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Your views: Firing Ballowe would waste taxpayer money
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The dismissal of Dr. Steven Ballowe would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

I searched for a better way to say it, but it’s simply the truth. Dismissal of Dr. Ballowe would be such a terrible waste of money, talent and expertise. One cannot argue that a $7 million deficit is cause for alarm or that the superintendent and the school board ought to be held accountable. However, we must realize that it is impossible to put a price tag on Dr. Ballowe’s value to us as a leader and a visionary. Losing him, in my view, would be our $7 million loss.

Since Dr. Steve Ballowe arrived in Gainesville, he has had a vision for our young people and he refuses to allow anyone to deter him from building one of the premiere school systems in the nation. In such a short period of time, he has made exceptional gains that are clearly reflected in student achievement. The importance of Dr. Ballowe to our children in invaluable. The "Gainesville Model" is whereby every family is valued and provided choice, where every educator is respected and allowed to create a teaching environment that encourages actual learning, and where every child is valued. This is a nationally recognized model for excellence.

The Newtown Florist Club has worked in partnership with Dr. Ballowe in the past and will continue to support him as he faces the challenges that lie ahead. To not be concerned about the budget situation may be asking too much. But what is not asking too much is for those citizens clamoring for the removal of the superintendent to wait until a final audit is completed and all the facts are in. It is also our hope that Dr. Ballowe will be given the resources and cooperation that he needs to put corrective measures in place to overhaul the financial management system, resolve this crisis and improve accountability.

In the meantime, we will not support any efforts to force him to leave or to distract him from accomplishing his goal of producing a school system where student performance is unmatched in the state. We are committed to standing with him in a spirit of unyielding solidarity and support until he finishes the job that he came here to do.

Faye Bush

Ballowe needs to quit, but he won’t go quietly

I wonder how long the citizens of Gainesville are going to suffer this man. Maybe now that it appears to directly affect our wallets, something will be done.

The superintendent came to my attention when he changed the flags at Gainesville High School. It wasn’t so much the act that irked me as was the asinine reason he gave for during it. From some of the statements he made at the time, it was evident he did not know the proper protocol for an international flag display and did not take the time to research the subject. At that time, I wrote to The Times wondering how he got his job in the first place.

In November 2007, he took offense at an election mailer sent out by Sammy Smith. Mr. Smith was concerned about some of the actions by the school board that indicated a lack of common business sense. In other words, he was seeking accountability. It looks now like the chickens have come home to roost.

Mr. Ballowe needs to realize that as superintendent, he is responsible for this latest SNAFU and stop blaming everyone else. This is just another example of his incompetence. As to his contract, it appears he wrote himself a sweetheart deal and the majority of the board went along with it. He makes quite a bit more than the county superintendent whose system is about four times that of the city’s. I have come to the conclusion that he is either politically connected or a really good salesman. He needs to go, but by his past actions, I don’t see him resigning as he should. I predict he will wait to get fired so he can collect a nice payoff.

Wilburn Morris

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