June 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Story overlooks impact of school cuts

On June 12, the Press Herald reported the passage of the Gorham School Department's FY2014 budget, outlining the 2.2 percent overall budget increase.

click image to enlarge

A teacher leads a class at Gorham High School in 2008. A reader says the Gorham School Department’s 2013-14 budget trims spending in ways that will hurt students.

2008 File Photo/John Patriquin

While this is important information, it tells only part of the story. Missing from this article was any information on the cuts our schools are suffering.

A quick look at the budget document available on the Gorham Schools website reveals that our vote to approve the school budget was a vote in favor of $642,845 worth of cuts.

Or, in more relatable terms, the loss of two full-time teachers, 5½ educational technician positions, one technologist and the reduction in hours for all educational technicians districtwide, from seven-hour days to six-hour days.

Other cuts are included, but the bulk of them represent people -- educators who won't be there on the first day of school and whose students and colleagues will suffer because of it.

We have come to view education as a cost, an expense. But this is the wrong way to look at it. Education is an investment in our community, and it always pays off.

When education is well-funded, crime rates go down and property values go up. A vote to cut the school budget is a vote against the well-being of our community.

It makes our town a less desirable place to live, lowering the value of our homes, But more importantly, it hurts our children; it limits their opportunities and their chances for success.

Like the 45 percent of voters who did not approve the budget, I wanted to vote it down, too -- but not because we're spending too much. When it comes to investing in our schools and our community, and preparing our children for the world that awaits them, we're spending far too little.

Tara Connor

Gorham

Gun permit mandate backer should reread U.S. history

A Voice of the People writer of May 30, Jeffrey Lord ("Gun permit mandate honors unarmed Mainers' rights"), is quite confused when it comes to gun rights, it appears.

His lament that those unarmed have no right to freedom from guns would indicate that he does not remember history or the important rights backed by our founding U.S. Constitution.

Does he not know that when seconds count, the police are minutes away? Does he not know that gun owners have been protecting him and his family all these years because in a pro-gun state like Maine, the bad guys know the risk of being shot is greater and therefore do fewer such crimes?

He further stated that that the U.S. has a serious gun problem. Does he not know that there are 22,436 gun laws across the nation already? It isn't a gun problem, it is a law problem!

It is apparent that those who think as he does have a very narrow view of the world and have no idea that gun-free zones are where the perpetrators know they are free to strike.

I think that most gun carriers do because they know that the police cannot be everywhere. They also carry concealed because to do so openly creates many police confrontations that are caused by busybody reports of offended unknowing citizens.

Instead of being offended that those who have met the intent of the concealed-weapons permit law, Mr. Lord should be thanking those honest gun carriers who have taken the time to train and meet all the requirements of the law.

(Continued on page 2)

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