Letters to the editor, March 11, 2020

Letters to the editor, March 11, 2020

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To the editor,

This long time Journal reader is enjoying watching some of the changes going on in the structure of our area's great paper. No paper stays great by remaining static and I applaud the Journal for its changes.

The Journal remains a great place to keep-up-to date on the South Dakota 2020 political world. This Journal reader is a long time democrat. I believe however that all South Dakota voters (Republican, Democratic, and

Independent) should get political news and opinion from sources such as our Rapid City Journal!

David Nickel, Spearfish

We should have a plan

To the editor,

It's time our elected officials developed a plan; should the coronavirus become more of an epidemic.

In case they have forgotten, the Sturgis Rally is expecting 800000 people from all over the World. August is only months away! Let's not wait until 2 weeks before to act!

The S.D. Department of Health, Our Governor, two Senators and Congress Person need to get to work! The response in Washington, has been less than inspiring. Hopefully the State can do better. Am I worried? Absolutely, I'm a Senior, a Veteran and not in a rush to say goodbye to my family!

Jesse Villafuerte, Lead

What does it mean

To the editor,

This morning I woke up at about 530 a.m. I couldn’t go back to sleep.

Said the pledge of allegiance in my mind

… with liberty and justice for all

….with liberty and justice for all

….with liberty and justice for all

What does that mean?

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

That wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

...send these

...the homeless

...tempest-tossed

Needless to say I couldn’t get back to sleep.

Darlene J. Swartz, Spearfish

Note from a naysayer

To the editor,

I am a naysayer and a no voter. I agree that some of our schools need major repair and/or replacement; however the plan that was presented lacked a solid direction and was fraught with vague ideas and a fine print that made the voter feel duped.

Some major changes need to happen in regard to our schools and the construction of new facilities. Currently, there is only a small maintenance staff as these positions were cut several years ago. Consequently, even the newer facilities are coming into disrepair. Where is the plan to maintain these new facilities and take better care of what we’ve got? This should be a priority going forward.

How was the dollar amount needed determined? Where is the land for these new schools and how much will these properties cost? I believe the bond for these new schools should be for a specific amount for construction of specific schools. The unneeded properties can then be sold and the monies used for additional projects. The plan as presented with the possible increase provision left the voter feeling like they were signing a blank check.

There are contributing factors for my no vote outside of just the bond proposal. We voted the half cent sales tax increase via HB1182 to pay for a salary increase for our teachers.Come to find out, the funds for that were only used for one year to bring teacher salaries up to full speed. Where is that money going to now? The general fund? The lack of those funds going forward is putting a huge burden on districts. Those funds would be highly beneficial in pursuing some of these goals. Again, the voter has been made to feel duped.

Part of the problem in our city is the pervasive amount of properties being taken off the tax role via non-profit status. Acres and acres of land converted into apartments and condos built by other companies under the umbrella of not for profit. These properties, as well as the schools, are still subject to drainage fees. Shouldn’t they be subject to school assessment as well?

RCAS needs to look within its own infrastructure for some of these funds. Even school staff contends that RCAS is top heavy with an excessive amount of administrators throughout the district. The yes vote contingent has been coming out since the defeat of the vote in a contentious manner insinuating that the naysayers are stupid, ignorant, and without any kind of plan or insight. It’s hard to bring forth input if you’re not invited to the table. The presenters at the information meetings really had no interest in what the public thinks. Specific questions were sidestepped and not answered. The plan was being rammed down our throats with extreme campaigning which became suspect over time.

All these issues are obviously part of a complicated problem. We have a definite need for school reform and moving forward I would like to see a sensible plan for the funding and implementation of these goals. Our legislators should be working towards recovering the half cent sales tax we voted for. This is of upmost importance. If the school board wants to tighten our belts with an additional tax, they should as a sign of good faith, tighten theirs as well.

Arnold Kleinsasser, Rapid City

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