on school funding
A May 21 letter to the editor discussing the School District’s request for a budget increase blamed elected officials for not having the courage to “rein in or question” the Sheriff’s Office budget. The state Legislature does not give the County Commission authority to determine how the sheriff spends money; we can only approve or deny the budget submittal. If we deny, the sheriff can go to the Legislature and governor to override it.
The Legislature’s recent actions have exacerbated the public school funding problem. It is shortchanging public schools for privately run charter schools. In this past session, the Legislature appropriated $150 million for charter school maintenance and construction, compared to $50 million for traditional public schools.
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Furthermore, the Legislature sets the “required local effort,” the amount of property taxes that local school districts are required to levy. When the Legislature rolls this amount back each year, it leaves school districts unable to benefit from rising property values, forcing them to serve more students with less money.
Until the Legislature decides to prioritize public schools again and takes the burden off school districts, meeting the needs of our public schools will continue to be a significant challenge.
MELISSA MCKINLAY, WEST PALM BEACH
Editor’s note: Melissa McKinlay is the Palm Beach County mayor and the commissioner from District 6.
against single moms
The economy may be rigged for everyone but it’s especially stacked against single moms.
Most single moms have reached the point where they can no longer afford child care. Their rent keeps going up each year and most have had to file for food stamps. Many get denied because they make just over the limit to qualify but not enough to support themselves and pay their bills or even think about purchasing health insurance.
Now I have read the food stamp program is being threatened. I thought, What will they do then? Get another job? How can they find the time and still devote their effort to be a “good” mom?
There are so many millionaires in Congress who have lost touch with reality. For regular people in today’s economy, one accident, serious illness or layoff can leave a whole family facing hunger, homelessness and sickness, even if they are working hard.
As long as we have an economy that doesn’t provide living wages, income security, free health care, affordable child care or any retirement benefits, we are going to need a safety net.
ROBERT REGA, GREENACRES
seas won’t rise at all
Ben Kirtman’s column, “Leaders need better science to cope with sea-level rise” (May 30), prompted me to do a little science project. I transferred a saucer of water from my refrigerator to my freezer. Sure enough, the water expanded when it froze. When I returned it to the refrigerator, it returned to its original level. Consequently, I fail to see how “global warming” will raise the sea level.
Is there something about the icebergs’ volume contracting with “global warming” that I’m missing?
JIM MARSHALL, DELRAY BEACH
Kirtman, who is director of the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, replies:
“It is true, if you freeze water in a saucer, melt and re-freeze, the volume remains the same. Imagine if some of the water fell off the saucer when melted and ran off into the ocean. When you re-froze the saucer there would be less ice, and the amount of water in the ocean would increase.
“In the real world, there is enough water frozen on Greenland that if it all melted and ran off into the ocean, sea level would increase by 27 feet everywhere around the globe.”