Letters to the Editor - May 26

May 26, 2012

‘Hardship withdrawals’ need further investigation

To the editor:

Well, here it is May and my mortgage is past due another month and I have auto insurance coming due as well. Like other Americans, I am in debt. I do have a 401(k), but in order for it to be a so-called “hardship withdrawal,” I have to have a letter from my mortgage company stating I am in the foreclosure process. Bill consolidation is not considered a hardship, even though you have trouble making ends meet without it. I do have a full-time job. I am past due in visiting my doctor in order to save money for other bills

I would like to see our representatives in Washington look over these companies that manage 401(k) accounts that do not allow employees who are vested to withdraw monies to save their house or meet their auto insurance needs. You know, in Maryland, you get fined upfront a certain amount for not having insurance, and it’s also an additional amount every day you are without it. 

Martin Keller

Pa. governor has passed buck on school funding

To the editor:

There has been a lot of mudslinging recently between the governor, legislators, interest groups, labor unions and, of course, school districts. Just within this last week there have been at least six letters to the editor locally about education funding in Pennsylvania.

I was one of the very few school directors who supported Gov. Corbett’s efforts to combat our $4 billion dollar deficit, but my patience and backing of the governor’s agenda is diminishing quickly. Corbett said districts should tap into reserves to get by. Are you serious? Districts are tapping into their reserves; in fact, districts are using up all of their reserve funds, and racking up massive deficits.

We are fortunate in Tuscarora to have a decent balance in our reserve account, and have worked hard to do so. If one of our building roofs collapses or another emergency arises, we can fix it. Our rainy day funds were not created to make up for the state’s irresponsibility. Corbett seems to forget that the state is constitutionally required to provide an equal opportunity education. The governor and our legislators have the luxury of saying “no new taxes,” whereas my colleagues and I are being beat up by our residents for raising taxes by 2 mills. I hate putting more of a tax burden on our residents, but we are left with no choice right now.

I am saddened when I walk through our buildings and see empty classrooms, and opportunities that we cannot offer our students. This doesn’t mean our students aren’t still getting an exceptional education; it just means that we are not anywhere near our full potential.

Just as most politicians do, the governor and our legislators seem to be passing the buck down the line. Sure, I wish I had the luxury of saying, “Hey folks, you won’t be taxed more this year,” but I don’t. The governor has put being the bearer of bad news on me. I took an oath to provide a “high-quality education” to my students and to ensure their safety; this gets harder and harder every day.

Chris Ardinger, school director
Tuscarora School District

Citizens should support county’s public school system

To the editor:

As we approach the end of another school year, it might be a good time to reflect on why we go to school. I have a friend who is a retired educator on Maryland’s Eastern Shore who has this to say about education.

“Students need to be taught to listen, be quiet, pay attention, process and respond to knowledge, learn to learn, and learn to read and do math. If they can do those things, they can learn for a lifetime.” She goes on to say that information is changing so rapidly that it is difficult for schools to teach them all they need to know.

In today’s world, if young people are taught how to process new information, in most cases, they will be successful. In my opinion, this is what education in 2012 should be striving to accomplish.

As school systems go, Washington County Public Schools has a lot to be proud about. However, there are many students falling behind every year. As a tutor of elementary students, I have observed this firsthand. This is unfortunate. School systems can only do so much. They need a strong partnership with the home to be successful.

My knowledge tells me we have a school system of competent, caring educators and employees. As citizens, we need to do all we can to support them in a number of ways. I call on all citizens to think about ways you can support Washington County Public Schools.

Meredith Fouche

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