Letters to the editor – Sunday (4-26-09)

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 24, 2009

Let local districts set school dates
Thanks to the editors of the Salisbury Post for a particularly insightful editorial about the school calendar debate. Unfortunately, it has taken five full years for the N.C. Association of Educators to realize that the 2004 school calendar law, which limits the start of school to no earlier than Aug. 25 each year, was harmful not only to students but to it’s own members as well.
Many parents of high schoolers now agree that postponing first semester final exams until after the Christmas break hurts students and wastes precious teaching time. As a parent, I strongly believe that the ability to set local school calendars should be reserved to local school boards who have the best interests of students at heart, not to politicians who are trying to please big business lobbyists.
It’s about time that the legislators let parents, not resort and tourist interests, decide what schedule is best for educating their own children.
ó Bill Bucher
Pressuring Alcoa
I find it difficult to believe the state of North Carolina can entertain purchasing and then trying to figure out how to run a hydroelectric power project when it cannot afford its own state employees’ insurance. Last week, the governor also froze all school purchases throughout the state. All news lately from the state is how bad the economy is and how stimulus money is needed.
Why does the state want to purchase a hydro-power project through force and try to figure out how to operate it?
If you read the proposed bill for the takeover, you will understand its shortcomings, since the trust set up in the bill is favored for default in every aspect. It’s almost as if the bill was written to default the project to the trust, so the trust can then do whatever it wants to do with the projects and land owned by Alcoa. The bill also identifies cleanup costs along the Yadkin River. What better way for the project to lose money and then default to the trust? Anyone who reads newspapers and listens to the news understands what environmental cleanups cost. Why does the state want to assume responsibility for them in this bill? Why is the bill written this way?
It’s time for Senator Hartsell, who is driving this bill, to tell us who comprises the “trust” and what involvement our lawmakers have in the creation of it and their association with its members. This bill stinks; it’s rotten from the first word.
Alcoa does not want to sell its property. It is being pressured by the state.
The Democrats running North Carolina need to be stopped. This is a bad bill. It will result in a huge cost to taxpayers and not pay for itself, as they are trying to convince us.
ó Mark A. Oden