Source: Sherman Publications

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More letters to the editor...

October 10, 2012

Veterans' thanks

Dear Editor,

We would like to thank the following for their help in making the recent veterans' benefits seminar a success:

American Legion Post #63, Clarkston for hosting the event; Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly and Oakland County Veterans Administration for providing speakers; and local businesses and media for assistance with announcing the event. Your help was truly appreciated.

Over 75 attendees learned about valuable benefits available for their service to our country. For those who were not able to attend and would like to receive material provided at the seminar, please contact Wint Funeral Home at 248-625-5231 or email wintfuneralhome@aol.com for a free informational packet.

Staff at Wint Funeral Home

Clarkston

Thanks for care

Dear Editor,

Thank you Pine Tree Place for taking excellent care of my sister, Virginia Berendt, for six years. You made it home to her and treated me as part of the family of Pine Tree Place. I will never forget the love and kindness we received from that establishment when it is not done here in Georgia.

Rosie is the administrator, Sue is homecare manager and =Angela is the care manager along with all of the special staff. Also special thanks to Ruth the cook.

Shirley Carter

Albany, GA

Support for Horst

Dear Editor,

We have read many opinions from Clarkston residents regarding the forthcoming school board election. We have researched topics ranging from state school funding, per-pupil cuts and Clarkston's "focus" schools to the impact of technology on our students health and achievement.

We feel it is our responsibility to seek education in these matters, as they are so relevant to our children's success.

We believe in fiscal responsibility and the education of our children.

With the help of school board candidate Kelli Horst, we have a better understanding of the impact the Board of Education has on these vital issues. Kelli has educated our family at Springfield Plains for several years regarding curriculum, state legislation, education funding and policy.

As an active volunteer in our schools, Kelli Horst has proven her ability to demonstrate both transparency and accountability. She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for public education.

We know first-hand how thoroughly Kelli investigates and analyzes all matters to determine the best course of action for all students and the organizations she serves.

We need board members committed to fiscal responsibility and the education of our children. We need Kelli Horst as an independent parent advocate for our children. Kelli Horst has our support for Clarkston School Board on Nov. 6.

Debbie & Allen Ego

Independence Township

Symphony support

Dear Editor,

The Clarkston Center for the Performing Arts wants to express sincere thanks and gratitude to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and DTE Energy Foundation for the performance at Clarkston High School last Thursday. The performance was marvelous and the audience was very appreciative.

A special thank you must go out to Clarkston Schools District Scheduler Beth Kerr, Theater Director Amy Seaman, and band booster extraordinaire Kelly Finazzo for taking care of all the school arrangements, staff and volunteers needed to make this happen. They were all an absolute pleasure to work with and we hope we can continue to work with Clarkston Schools on future performances.

We must also thank The Clarkston News, Clarkston retailers and businesses that support these efforts. Rudy's market, Essence on Main, KH Home, Frank and Me, and Washington Management all contributed to refreshments for the orchestra to show how appreciative we are of their being here and their performance.

With the support and cooperation of our local businesses, schools, residents and organizations such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and DTE Energy Foundation, we can continue to provide a venue for the performing arts in the Clarkston area.

Clarkston Center for

the Performing Arts

Race successful

Dear Editor,

We would like to thank you very much for your support of our Fifth Annual Angels' Place Race, Clarkston. It was a beautiful day. Over 330 runners and walkers came out to participate in this event. We raised over $22,000 for Angels' Place. Because of your support of this race, adults with developmental disabilities will benefit from the programs that Angels' Place provides.

It was such a great experience to watch the community work together with us to support this worthy effort. We are planning next year's race for Saturday, May 11, and we look forward to your continued support.

Find additional information at www.angelsplacerace.org.

With great appreciation,

Paul and Maggie Maxwell

Independence Township

School budget

Dear Editor,

Lawrence Matta's recent letter ("School board's deficit is irresponsible," Sept. 26) demonstrates why school board members need a thorough understanding of the many factors impacting public education finance and budgeting.

Fund equity is meant to be the cushion that protects school districts from drastically cutting their programming and people during times of economic downturn.

Since 2009, Clarkston Community Schools has lost more than $7.1 million in revenue, thanks to a double whammy of decreased property values and significant cuts to state education funding $470 per pupil cut in 2010; $65 in 2011. During that same time, the district cut expenditures by $10 million in FY10, expenditures were $84.4 million and projected expenditures this year are $74.3 million.

Fund equity was at 15.73 percent in 2008, allowing the school board to balance the budget with deficit spending instead of compromising educational quality we are known for in Clarkston. The district has consistently under-spent its budget, requiring less fund equity than anticipated each year.

In 2011, the district actually returned $66,742 to its fund balance. We began this fiscal year with 9.46 percent fund equity, still a strong enough cushion to absorb this year's projected deficit. These figures were presented during the June 25 board meeting, when the 2012-13 budget was discussed and approved.

I do not share Mr. Matta's view of this practice as a budgeting failure. I view it as an educated choice to listen to our community and preserve educational quality while ample savings are available to do so.

This year is a tipping point, however. Fund equity is projected to end up at 5.75 percent at the end of this current budget year, which pushes the limits of my comfort zone for savings. The four board members elected this November will need a comprehensive understanding of public education finance as they contemplate budget parameters for 2013-14.

I am running for school board to offer a much-needed perspective of a current parent and a higher education professional. These experiences have taught me true fiscal responsibility in public education considers the impact of curriculum and assessment changes, high achievement standards, pending legislation and policy, and community expectations.

Important decisions for our public schools need to be made by people like me who understand that maintaining excellent public schools is necessary to increasing our property values and our community's attractiveness to prospective residents and businesses.

That's good stewardship. You can learn more about me at www.kellihorst.com.

Kelli Horst

Springfield Township