News and Tribune

March 12, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For March 12


School staffer responds to criticism of column

 

This letter is in reply to Mr. Kenneth Miller’s spin on the recent News and Tribune guest column by Mr. Travis Haire, assistant superintendent at Greater Clark County Schools.

Mr. Miller, I would like to know your source of information of the Alternative to Suspension Program for Greater Clark schools. Maybe just by being omnipotent you can criticize something you know nothing about.

Have you taken time to call the Suspension Site to learn what is taking place there? The site is not set up to be a replacement for school. It is set up as an alternative to out-of-school suspension. With this facility, parents know that their suspended student is in a safe place, and that they will be supervised by licensed, experienced teachers. 

Students may work on school assignments, e-school or work provided by the Suspension Site in a safe, controlled environment.

Counseling is provided in cooperation with Childplace Services. Students from University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work provide students with group workshops on a variety of topics. Topics include, but are not limited to, anger management, coping skills, bullying, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and conflict resolution.

These workshops give students an opportunity to work through some difficult teenage scenarios, and this may assist them in making better choices with more positive outcomes.

It is my intent to inform Mr. Miller and the parents of Greater Clark students of the structure and function of the Suspension Alternative Site.

— Jane Kendall, Suspension Alternative Site, Greater Clark County Schools

 

Mourdock urges financial caution

 

Few Hoosiers read the financial pages because the information presented seems complex, pessimistic or occasionally too optimistic. 

The economy has struggled since 2008 and investors have ridden a roller coaster of expectations. We’re accustomed to our retirement accounts being battered by forces as diverse as riots in Greece, tsunamis in Japan, and the action — or inaction — of our own Congress.

Entering our fifth year of this economic cycle, it’s tempting to imagine that it will all soon be behind us, but many signs demonstrate that normalcy is not on the immediate horizon. Consider the following facts from just one day’s — March 1 — collection of news releases. 

The Institute for Supply Management’s February survey shows that manufacturing in the U.S. was up more than expected, but prices manufacturers must pay for raw materials are rising sharply, a sure sign of inflationary pressure.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, after five straight years of American households reducing debt, borrowing is again on the increase. Some would argue that the borrowing reflects a renewed confidence resulting from the stock market’s near record high. The borrowing, however, is likely related to the fact that during January the U.S. household income dropped 4 percent, the greatest one month decline ever recorded. Ever.

A drop in household income when combined with increased borrowing dictates that Americans are saving less. In fact, the individual saving rate fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession began. 

Construction spending was expected to increase but instead has nose-dived. One in every nine student loans outstanding is now in default. These federally guaranteed loans total nearly $1 trillion.

What does all of this mean for Hoosiers? Simply this, be increasingly cautious. At the very least, increase your rate of savings even if it means you must cut back on those items you’d really like to have. Saving is always better than borrowing. Saving for college, retirement and future health care expenses are a must.  

If you haven’t already done so, consider refinancing your home mortgage. If inflation occurs, as most predict it will in the near future, you’ll be able to pay off that debt with more available dollars.

We’re far from being out of the financial woods so remain cautious despite occasional brief stories of good economic news. For generations residents of Indiana have bragged of their “Hoosier common sense.” Hoping for the best but planning for the worst reflects that kind of thinking.

— Richard Mourdock, Indianapolis

 

Former commissioners’ candidate says he was right on auditor

 

I appeared before the Floyd County Commissioners last spring complaining about how our auditor messed up the spring settlement checks using the wrong year. He overpaid the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. by $1.6 million.

He did not pay Georgetown Township one cent, which I am the trustee of, and when I asked him if he had informed the office-holders that he had overpaid NA-FC, he stated yes. 

I then turned to Commissioners Bush, Seabrook and Freiberger and all three said that was the first they had heard about it. You can read and hear the audio on the minutes from that night’s meeting. 

Mr. Seabrook told me the commissioners had nothing to do with the auditor. I would like to ask the News and Tribune since they missed the boat for some reason not backing my accusations at that time, do the right thing and print those minutes now for all to see what fools they were. If they would have listened and done their job, maybe this would have been prevented. By the way. I am passing out bumper stickers that say, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Roudenbush.”

 

— Dennis O. Roudenbush, New Albany