Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Parents need to get involved; times are changing within school district

I attended the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District budget hearing at Soldotna High School last Wednesday and found it to be very informational. I believe that we owe it to our kids to educate ourselves on this process and try to look into the future of our kids' education.

Do you feel that the teachers within the KPBSD deserve pay raises? Are you willing to accept even larger class sizes? Do you enjoy school sports activities? Do you feel that education is being adequately funded? Do you want schools consolidated?

Or ...

Are you perfectly happy with the way things are currently going in your child's school? If you are, then you need to get informed and write letters to your legislators, because it's not going to remain the same.

Whatever your opinions, thoughts or concerns, your legislators in Juneau need to hear from you. Please don't wait until it's too late. Decisions are being made in Juneau right now and parents and community members need to be heard. Write those letters, share your stories. Tell them your children's experiences in school, what they are learning, how the learning environment could be improved. Tell them what your ideas are.

My daughter was in a sixth-grade class of 34 students last year, and I can tell you that this is unacceptable, not to mention it is not fair for anyone, the teachers, the students or the families. Parents, we must get together and do something about this now.

It is my opinion that adequate funding for education is not a priority to many of the decision-makers in Juneau; we need to make sure it IS their priority. Our local delegates are working hard for education; they need our help to be heard as well. If you are not sure what to do, I would encourage you to access the World Wide Web and print out the following information and read it; it will help get you started. Then start writing letters.

Information on the A+ report and from the Education Advocates can be downloaded from:

http://www.aasb.org/PDFs/YR2_ADVOCATES.pdf

http://www.aasb.org/PDFs/AplusReport_GG.pdf

I would also like to take this moment to thank our borough for supporting our schools to level in which it does. Your priorities are in the right place. Thank you.

A very concerned parent,

Jackie Ansotegui

Kenai

Laws should be common sense; saving kids should be priority

What have we as a society come to when the most precious thing (human life) is protected by low priority and secondary laws. Now, there are two laws that come to mind: operation of an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) on public lands without a license and our (state of Alaska) seat belt law.

When strict "common law" was abandoned in favor of a more flexible law it seems as though we abandoned common sense, too. We (citizens of the state) worry about kids buying a pack of cigarettes or an alcoholic beverage; we worry about them being in school every day. Mainly, we do our best to get our children to be productive members of society. We have prevention programs, we have intervention programs, we have a system in place to give every minor in this state a fair chance at the American dream, and we put this as a high priority.

Now, when we consider their very lives, where do we put that priority? We put that into secondary and low priority laws. Why? Money, manpower and lack of public support.

Whatever the reason, there are a few unavoidable facts. ATVS, including snowmachines, have no built-in safety features. Helmets are optional. Every year ATV manufacturers are making their products bigger, faster and more appealing to a "younger crowd." Today, there are ATVs on the market with enough horsepower to match some vehicles on the street.

The last unavoidable truth is that the laws of nature are rigid and firm. Hitting a tree or a rock, or rolling down a hill or a cliff will result in serious injury or death. Seat belts not only save lives they save people from a lot of injury, and we choose not to be the advocates that we should be for our children.

To operate a vehicle on the public highways, a minor at 14 years of age may, upon completion of a basic test of knowledge of driving, obtain a learner's permit and be allowed to operate a vehicle on the public highways, as long as he or she is accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or over. At 16, a minor may obtain a driver's license by completing a knowledge test and showing he or she can operate a vehicle in a proper and safe manner.

Why not set the same laws for the operation of all ATVs and snowmachines? Take action to help keep our children safe. Triple the $15 seat belt fine. Make the law a primary law. It is time to restore some common sense to our laws.

James Brooks

Kenai



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