CARS HOMES JOBS

Painting squares not best way to designate homes

Friday, April 25, 2014
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Painting squares not best way to designate homes

Today, while in California for work, I was informed by my friend Todd Schnitzer that twere was a 6-inch white square spray-painted in front of my house. After I asked him why, he told me that it was because I opted out of brush pickup service for $50 a year. This is a recent policy put in place by the town of Rotterdam.

While I understand the cost and respect the right that I could opt out of it (by making sure I found a notary to send in this document by the deadline), I think it is outrageous that we are now marked by the town for everyone to know. "Hey there, kids! Look at that house. They are too poor or cheap to pay to pay to have their leaves picked up!" I find it funny that in 2014, in the age of iPads, Google Maps and drones that deliver packages, we put our heads together and came up with spray-painting every single house that didn't pay up.

The whole point of raking and cleaning our lawns is to present a beautiful appearance to our homes and neighborhoods, only to have white squares marking all of our roads that our tax dollars pay for. Why don't we mark a red circle on the people who don't pay for the newspaper, a green triangle for all the people who don't go to church and a black X for people who were not born in town?

I am sorry for ranting, but I think if you are as upset as I am, we should be reaching out to our town council and sharing our distaste on their decision.

#rotterdamscarletletter

Clinton Quay

Rotterdam

Teaching children requires personnel

As a taxpayer and retired teacher, having taught from 1969 to 2002, I cannot count the times I have read and heard statements similar to the following: "In most districts, employment costs make up 60 to 80 percent of the entire budget." It would be strange indeed if this were not the case. If employment costs were, in fact, to dip as low as 60 percent, we all should have serious concerns about where the money would be going in such a district.

It seems so obvious: School districts exist solely to educate students. Most of the employees in a school district are teachers; the role of all other employees, whether they be administrators, teacher assistants, or cafeteria and custodial staff, is to support the main function of the school -- to teach students. Where, then, would anyone suppose that most of the expenditures of school districts would lie?

Salaries for coaches, club moderators, and class advisers consume very little of the budget and yet offer valuable extra- and co-curricular opportunities for student learning. Other areas of the budget, such as providing for program and curricula, staff development, transportation, utilities and maintenance of grounds and facilities, all exist only to contribute to the primary function of the school district -- providing learning experiences for students. But of course the bulk of the budget must go to pay school personnel: the people who are in the classrooms every day, providing lessons all day long, and the staff who support these people.

I think we all know that, in recent years, every school district has had to cut back or eliminate teaching positions and programs. Work on the budget consumes a terrific amount of time, energy, and even anguish, on the part of school boards, administrators and teachers. It is time to acknowledge this fact as we all consider the costs of educating our young. It is also, I think, time to get rid of the tired old saw that is trotted out every year: Employment costs in school districts consume up to 80 percent of the annual budget. Of course they do. How else can the function of the school be carried out?

Barbara A. Mitchell

Wilton

Can I opt out of my school tax bill, too?

As one who opted-out of the brush/lawn fee, I would like to know the cost to taxpayers to send the manpower, gas for vehicles and cost of paint for the "white squares."

I would also like to opt out of paying school taxes (as I don't have children) and be reimbursed for the past 36 years of paying them. I have gotten no benefits from paying this tax.

School taxes should be paid by people who have children attending (including people who rent). When kids finish school, then parents can opt out of school taxes.

I'm a senior citizen and find paying school taxes just as ridiculous as the brush fee!

Sherry LeMay

Rotterdam

Protesting is not the same as terrorism

Sen. Harry Reid is a total disgrace to the nation!

He called protesters "domestic terrorists" for calling out the government, which by the way is a First Amendment right -- free speech.

Reid's hands are clearly dirty in this situation, starting with the land management director being put in charge who also was Reid's campaign person in Nevada. The Reid family has grown too powerful in Nevada, handing out special favors to contractors and business interests. Do some investigation and you'll see where this goes.

All across the nation, the "domestic terrorists" label is being thrown about too much by the Democrats. Lawbreakers are one thing, terrorists are another. Radical jihadists are terrorists, not protesting cattle ranchers!

Al Marvell

Scotia

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