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Comments by patricca

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Posted on April 2 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Carol McKechnie and other Nisky school tax payers:
Did you know that Superintendent Baughman's salary for 2010-11 was in excess of $218,000? Of the 19 administrator salaries I have looked at so far, 13 of them exceed $100k. The others are all in the $90ks. These salaries, as reported by the comptroller, do NOT include benefits. 17 of these 19 received a minimum 9% pay raise from the 2009-10 school year with Baughman at 11% and Lynne Rutnik at 27%. Again, this does NOT include benefits. Carol, I love your ideas about raising more revenue. However, I think we should also focus on cutting expenses. Cutting positions at the top would be a good place to start.

From: Letters to the Editor for April 2

Posted on March 24 at 6:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Jerry - it's not 1970 anymore. We have gone too far in the other direction.

From: Letters to the Editor for March 24

Posted on March 21 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To readitdaily:

I really don't think that David "bashed" teachers, to use your words. David never said that teachers don't deserve the pay they receive, he simply pointed out facts regarding their pay, the time they put in, and the benefits they enjoy. David then went on to point out a few weaknesses in the education system. Perhaps these statements could be interpreted as "bash[ing]" by someone taking a defensive position on behalf of teachers and the unions that support them?

While it is true that David learned his ability to communicate from teachers. It is also true that he acquired this skill at home, in church, at family gatherings, etc. While education is absolutely necessary for success, teachers are not the only ones who educate. They are a key piece of the puzzle, but they are only 1 piece. Finally, just because teachers perform a vital function in our society, doesn't mean we, as taxpayers, are willing to pay without limit for this service. There are limits to everything. We've simply reached ours with regard to pay for teachers and other public servants.

From: Letters to the Editor for March 21

Posted on March 21 at 3:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To Terry and other like-minded individuals:

Re: "The deficits occurred in large part by the financial crisis at the end of 2007...[t]he financial crisis was caused by the insatiable greed of the wealthy, especially those in the financial industries, making tens of thousands of bad loans to home buyers."

The above is an example of the way a liberal mind interprets the recession. It is rather simplistic and, certainly, easy to see it this way because it does not assign any personal responsibility to the individuals who actually applied for and took out those loans. A conservative will take this reasoning a step further and realize that banks only loaned to those who were willing to assume the risk of losing everything if they overextended themselves. So, you see, the banks did not cause the huge deficits, the defaulting mortgagors did.

From: Letters to the Editor for March 21

Posted on December 17 at 10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To Eric Lewis:

I apologize if anything I said in my letter made you angry. The tone of your letter indicates that you are angry with me. I am not angry with anyone - except our politicians and government representatives. You see, Eric, I am aware of the research that indicates earlier exposure to education is better for children. I am also aware of the research that contradicts those findings. Suffice it to say, the research does not lead to a strong conclusion either way.

I am questioning the utility of having government provide this service. You see, there are currently private schools that provide this education to our children. Preschool is private, in most places. After half-day kindergarten day care is, for the most part, provided by private industry. Children with special needs can qualify for district services in the pre-k years; thereby, reducing the need to address these issues later. Why are we allowing government to take over yet another service that should be provided by private industry?

In taking a look at the bigger picture, I spoke with a local day care provider and I learned that they will lose approximately $100k in revenue with this move to full-day kindergarten. They will have to layoff 4-5 people as a result of the expansion. Government is not supposed to put people out of work.

Most of us are experiencing great financial difficulty right now. Perhaps you are not, Eric. Perhaps yet another increase in taxes to fund yet another unnecessary program will not put you in the red. However, many of us are in that position. Many of us want to see government working for the majority of people. As I mentioned in my letter, the majority of Niskayuna residents are satisfied with half-day kindergarten. If people want full-day kindergarten, they should pay for it themselves, rather than thrusting that cost onto all residents.

Admittedly, full-day kindergarten is not the only program that is unnecessary. We do need to look at the entire budget to determine where other cuts can be made. And, again, I apologize if my letter indicated that this was a knee jerk reaction on my part. To continue with the theme of using idioms, this was a "straw that broke the camel's back" reaction for me. I just cannot sit quietly and watch my government spend my money irresponsibly. It's been going on for way too long. I've had enough. Perhaps, Eric, you have not had enough. That's fine. But, I did get you thinking about it - which means I achieved the desired result.

One final thought: the foundation of freedom is choice. Each time we give government more money to make decisions for us, we are giving them our right to choose and, with that, a little bit of freedom. Those little bits add up until we no longer have any choices or any freedom.

From: Letters to the Editor for Dec. 17

Posted on December 15 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have not heard anyone say, "we can't do that because we've never done it before." The problem with full-day kindergarten really has nothing to do with kindergarten. The problem stems from spending tax dollars on the expansion of an unnecessary program in our current dire financial circumstances.

The question was asked: "...why not keep them in school longer and let them learn more and play more?" The answer is money. We cannot have everything we want. We cannot expect government to provide us with everything we want. We have to take responsibility for our own children and provide them with the play and learning they need.

I agree wholeheartedly that we need to move into the twenty-first century. Part of that move is accepting that we have transferred far too much responsibility to our government(s). If many children are currently in full-day care settings, moving to full-day kindergarten will negatively impact local private day care providers. One day care provider estimates that the move to full-day kindergarten will cost them $100,000 in lost revenue. This equals 4 - 5 teachers in that program that will be laid off. This is just another example of government moving into what should be a service provided by private industry. Schools are not day care centers. We should not expect our schools to provide us with day care. We should only expect our schools to provide us with quality education.

The foundation of freedom is choice. Each time we give government more money to make decisions for us, we are giving them our right to choose and, with that, a little bit of freedom. Those little bits add up until we no longer have any choices or any freedom.

Full-day kindergarten is not an emergent issue in our community. We, as taxpayers, cannot afford to fund yet another unnecessary program.

From: Letters to the Editor for Dec. 13

Posted on October 7 at 7:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Patricia - I have no problem with raising the cap on Social Security taxes for higher wage earners. However, this increase must be accompanied by an increase in the benefit they receive in retirement. Social Security is an entitlement program. The benefit received is based upon the amount contributed. Thus, if the "millionaires" contribute more, they must also be given a higher benefit in the end. Unlike income taxes, where the rich contribute more but get less out of the system (they don't collect welfare, food stamps, financial aid, Medicaid, etc.), the dollar amount of an individual's Social Security benefit is tied directly to the amount each individual contributed. As such, Patricia, you need to look at other ways to take money from the rich and redistribute it to the poor.

From: Letters to the Editor for Oct. 7

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