I was surprised to learn from Blade Editor David Kushma’s Sept. 19 op-ed column, “Tough choices, for TPS and voters,” that four fifths of the Toledo Public Schools budget goes to employee compensation. That seems to be a misdirection of funds. A 5 percent loss of enrollment and only 2 out of 5 students graduating are terrible results of a failed system.
I have to work a third-shift job to supplement my retirement. People over 65 should have a freeze on property tax increases. I have no way to increase my income.
I don’t care if schools have football or not. Let’s get the focus back on education. Why can’t a child be educated for the $7,000 a year supplied by us now?
More money is not the answer. It will be shared by the administration and we’ll be in the same boat we are now.
I will vote against the TPS levy. Let TPS find another way to fund its inefficient and ineffective education program.
TPS: Listen to homeowners
Toledo Schools Superintendent Jerome Pecko said the district should put away federal stimulus money for next year. along with any savings he can identify by cutting payroll (“TPS to lay off 2 dozen teachers,” Sept. 14).
The district would save $6,000 a year if it cut Mr. Pecko's $500 monthly car allowance. A lot of qualified people looking for work would take employment without an extra $500 incentive.
Cuts are never made at the top. If the Board of Education is smart, it will listen to overtaxed and overburdened Toledo homeowners and begin looking at Mr. Pecko's employment package to cut payroll.
TPS must not really need a levy
I was under the impression that Toledo Public Schools is broke. How can the district hire Keith Wilkowski at $200 per hour (“TPS hires Wilkowski as counsel,” Sept. 29)?
If he wants to work with an important public institution, let him volunteer his time. I'm sure he can afford it. And I'm also sure people won't be voting for another TPS levy any time soon.
If TPS can afford to hire Mr. Wilkowski, it doesn't need any money.
Ohio sound on public retirement
You have devoted many resources to covering the problem of public employee pension costs, and especially to shine a light on the practice of “double-dipping,” in which retirees return to work after they begin receiving their pensions.
You are to be commended for alerting your readers to a problem of national import, as states such as California sink under the weight of public pensions. It would be helpful for you to explore how Ohio stands on its funding of public pensions.
The Pew Center on the States, a respected, nonprofit research organization, concluded that “Ohio is a national leader in managing its long-term liabilities for both pensions and retiree health care and other benefits for public sector workers.”
The center rated our state a “solid performer” — one of just three states so rated.
The Pew report concluded that “while many states are having trouble managing the costs of their public sector retirement benefits, Ohio stands out as a positive role model and early adopter of sound practices.”
Please continue coverage of this important fiscal matter.
Kasich bad for public pensions
One of the worst ideas of the Bush administration was its attempt to privatize Social Security. Fortunately, that lamebrained idea did not fly because American voters spoke loudly.
Republican candidate for governor John Kasich wants to do that with Ohio's pension funds. He evidently wants to hand over a golden egg to his friends on Wall Street.
He will line the pockets of his business buddies to the detriment of ordinary taxpayers. Mr. Kasich doesn't have to worry about living on a fixed income, but many of us do.
Let every public pensioner beware. Keep him out of the statehouse.
Quit singing as if all is well
Would somebody please tell Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland that God has blessed America and America has squandered the blessings (“Striking a chord with Democrats,” Sept. 30)?
We had better quit singing and start repenting.
Voters, know what pols drive
Voters should care about the cars that politicians drive (“Voters don't care about pols' cars,” Readers' Forum, Sept. 30).
The auto industry is the only manufacturing base this country has left. One plant closing means thousands of jobs are lost at the plant and other companies that serve the plant.
The letter writer is probably one of those people who say their children and grandchildren will never have the same opportunity as we did, and then drive off in a foreign-made car. With that mentality, they never will.
Editor's Note: The writer is financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 14.
Easy solutions to earmarks
Earmarks are bribes that use taxpayers' money to influence other politicians to back bills. When did this become common practice?
People want growth, jobs, and money brought to our area. But why do we need earmarks to pass bills? If a bill can't stand on its own merit, maybe it should not be passed.
Instead of being happy that taxpayer money is used to finance these items, why not lower taxes and keep the money in the area in the first place? Maybe it sounds too simple.
Rat infestation worsens matters
Toledo is infested with rats as a result of construction and demolition. When I called the city, I was told that there is a rat problem, one of the worst officials have seen, but the city isn't able to do anything about it.
As a Toledo taxpayer, I've had to deal with a trash tax fee, fewer police officers, nonexistent snow removal, and now rats.
I'm praying for the housing market to get better.
Jason L. Mitchell
Don't whine when process is hijacked
I'm glad you recognize that our country might crumble if we let the Constitution, our outdated legislative process, and some arcane system of checks and balances get in the way of establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Wise move on Warren,” editorial, Sept. 19).
But when right-wingers establish a bureau that oversees and regulates the distribution of printer's ink, funds it through an agency beyond the control of Congress, and overrides congressional approval of the director of the bureau, don't come whining to us when a president hijacks the process the same way.
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