Economic development depends on quality education
When will Hernando County Board of County Commissioners recognize that education and economic development go hand-in-hand?
Earlier this week Michael Bates reported that Hernando County's unemployment rate jumped from 7.6 percent in December, to 8.4 percent in January. He wrote that county officials were disappointed that one company (Accuform) shelved plans for expansion.
Nonetheless, Commissioner Wayne Dukes said he believes that County Administrator/Economic Development Manager Len Sossamon will be successful in luring corporate relocations here.
I wonder if Mr. Sossamon shares that optimism, or if commissioners even sought his opinion before voting against the education impact fee.
After all, he's the one who will be asked for information on the quality of our school system and the financial support it receives. He's the one who'll have to explain that Hernando schools are funded significantly lower than Citrus, Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough. And that it's in the lowest quadrant of school funding statewide.
Do you think Mr. Dukes will be there when corporate executives ask 'Well, what are you doing about that?'
Undoubtedly Dukes and his fellow commissioners will be indisposed when Mr. Sossamon has to tell prospective CEOs that when the BOCC could have helped the school system they opted against it.
Experienced executives like Sossamon and his predecessor, Mike McHugh, know how critical school systems and local support are in attracting entrepreneurial start-ups and corporate relocations. Let's hope our commissioners start listening.
I smell a RATification!
Later this week teachers will be voting on whether or not to ratify a new contract. I have deliberated long and hard about this decision and I have decided to vote no.
The union claims the new state law no longer allows for steps; this is a half truth. The law mandates that steps be modified so that a portion, only a portion, be based on performance. Citing fairness and simplicity, the union would like all teachers, regardless of tenure, be paid solely based on performance. Step increases can and should remain part of tenured teacher contracts. Moreover, the law was expressly written so that performance pay would be financially superior, to a point, and would therefore entice tenured teachers to opt out of the grandfathered salary schedule in favor of pay for performance. I do not believe that allowing teachers the opportunity to be paid for performance while maintaining their tenure is in keeping with the spirit of the law. Consequently, I am concerned that the state may modify the law to exclude the possibility of keeping tenure while simultaneously being paid for performance after we have already agreed to relinquish our steps through ratification. All teachers with tenure should vote NO.
In addition to the above concerns, the new law has budgetary constraints. If the budget does not allow for the full funding of all salary schedules pay for performance cannot be disproportionately impacted. This means that pay for performance cannot be reduced more than other salary schedules. However, if there are no other salary schedules, the county has no impediment to the reduction of salaries. It is this section of the law that should concern all non-tenured teachers. Your salary can and most likely will be negatively impacted by the loss of a step salary schedule. All non-tenured teachers should vote no.
I encourage all teachers to read the state law for themselves. Education is and always will be the key to good decision making.
Jennifer A. Speakman
A law to balance the budget
If we ever want to get our economy back to normal and create jobs, we must first pass a law in the federal government that says congress must balance its budget, which means that the government cannot spend in excess of its income. Next, we must wipe out all of our trillions of dollars of debt.
The federal government has been doing all of the wrong things for our economy for years. That is, spending more than it has coming in and for its shortage in funds it has been on a binge of borrowing money from China, Japan, etc. As these borrowed sums increase the government's obligation to pay enormous sums of money in interest.
We are spending great sums of money on over 140 different welfare programs, too many millions of people on welfare, which spending is not productive for the economy, whereas this money should be spent on creating jobs which would be productive for the economy.
Nothing is more important for our economy than creating jobs, which the present administration has failed to do.
The U.S. has become a nation of welfare recipients of the government for support, instead of a nation of productivity and jobs.
We must be rid of our liberal spending congressmen and replace them with people who understand our problems we now face and who will support a balanced budget law, in order to save our economy from eventual collapse. Wake up America before it is too late.
National Doctor's Day is March 30
I don't know if you're aware, but National Doctor's Day is coming up on March 30,
so naturally it seems like an opportune time to say "thank you" to the many physicians that touch our lives and those of our patients, on a daily basis.
Our doctors are a part of our community; they are our friends and neighbors. They are soccer moms and community leaders. They are our caregivers. One day hardly seems enough to celebrate those physicians who play such an important role in caring for our community.
Doctor's Day actually began on March 30, 1933 by Eudora Brown Almond, the wife of Dr. Cha Almond. The date was chosen because it was the date of the first use of general anesthesia in surgery. But it wasn't until 1990 that it became nationally recognized after President George Bush signed a resolution declaring March 30th as National Doctor's Day.
As a registered nurse, I've spent years (admittedly many, many years) working alongside physicians in our community. Since opening my own home health agency, Horizon Homecare, 10 years ago with my business partner Stephanie Henchey, I've seen many doctors in our community go above and beyond for their patients. There are so many heartwarming stories to be told of doctors who go above and beyond. And it happens in our community every single day.
To quote President George Bush, "medicine is a special calling and those who have chosen this vocation in order to serve their fellowman understand the tremendous responsibility it entails ... reverence for human life and individual dignity is both the hallmark of a good physician and the key to truly beneficial advances in medicine."
To our physicians on Doctor's Day, "Thank you" for all that you do to promote health and well-being in our community and for your dedication and commitment to improving our quality of life. We appreciate you!
Happy Doctor's Day.
Planned Parenthood practitioners of evil
How sweet. Nancy Pelosi is about to be awarded a Margret Sangar Award. This is the same woman who founded Planned Parenthood. Now if you are thinking of singing the praises of that auspicious, er, suspicious group, lets look at their track record. They performed 327,166 abortions last year. That's over a quarter of a million sanctioned killings. Let us now put that figure into context and try to calculate the greatest evil. Was it the WWII Nazis, The USSR under Stalin, The Red Chinese under Mao, North Korea under all the Kims, The Kmerh Rouge under Pol Pot or Planned Parenthood?
Take into consideration the number 327,166 and project that over the approximately 40 years in existence and, yes, you come up with around 13 million. Now I ask you are they or are they not in the same league as the aforementioned practitioners of evil?