Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 16, 2014

LETTERS FOR JAN. 16, 2014: Adequate funds needed for schools

Goshen News

---- — We are responding to the public dialogue that has transpired between state Rep. Wes Culver and Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder. As board trustees for the Goshen Community Schools, we take our responsibilities very seriously. This includes being financially prudent, which we always strive to accomplish. As the property tax caps have hit our transportation, capital projects, bus replacement and debt service funds, we have made the necessary adjustments to “live within our means” as Rep. Culver suggests in his reader point of view (Dec. 21, 2013).

In our case this means asking more children to walk farther to school or to a bus stop, so that we could eliminate enough bus routes to meet our decreased transportation budget. We have also delayed upgrading technology and other expenditures that would normally have occurred in the past from the CPF budget, delayed the purchase of buses, thereby having older vehicles on the road, etc.

We therefore support the concept that Commissioner Yoder is promoting, that of a circuit breaker relief local option income tax (LOIT), which was conceived by the Indiana Intergovernmental Forum. This LOIT would decrease as the need for replacement revenue decreases. The concept is that as assessed valuation rises because the Elkhart County economy continues to grow, the need for this LOIT will decrease. This calculation would be an integral part of this LOIT and over time, the need for this LOIT could disappear.

On behalf of the 6,500 children of Goshen that we serve, we believe this represents a fiscally responsible option to continue to provide the best possible education services. Our children are our future, so their safety and providing an excellent education for them are our top priorities. Adequate funds are needed to accomplish this mission.

— Goshen Community School Board: Jane Troup, Dan West, Cathie Cripe, Perry Haimes, Jim Ramer, Bob Duell and Roger Nafziger

Rationality should trump ideology in local government

I am fairly certain that limited government would have prevented and will alleviate many of the societal problems that we face. Because of my interest in the topic I will occasionally engage in ideological political debates on Facebook. However, when it comes time to discuss real policy proposals, ideology must merely be the beginning of the debate, not the end. Rational and rigorous argumentation must then be developed based on credible research, where available, and logical constructs.

Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman and I have different political views. However, as I have become more interested in local government, including attending City Council meetings on occasion, I have gained a respect for his analytical approach. For instance, his letter to the editor (The Goshen News, Jan. 2) drew the conclusion that a snow removal ordinance was not advisable (based on the research he conducted), a position that I hold. I am fairly certain that folks of differing political views can efficiently and peacefully come to similar policy conclusions if we are disciplined enough to let our ideologies start — and thorough research finish — the decision making process.

— Michael Orgill