Saturday, August 29, 2009

Council Makes Good Decisions

GREENVILLE — City Council dipped into the general fund and casino gaming revenue and managed to come up with a clearer image Thursday of what next fiscal year’s budget will look like. Thursday’s workshop on the city’s finances was the last before the council hosts a public hearing on the budget 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The vast majority of funds taken from the general fund Thursday went to the Mid-Delta Regional Airport, which at the time the meeting started was $35,000 in the red. That deficit however was a big fiscal improvement for the airport, which was running close to a $267,000 deficit earlier this month, mostly for want of a fire suppression system.
To reduce the deficit, Lane Rodgers, airport director, offered a compromise last week. He suggested putting a “Band-Aid” on the airport’s current fire pumps instead of investing $219,000 in a new system. The patch-up job ran a tab of $30,000, and with other cuts and compromises, the airport’s deficit was significantly reduced.

To eliminate the remaining negative balance, the city took $33,000 from gaming and $2,000 from the general fund. The council also dipped into the general fund for computer technology, granting almost $11,000 to the police department for computer equipment and giving the Information Technology department almost $16,500 for maintenance contracts.

Council took another $18,090 from the general fund to supplement the city’s health insurance plan with Air Evac services. After Councilman Errick Simmons issued a proposal to repair the roof of the Brent Day Care center, council scooped another $5,000 from the general fund for that purpose. The city owns the day care’s building, and Simmons said that when he last visited the center six buckets were dispersed to catch water from a leaking roof throughout the property.

“These are children we are talking about,” Simmons told the council. Although the money won’t be enough to replace the roof, it will suffice to make needed repairs, Public Works Director Brad Jones said. With all the proposed cuts, the general fund cushion will run at about $20,000.

I know how we can save over $300,000 a year... elect a mayor who does not need body guards or an international visa! All of the above expenditures will benefit citizens far more than "Hudson's Horsemen".

I hope we get it right in the next election, because Greenville is spiraling down faster every day!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Educational "Reparations"

GREENVILLE — Have you ever wanted to receive credit for a school course that you failed? At a July 28 meeting of the Greenville Public School District Board of Trustees, a new program, known as the credit recovery policy, was discussed.

The policy would allow students to earn credit for courses they previously failed. Each student is given a preliminary assessment of his or her strengths and weaknesses before mastering the weaker course objectives. After mastery, the student receives credit for the course.

According to the School Board, the credit recovery program can be an effective way of helping students get back on track toward graduation and hopefully encourage students to stay in school.

Dr. Leeson Taylor, deputy superintendent, said the program has been in the works for about seven months. He said he hopes the program prevents kids from being discouraged after failing a course.

“We can’t have kids fall through the cracks,” Taylor said. “We want kids to have every opportunity to be successful. ”

The program comes with specific rules and regulations. Admission to the program requires parental consent and a committee review determining a student’s motivation, aptitude, reading level and need. The program cannot be used to improve GPA. Students cannot be in the program for more than one year and cannot have a grade lower than 50.

Students must complete the program with 80 percent mastery. The credit recovery grade is factored with the original failing grade to obtain the new final grade.

The program is computer based, with content help from trained certified teachers and facilitation provided through non-certified staff.

Thus far, the board has only given the policy a first reading. However, board President Henri Tillmon said the program can be approved after the start of the school year.

Great... another "give-away" program for the ignorant. Is this really an effort to "make our kids successful" or is it just another ruse to divert attention from the the deplorable conditions of our public schools?

Today, education has been watered down so much that basic literacy is no longer a criterion for graduation. And it doesn't stop at high schools. We are cranking out college graduates with Bachelor's and Master's degrees who can barely read, let alone speak in coherent sentences.

In our eternal effort to provide "equality for all", certain educational institutions are now giving away degrees to anyone whose check clears the bank. This kind of travesty makes college degrees all but meaningless in our competitive job market... they are just another "entitlement"... signifying nothing!

Instead of holding public school students accountable for their education, we just keep lowering the bar!