Letters to the Editor, week of March 7, 2013

There is a cost to losing teachers

I am a teacher at Hanover High School and a resident of Hanover County. I have been working here for seven years. I am grateful for my job and have always been proud to work in a place where I see so many fellow teachers give so much for their students.
This letter is in response to the recent letters from Mr. Shinholser, Mr. Chorinos and Mr. Walker. Mr. Shinholser suggested that Hanover can find plenty of young teachers eager to come and work for Hanover. Mr. Chorinos said the people who have spoken out for tax increases were self-serving and Mr. Walker gave an accounting of all the eligible applicants that HCPS Human Resources had waiting to be hired.
Statements like these are disheartening to hear. In 2006, I moved into Hanover as one of those eager young teachers who was impressed with the county’s opportunities. The next year, my wife moved into the county and became a teacher as well. In the past seven years we have bought a home in the county and started a family.
We are dedicated to remaining teachers. To hear Mr. Shinholser speak about us as nothing more than a disposable product, or to hear Mr. Walker quote the administration in attempt to devalue current employees only disrespects the teachers of this county who invest their hard work, time and own money back into the classroom. If someone had told me seven years ago that this was the way teachers here were viewed, simply for expressing a viewpoint about the direction of the county that does not agree with everyone else’s, I would not have believed them.
I do not feel that it is self-serving to call for better funding, not only for our schools but for other public services such as our police force and EMS. As a teacher right now I care less about seeing a pay increase than I do about seeing more teachers back in the classroom, so that we can give students the time and attention they deserve. I care less about a pay raise than I do about letting teachers and students have access to new forms of technology that are quickly becoming imperative for our young people to use.
Descriptions like “self-serving” and replaceable forget the value that an experienced teacher brings. Losing that experience would not be a positive thing for the county. Is a business with a high turnover rate and few experienced employees viewed positively? Are the teachers that come here and want to make a change just meant to be dismissed and recycled? There is a cost associated with any potential loss of a veteran teacher that is hard to quantify, but it definitely isn’t meaningless.
Perhaps, as Mr. Shinholser says, this is all just “hysteria and a warped sense of purpose.” I believe in “cooperation and unity of purpose,” but I also believe that sometimes the future of our children becomes more important than the current economic or political battles we see ourselves facing.

Lawrence Fitzgerald
Mechanicsville

 

We can’t afford this road plan

The so-called “Transportation Bill” is an absolute taking of the wealth from Virginia citizens.  More taxation will have a negative effect on our economy and jobs. Where does this fit in Governor McDonnell’s stated goals of limited government, free enterprise, and individual freedom?
Having read the bill, I can attest that it is a Christmas tree for various and sundry regions around the state; including funding for the Dulles Rail Project, which I vehemently oppose (If there is a need for the rail project, it should be privately funded).
Transportation funding problems did not arise as a result of insufficient revenue, it is a result of the General Assembly’s inability to budget and to eliminate unnecessary programs. As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal Op/Ed, only two years ago, in 2011, the General Assembly passed a 66 percent tax “increase that was supposed to ease gridlock but instead financed a new, higher general spending plateau.”
Use the funds only for new road construction and maintenance.  Eliminate all funding for mass transportation.  If the private sector wants to have a rapid rail from Washington to Dulles, and thinks that they can do so profitably, let them.  It’s just not the job of the state to cater to every special interest group. The state should not be picking winners and losers nor encouraging technologies that will benefit only the few. The problem is lack of funds for roads, not rail.
This massive tax increase will only lead to a request for even more a year or two later. Hopefully, Governor McDonnell will be a spokesman for reason and veto this massive tax bill.

Hannah Kaminsky
Mechanicsville

John Cox will be missed

As Bob McDonnell and the GOP leadership busy themselves with breaking every promise they ever made about smaller government, lower taxes, and reduced spending, departing delegate John Cox reminds us that there is indeed another sort of Republican.
He entered public life to make a contribution, not a living.
He understood that elective office is a public trust, not a private asset.
He concerned himself with keeping his word, not his seat.
He received power, used it, and now hands it back willingly.
I do not agree with every vote he ever cast, but I know he has no need to apologize for any.
John Cox is the sort of man we say we want to see in politics, but too seldom do.
His services will be missed.

Joseph Pierro
Mechanicsville

Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:03 am