Letters to the Editor — February 10, 2016

Reader backs Trump’s move on travel


Tinkering is the process of adjusting or making improvements. One story tells of plumbers in the mid-1800s using bread to dam a pipe under repair to hold dripping water at bay. Once the repair was complete, the bread dam became worthless and was swept away.

Tinkering with Trump’s Executive Order regarding immigration last Friday, a federal district court judge in Seattle enjoined its operation. Media coverage of the event evidences the raw delight it brings to many people within and without the United States. It should not. At some point in the not too distant future, Judge James L. Robart’s nationwide injunction will be shown to amount to no more than a tinker’s dam.

For this injunction to withstand scrutiny in the appellate courts, it must be demonstrated that the people of the state of Washington will suffer irreparable harm: in education, in employment, in business, in family relations and in freedom to travel. Such irreparable harm has to be directly related to the activity of persons being prevented temporarily from entering the United States.

Judge Robart’s decision says there is harm but cites to no evidence of its specifics. Moreover, I missed news of the governors of Washington or Minnesota attending national security briefings.

Tom Nichols, a vocal opponent of a Trump presidency, writes in the Washington Post that not every action by Trump is outrageous. Many people in the United States are furious, outraged, saddened, etc., over Trump’s legitimate presidential win.

There is room for protest and dissent wherein points of view can be expressed, examined, mulled and considered. The fabric of our flag has elasticity; it can handle the elements. That two of the stars on our flag brought such an action adds a patina of state’s rights nobility to a highly suspect legal attack.

In my childhood, my older sister, Lezlie, was often put in charge of me and Karel while the folks were out. Karel and I were uncontrollable, unreasonable, with no regard whatsoever for any oversight by Lezlie. In a moment of clarity, I listened to Lezlie plead with my parents over her full responsibility for our safety and care while having absolutely no authority to command obedience to ensure such a result. Whatever age I was, I got it.

After our national election, Trump was entrusted with ultimate responsibility for protecting our country. Can it be that such responsibility carries no corresponding authority to place temporary restrictions on entry into the United States?

James Angus


MLK celebration a hit, thanks to many


On behalf of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Organization, Sussex County, we would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to all churches, community organizations, corporations, local businesses and individuals for your support of a very successful 25th Annual Commemorative Weekend Celebration.

Our thanks also to the many organizations that had planned to participate in the parade, which was canceled due to weather predictions. Together, we honored and paid tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a banquet, a souvenir booklet and a worship service.

As we continue our efforts to make the Dream a Reality, we solicit your prayers and support to help us achieve our mission in 2017. “In Times of Challenge and Controversy; Faith Triumphs Over Adversity.”

Thank you and God bless.

Public Relations Committee

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Celebration Organization

Reader pushes for referendum’s passage


On Thursday, March 2, the Indian River School District (IRSD) will hold a referendum that, if passed, will help reduce class sizes, keep our children safe while at school and save 150 district jobs.

IRSD is one of the fastest growing districts in the state, with a growth rate of 3-4 percent annually. We also have the lowest tax rate in Sussex County, and that would still be the case, should the referendum pass. Most homeowners would see a $95 annual increase to their tax bill; this averages to 26 cents per day.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to support this referendum. They are our future — our future teachers, community leaders, doctors, bankers, farmers and small-business owners. They deserve the best education we can offer.

Before you vote on March 2, please ask yourself how you would tell your child or grandchild they are not worth .26 cents a day. Let’s show our children how much we believe in them — vote for the referendum.

Kelley Keeler Short


Steele reaches out to community


Let me begin by thanking our district staff and our community for the support that I have had in the short time I have been the interim superintendent. The Indian River School District has a long-standing reputation throughout the state as being leaders in the field of education. As your superintendent, I will be committed to sustaining, supporting and building upon an already strong reputation.

I have had the opportunity to serve our district for 36 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and now as the interim superintendent. I can honestly say that over the many years that I have served this district, I have witnessed both the good and the bad times.

The past year has been exceptionally challenging for our district. The financial issues that we face are beyond a critical stage, with news that the State will be cutting funding from the state education budget.

Early indications are that the school districts will have state funding cuts anywhere from 2.5 percent to 10 percent. For our district, that amount ranges from approximately $2.4 to $9.5 million. This is in addition to the local funds that we need from the upcoming March 2 current-expense referendum to operate next year.

It is imperative that we pass the upcoming current-expense referendum, and we need the support of our community to accomplish this task. This referendum may be the single most important event in the history of our school district.

I am asking everyone to please support this referendum, because a negative result will be devastating to our schools, community and, most importantly, our students.

We are working diligently to repair the relationship between our district and the community. As long as I am the superintendent of our district, I promise each and every one of you that we will be totally transparent and will strive to develop an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust with all stakeholders. I have outlined five priorities that I feel are necessary in making our community relationship stronger:

(1) Create a Community Budget Oversight Committee to work closely with our Board and administration to provide an extra level of oversight of district spending and budget planning. The Department of Education or another outside entity would provide training to this committee, which would be blended with our current district financial committee.

(2) Conduct internal audits throughout the fiscal year to make sure that all financial transactions are in compliance with district, state and federal regulations. These audits would be in addition to any state or federal audits that are done. All audit results, whether state, federal or internal, will be posted on the district website for all community members to review.

(3) Review and revise all financial policies and regulations to make sure they are in compliance with all state regulations. The administration has already completed this task and is in the process of working with the state auditors to make sure the policies meet or exceeds state regulations. In addition, the financial director will post financial reports on the district website for all community members to review.

(4) Develop a school district comprehensive strategic plan with short- and long-term goals. This type of plan will give the community insight as to the future direction of the school district. This would require the district to work cooperatively with community members on identifying important goals and developing a comprehensive action plan to accomplish these goals.

Some of the important areas that should be addressed are curriculum, communication and finances. The district would need to complete a self-study that would include surveys by students, staff, parents and community members and organizations, as well as a sociological survey of the demographics and needs of our school district’s community. This is an intensive task that requires the district and community to work closely together in forging the future path of our educational system.

(5) Establish a better working relationship with area businesses by involving them in planning and oversight of our college and career programs in order to ensure students [will] be college- and/or career-ready upon graduation.

The Indian River School District has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. The population surge has brought substantial change and growth in the business and community economy. We must meet the needs of our students.

I am asking the community to please be informed of our current financial situation before voting on the March 2 referendum. My team is willing to address any group or organization in order to provide a complete picture of our current financial situation, as well as our plans on moving the district forward in a positive direction.

This referendum solely focuses on the education and safety needs of our students. Emotions are high among those who support and those who oppose the tax increase. I am asking our community to put emotions aside and look at the tremendous impact on our students, district and community.

I have not only served this district for 36 years but I have been a community member my entire life. We have always been able to work through the good and bad times. We have the ability to meet the challenges we face if we work together and stand as one strong community.

I promise you as a lifelong community member and as your superintendent that my focus will be on what is best for our students, district and community. My ultimate goal is to strengthen the school district by infusing the community into the oversight and planning of our future.

Mark Steele, Interim Superintendent

Indian River School District