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Community Forum: Gainesville should revise school districts
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It is an embarrassment that our city school system looks more like a three-ring circus than a model school system.

I applaud Carl Rogers for taking interest in this problem and coming up with a solution. It is not the solution that I would like to see, but change has got to be made. If the school board can't do it, then Mr. Rogers' solution is the next step.

I believe we need to tighten our belts and revise our "schools of choice" into "districts with choice." We need to draw district lines that guarantee a space when people move into a district. If someone wants to go to a different school within the city, they can, as long as space is available and they provide transportation. (This will save the school more than $100,000, plus the cost of trailers due to overcrowding.)

As people move into the city, they can make their choice by moving into the district they like. As it stands, someone can move into the city and may not be able to attend the school closest to them. This does not help property values.

Keep in mind, people buy homes because of schools and property values go up or down because of a school. If people have a guarantee spot in the school they want, the home sales will go up and so will tax revenue.

Everyone may not agree with this, but we can't make everyone happy. We need to look into solutions to straighten out this mess and strengthen our school system.

Rogers' solution will give us school districts without any choice and without local control. Do we want that?

I hope everyone will rethink the "schools of choice" model because we can't afford it.

Kellie Weeks
Gainesville

How low will it go? Lanier still in danger
July is almost here and Lake Lanier's water levels are dropping again from a spring increase 7 feet above its all-time low of 1,050 feet. I'm getting really ticked off, more than I was in 2006 when this started.

In 2006, we lost 8 feet from a pool of 1,069 feet; full pool is 1,071, last seen in 2005. Not a biggie, we thought at the time; we can easily recover 10 feet of water.

Our big concern was the mismanagement of the lake by the Army Corps of Engineers that resulted in losing billions of gallons of water due to faulty gauges. Then the drought hit and tropical storms went to Mexico and Texas instead of up the Florida Panhandle. There was no recovery and we ended with a pool of 1,061.

To make matters worse, Florida sued the corps and Georgia over a handful of so-called endangered fish and mussels that only a raccoon can enjoy. So the Corps is mandated by courts to release more water for the fishing industry, and the spiral downward has not stopped.

Florida doesn't drink our water; it flushes it out to the Gulf of Mexico, never to be used again. It wants fresh water to mix with bay water so the oyster business can survive. Endangered species acts have become a tool for politicians and environmentalists to get what they want at our expense and cover their real agendas. We've been playing this water war way too long.

Since 2007, Lanier lost 10 more feet of water, and now we've lost 2 feet more from the spring rains and a cutback on water discharges. Now they have increased releases again with less water coming into Lanier and no rain coming into the watershed to feed it. Meanwhile, the reservoirs downstream from Lanier are at or near full pool.

What did Florida and Alabama do before Buford Dam? Whatever water that trickled out of our mountains and created the Chattahoochee River was what flowed into the Gulf for centuries. Mussels, oysters and aquatic creatures survived. They even survived the corps' dredging there for decades. What flows in can flow out and no more, but that's not happening. So why have things become upside down and people are at risk instead of a few mussels?

We're going into July soon and the lake is going down, a whopping 15 feet below full pool, and coves are dry. Let's say we lose 7 more feet this season; that will create a new all-time low of 1,049 feet, 22 feet below full pool. That's scary and very dangerous for North Georgia and its people.

I don't know what the answer is, but if our governor and Congressmen don't do something quick, we'll be hurting soon. Some people don't know or care about this issue, but just like the gasoline situation we're experiencing, we'll be cursing our government for their lack of leadership and action.

Dig now for new reservoirs. Drill now for all Americans. It's a chant that should be on everyone's lips so our governments can hear us loud and clear. We have to start now since our governments didn't have the guts to plan ahead. They all have their heads in the sand and are just doing the fluff work for votes.
We need real leaders real fast on real issues.

Jane Browder
Gainesville

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