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Letters to the Editor

June 24, 2009

Gymnastics team should be saved



To the editor:

I'd like to clarify a few points concerning Waynesboro Area School Board member Pat Heefner looking to terminate the gymnastics program at Waynesboro Area Senior High School. The $17,926 gymnastics budget is already reduced by $2,200 (a request to purchase a balance beam). It was stated the $17,926 was over by $900, not specific why, but that equals $14,826. $10,000 is for coaches, and per the teacher's union, coaches get yearly raises. Our head coach tenure is 15 years, assistant coach is nine. That leaves $4,800ish for travel and officials, in line with other programs. The team will grow next year, bringing cost per student down more.

At the school board meeting, high school Athletic Director Dan McLaughlin did not support the gymnastics team and was not positive about the team. As AD, he should be supportive of programs he is paid to oversee. If he doesn't go to bat for athletics, who's team is next? If Heefner terminates teams, then I think McLaughlin's salary should be cut in proportion to reduced responsibilities.

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McLaughlin was incorrect that these gymnasts compete in clubs. Only two are club gymnasts and my daughter, Tracie, is not one of them. Tracie has been out of club gymnastics for three years and completed her 10th grade high school varsity gymnastics season as state all-around champion, state balance beam champion and state vault champion with a career GPA of 3.86, all As, one B+ (Advanced Placement Chemistry). Division I Women's Gymnastics teams consistently win the award for highest GPA as a team. Gymnastics demands academic excellence resulting in scholarships - athletic and academic.

Sponsoring independents won't work, they are not club gymnasts and won't have access to equipment or facilities. Independents = no team, this team has won districts two years in a row! Gymnastics is growing locally, Hanover and Dallastown restarted and Northern Lebanon is new this year.

I want new school board members ... who like Firmadge Crutchfield, will protect the students, student programs and be a voice for conservative taxpayers.

Sherry Cline
Waynesboro, Pa.




Will America continue to go as GM goes?



To the editor:

"As General Motors goes, so goes America" was the experts' phrase, one we heard repeatedly for decades. GM destroyed itself with debt, caused by bad decisions made by outdated management. Will we learn from that gigantic failure?

The government of the United States of America is on a similar path, accumulating enormous debt, caused by bad decisions made by poorly trained politicians who believe the false idea that exorbitant government spending can lead to prosperity. The taxpayers' money going to GM will buy some time for some workers, but it will not save GM. How well has the U.S. government run Amtrak, the subsidized railroad that was supposed to be self sufficient? It loses taxpayers' money every year.

Will America continue to go as General Motors goes?

Will you allow America to go as General Motors has gone?

Grass roots movements can be the most powerful political force in America. Let's join together to stop what is happening to our country. A movement begins with an idea, and a small number of people. If the idea is strong, valid, and vitally important the numbers of people who support it will grow, and grow, and grow!

Let's stop those who will bankrupt our country. Let's return to common sense, and balanced budgets. Let's give our children and grandchildren the same opportunities other generations have had in this great country.

Let us join together at the next Hagerstown Tea Party, and tell Washington and Annapolis leaders what we expect from them.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816: "We must not let our Rulers load us with perpetual debt."

The Tea Party will be July 7, 2009, from 3 to 6 p.m. in downtown Hagerstown. Go to HagerstownTeaParty@myactv.net for more information.

Corrine Mackley
Hagerstown




Educators make more than most families



To the editor:

The official unemployment rate in Washington County in April was 9.7 percent. The unofficial unemployment rates for April and May were much higher than 9.7 percent. Involuntary unemployment is almost always a misfortune and occasionally a tragedy.

In this county, at least two large groups of workers appear to be not only exempt from the fear of possible unemployment but are actually guaranteed pay raises next year. These two groups are county employees and the county's public school employees.

There is some indication that the county employees have been paid "reasonable" amounts in the past. But the county is now engaged in "reclassifying" all county jobs and I expect that all employees will soon see healthy pay raises.

The county's public school employees (WCPS) are now the highest paid group of "workers" in the county and the Board of Education budget is the biggest ticket item in next year's county budget.

The average salary of 1,634 teachers last year was $57,000. The highest-paid kindergarten teacher was paid $77,000 and there are 80 kindergarten teachers. The highest-paid teacher was paid $86,000. The average salary of the 53 highest-paid school administrators was more than $111,000. And not only will none of these employees face the fear of involuntary unemployment, but each of these employees will get salary increases comprised of both step increases and cost-of-living increases next year.

The estimated median family income in Washington County in 2007 was $50,000. Seventy percent of the teachers and school administrators, about 1,250 employees, each made more money last year than the median family income in this county.

So even if some of us believe that WCPS produces mediocre overall results at best, we can all agree that WCPS employees live high on the hog with the taxes we pay.

Daniel Moeller
Rohrersville

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