Letters

Letters 12-22-2014

Affordable Housing Alternatives In Scott Hardy’s opinion piece in the December 15 edition, he offered six concrete ideas to address the ongoing community discussion about increasing affordable in-town housing in Traverse City.

Powerful Homeless Event Homelessness is far more complex than we thought. “Everyone Has a Story—Sit and Share Our Bench” was a wondrous performance Sunday, December 7, that opened my eyes to a wide range of experiences with homelessness, bridging the gap between “us and them.”

Long-Lasting Effects of Measles I understand several cases of measles have occurred in Traverse City. I also became aware that in Michigan, persons are three times less likely to be immunized.

Changing The Electoral College Republicans are thinking about changing how Michigan allocates Electoral College votes. Michigan, like all but two states, gives all of its electoral votes to the statewide winner of the popular vote.

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 5/30/11
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Letters 5/30/11

- May 20th, 2011
Truth about education
   Howard Walker’s Northern View (May 16) editorial did not express the whole truth.  The first part tries to mollify voters by saying education cuts are really much less than cuts to other departments.  Look at the history of state education funding rather than the past year only: since my retirement from education in 2003, state funding to the Traverse City district has remained approximately constant.  The state has not kept up with inflation and has begun to defund public education.  
   Walker is outraged that salary and benefits make up about 80% of school budgets, but what does he expect from school districts—that most of the money go to computers and textbooks?  Education delivers a service, not a product.  Its very nature assumes most expenditures will go to pay for jobs.
   Then there are his complaints about rising healthcare costs of educators.  Those rising costs belong to the economy generally, not to teachers alone.  If rising healthcare costs are a problem, deal with that.  Don’t blame educators.  His figure of $24,000 “some districts” spend for healthcare is hardly representative of plans in most districts.  In general, teachers’ healthcare policies are no more expensive than those for other  workers.
    Finally, comes the attack on retirement benefits.  Walker says retirement is eating up the finances of school districts, but he ignores the fact that contracts include healthcare, retirements, and salary.  In other words, most teachers have taken hits in salary and healthcare in order to keep their retirement benefit. It is unfair to consider reducing retirement benefits without examining the reductions in salary and healthcare that teachers have already agreed to.
   Let us be honest here: The present government of Michigan is intentionally underfunding public education for political purposes.  The next election should put an end to it.

Richard Fidler • TC
 
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