Loan Fund to make our payment on the current bond. This is not an option for the non state bond. So I must ask, if we cannot meet our current obligation how can we commit to a second one?

The state of Michigan has already said less money for the schools is a given, student enrollment is declining, and a shadow wave of foreclosures is waiting to hit the market again, thus driving property values down further , not upwards. In coming money to pay for this bond will be considerably less than predicted.

The real reason there was a rush for the May ballot is because the school was hoping not to compete with the other millage requests which will be on the November ballot. Tax revenues are down for all levels of government.

There is not a crisis in the schools. Nothing catastrophic happens if the proposal is turned down. We need to stop this madness of racking up debt.

The Clarkston school district is not large enough to carry a debt of this size. This is how school districts get into financial trouble. Poor decisions, and missappropriations of funds leave an ugly legacy of overwhelming debt long after the current people in charge have gone.

Please make your decision on May 8th as a concerned citizen and property owner. We can always discuss upgrades to the system when the economic reality is better.

Mary Walker

Independence Township