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Your views: Gainesville school board should cut expenses before raising our taxes
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It is with great concern that I read of the financial inefficiency and turmoil that our city education system finds itself in. I know you find the $6 million deficit troubling as I do. Before the board votes for a 20 percent tax increase, I hope it considers these thoughts.

There are many ways to cut a budget; ask anyone who owns a business. Cut personnel, expenses, consolidate services and eliminate the fluff. Are there empty classrooms at schools not being used?

Schools of choice may need to become schools of necessity. A business could not just raise prices 20 percent and say "we’re sorry" and succeed. Education is about teaching in the classroom.

During these difficult economic times we all are in, they are hitting citizens unfairly. As our discretionary income continues to be decreased with everything costing more, a 20 percent tax increase can damage our local economy. It is not right to pay for the sins of a few by raising taxes on all.

Times are tough, and if a tax increase comes, I pray it comes with a guarantee to roll the increase back when the deficit is no longer there.

The citizens of Gainesville should not be forced to cover the mistakes of our city school officials and the board of education. Please get your house in order.

Janice Y. Rogers


Russert embodied real values in his reporting

While we join in the mourning of the passing of Tim Russert, and we send our prayers to his family and loved ones as they grieve the loss of their husband, father, son or friend, let us not forget to also celebrate his life.

Russert provided us with a fine example of what the American dream can hold. He came from a hard-working family in Buffalo where his father worked two jobs to provide. One of those jobs was with the sanitation department and brought his son the appreciation he held for honest labor sincerely done.

Throughout his career, Russert was known as the most prepared and thorough moderator on all U.S. news programs. His work ethic was second to none. He was known to walk alone through political events simply to gauge the tone of the crowd so his reporting would be accurate in both letter and spirit.

He taught all who listened the value of tough questions asked in civility, and he outshone all of the so-called journalists who preen on cable news.

Russert demonstrated a value most needed in America today, that of honoring our parents and standing in full support of our children as they seek their own path. His book about his father will long live as a shining example of how powerful our hearts can be when formed by a strong and loving dad. He further was a man unafraid to live his faith in the public arena, another attribute sorely needed in America today.

While is it clear we have lost a fine man too early, let us all recall that we had the blessing of Tim Russert and all he stood for within our midst, and that the light of all he stood for will not soon be darkened.

Michael Hawkins


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