YOUR OPINION: Letters to the Daily Journal

By NEMS Daily Journal

Who benefits in state from auto inspection?
To whose benefit are car inspections here? A third of drivers here do not have car insurance. There are dangerous highly-polluting vehicles on the road.
I buy a new car and keep it until it dies. My car has over 120,000 miles on it, but it is in good shape as far as I know. I was accustomed to being reassured every six months that I was good to go.
In Vermont, they put your car up on the lift and thoroughly inspect it every six months. I had to show my current registration and proof of insurance. Even when I was living paycheck-to-paycheck it was well worth the fee to have my tires and brakes and everything checked. I was less likely to have a blowout or break a tie rod and have my car go flying off the road. Not only would I be a danger to myself, but to others on or off the road.
Here the mechanic gets $3 and the state $2. The mechanic doesn’t get the business of repairing what is wrong. Are the time interruptions and paperwork worthwhile for anyone involved? I don’t learn if there is anything wrong with my car.
The Tupelo area, including Verona, is a great place to live. The people, the place and the climate are wonderful, and I am so glad to be here.
Susan Church
Tupelo


State’s students deserve better education funding
The largest state budget item is spending for K-12 public education. This budget, which was more than $2 billion last year, is funded through the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) formula. As a result of the declining revenues, for the last several years this budget has been funded between $230 million and $250 million per year below what MAEP requires.
To make up for the cuts in state funding, in some districts local ad valorem taxes were increased. However, in districts with low property tax valuations, local tax increases could not make up for the cuts from the state. As a result, last year alone more than 2,000 school employees lost their jobs.
After initially talking about additional cuts to the education budget, Senate and House Republicans and the governor are currently proposing to “level fund” next year’s MAEP budget. What they do not say is that this “level funding” is at a level that is still $250 million short of full funding. House and Senate Democrats have proposed a different plan, a gradual increase for MAEP with a goal of returning to full funding when revenues allow it.
Just two weeks ago, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee voted to increase the estimate of available tax revenues by $100 million this year and an additional $125 million next year. Allocating $25-$50 million of these funds to the MAEP budget this year is a logical step in moving back toward full funding.
Rep. Cecil Brown
House District 66
Jackson


Alabama vs. Mississippi, magnets vs. charters
Alabama has appropriated $46 million a year for the last decade to develop high quality high school graduates that high-tech businesses are looking to hire (HHMI Bulletin, Feb 12). They have Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Magnet Schools setting the bar in education for the entire United States.
Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery ranks No. 20 in high schools with a population of 31.5 percent minority students. Their student populations are most similar to ours and Alabama is the only state contingent with Mississippi to make any top 20 high school list. They must be doing something right.
U.S. News and World Report also ranked Loveless at No. 21 among top Math and Science Schools. Jefferson County IBS in Birmingham, Alabama ranks No. 2 in the country (Newsweek’s list) using the highly successful International Baccalaureate Honors program curriculum.
Alabama employs 850 teacher trainers in its AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative) to train 8,500 K-12 science and math teachers each year. They have trained half the math and science teachers in the state since 1999 and AMSTI provides teachers with lab materials and equipment which can be shipped to schools from one of 11 regional warehouses.
So how is Mississippi faring? We have instituted science tests for K-8, but the test scores don’t affect a school’s rating yet. We don’t support our science and math teachers with warehouses of equipment. We no longer even have a science specialist at the Mississippi Department of Education (reportedly because no one with expertise will do the job for $40,000 a year) and according to the 2011 ACT report – only 13 percent of Mississippi high school graduates are ready for college science classes; the lowest rating in the U. S.
Magnet schools are a viable, less expensive option to charter schools. More research should be done on other alternatives before throwing our tax money away on a duplication of services with charter schools.
Sherry Davis
Tupelo


Tishomingo countians need financial facts
Is Tishomingo County as broke as I heard it is? I went to the Justice Court judge’s office three times to pay a speeding ticket and a no seatbelt law ticket I got four weeks ago. I got to pay it on March 26. I asked them why did it take them so long to get it into the computer. The two ladies working there told me that the lady who takes care of the tickets was laid off. They said that Tishomingo County is broke.
Does the Board of Supervisors believe that tax dollars off alcohol sales will help Tishomingo County’s financial problems? If the board makes a public statement on this to the press and let the people of the county see this, then maybe some will step up and try to help.
Tubby Aldridge
Tishomingo County