Saturday/Sunday, July 9-10, 2011: Charter schools, gay marriage in Maine

Posted July 08, 2011, at 8:45 p.m.

Charter School Math

What the opponents of charter schools never admit is that more funding per public school student would be available for public school students than would be available without charter schools.

Why? Because in every formula I have ever seen for allocation of funding for charter schools, only 80 percent (or even less) of the current allocation goes to the new school, the rest stays behind in the public school budget. This actually increases the per capita allocation tot he public schools.

Let’s take a simple example, using convenient, but realistic numbers. The hypothetical school budget is $10 million and there are 1,000 students. The per capita budget is $10,000 per student. Assume 20 percent of the students transfer to the charter school and take with them $160,000. That is 80 percent of the $200,000 in the original budget for them; $40,000 stays behind with the original district. This makes the budget of the 800 remaining students $840,000, a 5 percent increase on a per capita basis.

Those who argue that charter schools drain public schools of resources simply ignore the fact that 200 fewer students have to be educated in the remaining public school The need for teachers and administrators would diminish.

The argument is really about protecting teachers-union jobs. Why drag down the best and the brightest, the motivated, toward mediocrity?

Edward A. Miller

Bangor

The American way

At the heart of it, respecting what someone does in their home is the decency of America. Church and state separation must be the status quo because it isn’t about how you feel about the issue; it is about whether or not two loving Americans should be able to seek the same tax status as any other two “married” Americans.

Marriage has been cheapened by Las Vegas and ennobled by personal churches. Obviously, the true test of marriage is not where it takes place; instead, to the law marriage means taxes.

There is a convolution that gay marriage means being married in just any church and this fallacy should be put to rest. Gays are seeking equality under law, not where they are not welcome. This is not about imposing gay ideologies and this misnomer needs to end.

Gays deserve the same protection any American would enjoy displaying their beliefs. This overwhelming hatred, fading to moral superiority should be acknowledged as religious conviction.

All men are created equal and if some disdain those of different beliefs, they should be allowed to believe what they want as the gays should be able to marry whom they want. Respecting what people worship and how people live is the American way.

Brendan Dagan

Bangor

Why presidents make war

There is much discussion concerning the actions of the president with respect to Libya, and in particular whether he should have sought some action by Congress before ordering into action U.S. ships and planes. In none of these discussions has there been any references to the two basic reasons why, in my opinion, military action is taken so lightly.

First is a paid military force of trained members who can be called into service quickly and easily. Obviously, if a president no longer needs to get from Congress a declaration of war before dispatching forces, and if there is no need to implement a draft, almost any president will feel free to use the armed forces available to answer any threat, real or perceived.

Second is the existence of a large corps of officers, bright and well-educated, who have seen senior members advance in rank as a result of having served during a war. Clearly, any young person who has chosen the military officer corps as a career views a war as the best way to demonstrate abilities and move up in rank.

The defense budget has risen dramatically in recent years and seems almost beyond any challenge from either party in Congress, so what answer can be given to the two reasons presented herein as the cause of military actions remains a very sticky question. It seems that unless and until the public begins to consider the basic issue and make its feelings known to Congress, there will be no changes.

Frederick M. Reed

Vinalhaven

Support senior center

Having worked at Whitney Farms in Chester picking vegetables and weeding when I was young, the Whitney name, to me, is synonymous with the words generosity, caring, industrious and entrepreneurial.

Brothers Jim and Jon Whitney of Lincoln are no exception: they together are seeking to enrich the lives of others with these very character traits by establishing a senior center, the Golden Key Senior Center, at the vacant Dr. Carl Troutt School building in Mattawamkeag. This senior center will serve as a central hub for community-building, educational and fitness-health activities for seniors, and also as a facility to provide a free noontime meal for the hungry.

The Whitneys have received a good measure of support from Mattawamkeag town officials; however, the town’s citizens, at the July 25 annual meeting, will decide the fate of the vacant building. A positive vote will not only benefit the surrounding area’s hungry and seniors, it will also create new opportunities for the town’s citizens and businesses, boosting its economy with the increased traffic. A negative vote will leave the building empty, except for the few activities currently held there.

Jim and Jon Whitney can use our support. Requests for information on plans for the Golden Key Senior Center, and for a membership packet or a volunteer worker application, may be sent to the men at Golden Key Senior Center, P.O. Box 178, Lincoln, ME 04457 or GoldenKeySrCtr@gmail.com.

Kathleen McIntyre

Old Town

Sparking fireworks, bad feelings

I agree with Tanya Troiani’s July 6 letter to the editor regarding the legalization of fireworks in the state of Maine.

Legalization of fireworks is, in my opinion, a poor choice. As she notes, noise pollution and terrified pets and wildlife are among the negative consequences, not to mention the risk of injury to children and adults.

However, I was saddened that she closed her letter with the negative reference that as a result of legalization of fireworks Maine was “feeling more New Jerseyish every day.” In every state there are individuals who disrespect the environment and people around them. To make global generalizations about individuals, groups or even states adds nothing to the conversation to solve problems, it only serves to spark conflict and ill feelings.

Mary Tedesco-Schneck

Bangor

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/08/opinion/saturdaysunday-july-9-10-2011-charter-schools-gay-marriage-in-maine/ printed on August 30, 2014