Letters Ax to grind

To the editor:

Watching the city hall meetings is becoming more and more like a soap opera. It is obvious by the blatant remarks directed to Mayor Kozak that Neil and Lynette Melby have a personal ax to grind with the mayor.

Are the Melbys really that concerned about how the city spends the taxpayers' dollars or are they simply trying to harass Mayor Kozak? Some of us are starting to wonder about the motives behind these "concerned citizens."

Since the Melbys have become almost permanent fixtures at city hall, perhaps living quarters should be considered for them if a new hall is constructed.

I say we bring that to a public vote � these ballot issues are fun.

Mark E. Dahl


School cuts penalize children

To the editor:

Recent debates about the location of city hall have overshadowed a critical event. The Vermillion Public Schools have chosen to solve a deficit problem by reducing teaching staff and increasing class size. Think about this. An institution with the responsibility of educating the future of Vermillion has chosen to save money by eliminating teaching positions and increasing class size. Teachers produce educated students. Smaller class sizes provide better quality one-on-one time with students. Administrators have some contribution, but do not have the direct impact a teacher has on the student. By cutting teachers, we cut the quality of education our students recieve.

Let's put this into perspective. I don't know a prudent business owner who doesn't save money by addressing administrative costs first when looking to cut corners. If I own a manufacturing business, I don't reduce the staff that builds or sells the equipment I manufacture to save money; I look at how I can reduce administrative costs in order to produce a high quality product within the economic constraints given.

If I cut the staff mentioned earlier, I doom myself to failure because I can neither manufacture nor sell a product worthy of market demand.

Children are the most valuable asset Vermillion has. I am frustrated that it takes an economic comparison of manufacturing to reinforce how cutting teachers and programs, while saving money, to demonstrate that this current course of action is not in the best interest of the children of Vermillion. Our schools have to be focused on providing the best possible education that we can provide to the children of Vermillion. If the financial situation indicates cuts, then act as a prudent business person and look to cut the administrative costs first, provide evidence to the community you have managed a cost effective administrative staff, then cut positions that don't have the long term effects on students that cutting teachers and programs will create.

Increasing class size, decreasing teaching staff and cutting programs penalizes the children. We as a community owe them more than that.

Jim Larsen


Remember our brave men and women

To the editor:

The holiday season is a joyous time for families to come together to celebrate and give thanks. However, as we gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, let's take care to remember the brave men and women of our armed forces who are spending the holidays far from home.

Thousands of our soldiers are stationed overseas to promote democracy and protect our nation from terrorism, risking their lives to protect the freedom we hold dear. They confront life-threatening challenges on almost a daily basis, and serve our country with honor and distinction.

Our thoughts and prayers are with these courageous men and women this holiday season, and we look forward to their safe return home.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.


Sen. Tom Daschle

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