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Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Wednesday's letters: Properly fund public education

Rethink rule on class size | Sept. 7, commentary

Properly fund public education

This opinion piece asks citizens to consider rethinking the rule on class size. The writers provided data supporting their viewpoint that putting an end to the class size amendment makes economic sense.

The problem is that from its inception, the class size amendment was never properly funded nor implemented. In place of funding, districts have been awarded annual loopholes by our legislators in order to circumvent the will of the people who wanted smaller classes for their children. You can't really use data against a plan without having actually implemented the plan as it was intended.

There are too many organizations that think a business model for education is the way to go. Saving money is great, but neglecting to properly fund education is criminal because money saved on education is eventually spent on crime, drugs, prisons and other drains on our economy. Florida lags by thousands of dollars a year on per student spending compared to the average of all other states. If Florida wants young families and businesses to settle here, it must invest in education.

The op-ed authors think charter schools are a cheap alternative. Those that specialize in a certain condition such as autism may or may not be, but if they are taking tax money they must be held to the same account as public schools. Those that do not accept English as a second language students, Exceptional Student Education students or kids with behavior issues should not be entitled to any taxpayer money. It is the responsibility of each generation to educate all of the next.

The citizens of Pinellas County have always supported public education. Four times in the past 16 years they have voted in favor of a referendum tax that provides money for public education. Pinellas County commissioners have voted to help fund a nurse in every elementary school. Perhaps our elected leaders in Tallahassee need to listen to what Pinellas has been saying for years: Fund public education.

Mike Gandolfo, Palm Harbor

The writer is the president of the PCTA.

Hurricane Irma

No sign of utility trucks

First thing Monday morning I saw most homeowners outside with chain saws, blowers and rakes starting to clean up our neighborhoods. By day's end, yards and streets had much of the debris removed or in piles. What I did not see was a single Duke Energy crew working to restore power in southeastern Pasco County.

Traffic signals that were out Monday are still out on my way to work Tuesday. I still didn't see any Duke Energy crews, but what I do know from this morning's paper is that they have 8,000 extra lineman somewhere.

Frank Oliveto, New Port Richey

Newspaper made my day

Thank you to the Tampa Bay Times and your wonderful carriers. I was so happy Tuesday morning to find not only today's Times, but Sunday's and Monday's as well, in my driveway. That storm could have ruined even more than it did by depriving readers of our regular newspapers.

There are lots of behind-the-scenes hurricane heroes in our community. The deeds are big and small. Seemingly little gestures can make all the difference in the world. Most of us assumed that Irma would deprive us of our papers. You foiled that plan.

Thanks again to you and your carriers for taking care of your subscribers.

Kathy Betancourt, Tampa

Thanks for the effort

A big thank you to Times reporters, editors, columnists, photographers and distribution staff for wide-ranging reporting and accurate, touching writing about Irma. I was grateful to have Tuesday's paper on my driveway — along with Monday's tucked inside. Miracles come in all sizes.

Linda Schatz, Tampa

From Italy, reassurance

I want to thank you for the accurate coverage of Irma's passage in Tampa.

My daughter Barbara and my nephew are living in Clearwater and we were very concerned about their situation. Through your online edition, available for all readers, my wife and I got all possible information about actions taken by people and authorities to prevent personal damages. We were very relived when the storm left the Tampa area and we could again get in touch with our daughter. Thanks again.

Pierluigi Salvini, Milan, Italy

All U.S. in this together

I am dismayed by "Texans helping Texans" taglines associated with Hurricane Harvey, as by murmurs of "Floridians helping Floridians" now appearing in local TV news. My nephew, a California firefighter, spent days on a bus to arrive at Eglin Air Force Base after Irma to assist Florida. Americans are helping Americans.

Big government and small government advocates need to acknowledge one fact: We are one nation, not merely a collection of states. The entire purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. There are no "red" or "blue" states in disasters.

S. Engel Phillips, St. Petersburg

Trump was right to end program | Sept. 11, letter

We are a generous nation

This letter comparing Dreamers to criminals and suggesting that, like other criminal families, they are the recipients of ill-gotten "loot" was appalling and heartbreaking.

The letter writer is entitled to her opinion, but I'd like to believe that the inscription on the Statue of Liberty offers a more generous and truly American alternative to such mean-spirited and hostile ideas: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …"

Bonnie Navin, Tampa

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