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Letters Published in May 2, 2007 Issue
May 2, 2007 - Letter submitted by Bill Sitler, Knightstown
Knightstown: "A good place to visit - Still a good place to live."
Like many small towns in the Midwest which have lost job opportunities and support for retail business, our town remains true to 9our heritage and our motto.
Thanks to pride in our community and volunteer efforts as exemplified by the "Make a Difference Committee," we have a great deal going for us as a community, which is a nice place to visit and a great place to live.
Personally, I feel pride to remember our small town heritage as far back as the '30s during the Depression, the WW II years during the '40s, and the economic and retail resurgence during the '50s. No, I do not remember when folks came to town in horse and carriage and tethered their horses to the posts and chain around the Public Square.
I remember when folks came early to shop, to park and visit and attend a movie or an activity on the Public Square - a merchant lottery or a Saturday band concert. I remember Shaw's factory bus leaving for Chrysler.
These memories have a lot to do with why I hold dear the Public Square. Please let us keep it historically unique, including the posts and chain. I believe that could last for 20 to 50 years or longer with some maintenance.
May 2, 2007 - Letter submitted by Elizabeth Johnson, rural Knightstown
The Banner's recent coverage of the possible elimination of five positions within the local school corporation has created quite a stir within the community, as well it should. However, I wish to take umbrage over a related statement Mr. Fruth made in that very same Banner article.
After a discussion of the personnel to be involved in the cost-saving maneuver, the story moved to the topic of finances. "Well, certainly, our finances are what they are," remarked Board President Mike Fruth, who said the board's decision to collect less than the maximum available for the General Fund in 2006 was in response to citizen complaints about high taxes, adding, "That's what the patrons requested."
Excuse me?! Apparently the thought process went something like this: "Well, we're in a heap of hurt right now. Who should we blame it on? Oh, wait. I know ... the taxpayer. That oughta do the trick." Sorry, Mister -- not on my watch. That's some kind of audacity going on there! You (as in the collective school board) carried out your financial duties with an apparent lack of foresight and then have the nerve to presume/hope I'm going to take the blame for your mistakes and lapses in judgment? I think not! That is so patently absurd it defies description.
In the first place, it's specious logic to blame this whole fiasco on the complaining taxpayers who voiced their concerns to the board. How many hundreds of taxpayers did you not hear from? Those of us who, while we certainly are not dancing our way to the assessor's office to pay our property taxes, ante up because it's a small price to pay for living in a democracy. Our acceptance of both the system and our role as financial providers for the school corporation doesn't bear any weight? So now we all get to be accused of failing our students?
Secondly, the whole tax argument is, quite simply, false on its face. Don't claim that the school board didn't collect the maximum tax levy because that's what the patrons wanted, trying to convince me in the process that that decision had anything at all to do with the amount of taxes I paid. I guarantee you, my property tax statement didn't show a decrease simply because the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation chose not to collect the maximum tax levy available for the General Fund in 2006. My tax burden remained the same, regardless of the school board's inept handling of the situation. So don't blame this one on me. I paid it; you chose not to use it. Your loss.
There is a more important issue of concern here though. Yes, school board members are elected officials and, as such, should rightfully be concerned with the views of their constituents. However, this in no way absolves them from making informed, logical decisions that impact the very institution they govern. In an ideal world, the decision-making process would involve pleasing everyone; in reality, it's just not possible. In light of that, I expect school board members to utilize every tool at their disposal to make insightful, rational, informed decisions, regardless of how those decisions are received by the community. A clearly researched, well-thought plan of action that produces the required results speaks volumes ... even in the face of opposition. A poor plan of action that garners negative consequences, such as the elimination of five positions, can do nothing but produce an outcry of epic proportions. My expectation is that you have the training, the understanding of finances, and the knowledge to make these kinds of decisions. In short, do your job, and damn the torpedoes!
I would be greatly appreciative, Mr. Fruth, if you would not lay this burden at my doorstep. The school board needs to shoulder this one. Pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and move forward with your eyes wide open, having learned a lesson of value from this entire experience. That's the true measure of wisdom, and it's certainly the least we can do for our students.
May 2, 2007 - Letter submitted by Sally Molden and Mary Etta Shaul, Wilkinson
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the great people of our community and surrounding area for making the blood drive for Susan (Condo) Stillinger a huge success.
For all the people who came to donate blood, for the patience shown while you waited, for all who helped in so many ways, we're forever grateful. A special thanks to Denny Spegal! Jason and his staff were so gracious and caring - what nice people to work with. It was so good to have George, Amy and Harold Condo there to visit with everyone for the day. They've touched so many lives along the way. We missed you, Susan, and our thoughts and prayers continue for you, David, Joshua and Jordan.
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