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Issue Home April 1, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Yes Football, No Co-Sponsorship

For everyone who is concerned, and by right should know why I voted no to the co-sponsorship for football:

First of all, when the administration approached Blue Ridge over the football proposal, this also included a co-sponsorship with the Susquehanna students who are interested in soccer to form a co-sponsorship with the Blue Ridge soccer team (also combining as the football, band and cheerleaders etc.). Unfortunately, Blue Ridge’s practice time starts around 20-30 minutes before our students can get there. This proposal was to benefit all students, in both districts. That should have been part of the deal, to change the practice times for soccer and we would supply their students with a chance to play football. When we voted on (just) talking to Blue Ridge about this, I asked if Blue Ridge would be providing our children with uniforms and I was told that it would be brought up. With that I voted no to even going to approach them with this, knowing that we should have a plan in place of what was expected of them. I thought this was an all or nothing deal. Many of the children and parents I have talked to stated they don’t want to lose our football program; some have even been told if we don’t do this that we will lose our football team. That is totally false. We do have 30 children signed up for football this year.

Also, we would be paying for all expenses for other children to come here to play football. Granted we do have the uniforms already purchased. Future expenses would be replacing the uniforms, practice uniforms, supplies and reconditioning of helmets, and other football gear, at Susquehanna Community School taxpayers’ expense. Also in the application filed with the PIAA, Blue Ridge students would have to provide their own transportation, to and from practices. This concept of individual transportation may be altered as the program matures. Who do you think will be paying that cost, since a bus contractor gets paid $136 a day for an activity bus run? Since there is practice five days a week for three months, you are talking around $8,000 cost to transport Blue Ridge players back and forth from practice for the season. We have six coaches. Do we need more, and if we don’t why have we had this many in the first place?

As a parent who has a child on the team, are you still going to support this while your child is sitting the bench, and you are paying for a Blue Ridge student to play in his place?

This program would stay in place for three years unless both school districts vote to dissolve this.

We don’t have lights on our field to hold night games, or even for use to hold practices on hot days where playing at night would also open the field up for other activities. We have an outdated (and only) four-lane track, that is in need of repair. We have a Cross Country trail that isn’t wide enough to accommodate the cluster of schools that compete, therefore we host no home Cross Country meets. We have tennis courts, with no tennis coach. We have a local bowling alley, and no bowling team. I could go on, but I’m just making a point that we have money to spend on other children coming here to play football, but nothing extra has been put into these other activities "for our own students." I even asked if we could start our own pee-wee soccer team and was told we couldn’t because we have the pee-wee football using the school grounds for practices, even though it isn’t a school sanctioned activity (we also have two local parks, to hold these practices). I do not want to lose any sport that we have at our school and I’m not opposed to football. But I am opposed to this co-sponsorship.

I was also told I should resign because I’m going against this merger and that I don’t go along with what the administration wants. I have been called another one of the school board members’ "puppets," because I vote no to some of the proposals on the agenda. This is a person who reports on the school board meetings and it amazes me when I read the article; were we even at the same meeting? I don’t understand how nine people could agree on something, all the time, without having all the facts.

So please, if you think I am so wrong for voting like this, or am content on this vote please call me, at home, at 853-2051. I am ready to listen to the voters, taxpayers, and parents in this community.

I have heard that there is a petition going around the school for the co-sponsorship. Just remember that some of these kids don’t know all the facts and, in fact are signing this not knowing what they are signing. They are just being told that some of the board members don’t want football here, which is untrue.

As for the Blue Ridge School District, they have nothing to lose in this deal. Actually, the (Blue Ridge) Board has done its job in studying, surveying the children and parents to see what they want. Have we? No, because we don’t have a committee to do so.

In closing, I would like to respond to last week’s letter to the editor, "Apology to Blue Ridge."

First of all, my vote is based on what should be best for all of our children in our school district, not Blue Ridge’s school district. Second of all, money raised from football does not fund any other sport in our school. And last, our football program has gotten off the ground in the past. It just seems that the lack of interest in playing is down, and our enrollment is declining, just like all of our other sports are suffering. Again, maybe we should survey our children and parents to see what they want. Like I stated, we do have 30 children signed up for football. No other program or activity in our school has that many children signed up to participate.

Sincerely,

Mary Wescott

Oakland Township

They Need Our Help

Thank you for helping us with this fund-raiser. Again, my name is Lisa Capriotti. I’m trying to help raise funds for a family of five who will lose their home (in August) due to a balloon payment that is due August 25, 2003.

The father of the family had a heart attack last year and two laser eye surgeries. He has not been able to find work due to his age, 51, health problems and the economy. The mother of the family had neck surgery and is in the process of having more surgery. They have three children still at home. The oldest is 18 and is working part-time. She has put off college to try to help her family, but that itself barely touches the bills.

Help! Save a family of five from foreclosure. Your much needed donations would be greatly appreciated. Send to: Pennstar Bank Foreclosure Fund, RR 1 Box 1895, Hallstead, PA 18822.

Sincerely,

Lisa Capriotti

Hallstead, PA

Go Girl, Go

We want to congratulate Chris Davis on all her projects benefiting people in Susquehanna. We need more people like her. Go girl, go.

Sincerely,

Lorraine and Larry Jackson

Lakeland, FL

We Would Welcome Them

We, the student body of Susquehanna Community High School feel that the merger between Blue Ridge and Susquehanna Community would be a great way to help the football team, and other sport affiliated events that would enhance our two school districts to be as one.

We, the student body of Susquehanna would welcome the Blue Ridge students as if they were a part of our team and school spirit, was well as supporting Blue Ridge and their school spirit.

We also feel, as the student body of Susquehanna Community High School, we would like nothing more than to make friends with other fellow students.

We, as the student body do not understand why certain school board members would vote against such a great opportunity to unite two school districts as we could be united for all time.

Sincerely,

Lauren Valentine

(Representing 200 plus signatures)

Susquehanna, PA

You Have The Right To Know

Wow! I am constantly amazed at the things I learn on a daily basis. For me the concepts of "understanding" and "misunderstanding" have been particularly relevant recently. I am reminded of an anonymous quote: "I know that you believe that you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

I have not been on our local school board very long, but I do spend quite a bit of time reading, listening, and observing. I make every effort to conduct myself in a professional manner. To some, I suppose, it appears that, just because I don’t run my mouth constantly, I don’t have an opinion; to others, I suppose, it appears that, just because I treat all people with dignity and respect, I am on "that" side or "their side" (when it comes to the education of our children, why are there "sides" anyway?). I make an honest effort to consider each issue as it is presented before me - not what someone heard, not what someone said that another said, and not what could be or might happen. That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to address one issue in particular. I believe that you, my fellow citizens, have the right to know (from me - not what you may have heard) why I voted "No" to the proposed football co-sponsorship.

May I give you a timeline?

Early November: in a mid-meeting report, we, the board, were presented with the fact that discussions had begun, within our own school district, about the "possible co-sponsorship of girls’ and boys’ soccer, varsity football, football marching band and football cheerleading with Blue Ridge School District."

Late November: we, the board, received more specific information, along with thoughts and research done concerning the (and I quote) "co-sponsorship of boys and girls soccer, football, football band and football cheerleaders." To me, overall, this looked and sounded very positive - my feeling was that it would be a great opportunity for a wide range of students to participate in a wider range of activities.

Early December: at the regular board meeting, I voted "Yes" to "consider authorizing Mr. Stracka and Mr. Lisowski to pursue a co-sponsorship agreement with Blue Ridge School District covering boys’ and girls’ soccer, football, football marching band and football cheerleading."

Please note, during this time frame, I heard many rumors, both for and against the "football co-sponsorship," but I shrugged it off because, after all, I like football - my two sons played football - and besides, this was a co-sponsorship of not just football, but boys’ and girls’ soccer, football marching band and football cheerleading, right?

Early January: we, the board, were informed that informal meetings took place with both Blue Ridge’s and Susquehanna’s superintendents and high school principals; any concerns that they had, and a timeline for a decision were discussed. Also, the "sports co-sponsorship program between SCSD and BRSD is moving along."

On February 10, I attended a Blue Ridge School Board meeting, my intent being to observe the manner in which other school board meetings are conducted. I just like to learn! I did notice, though, that on their agenda, what I thought would have been a "sports co-sponsorship" was referred to as a "football co-sponsorship." Shortly thereafter, my daughter had gotten her orders to deploy; I went to MO for her departure ceremony and was not able to attend February’s regular board meeting. Via e-mail, in letting Mr. Stracka know this, I mentioned to him what I noticed on Blue Ridge’s agenda and he explained to me what had evolved concerning the other sports. And, at that time, I remember thinking, "Gee, that’s too bad." I never thought about it again, or even discussed it with anyone. I didn’t change my mind about anything, but voted on the information I had before me.

Some thoughts on closing: our students have many talents and gifts worth sharing within our community and within the communities they will make for themselves in the future. As adults who care about our young people, let’s look at the strengths we already have, and be thankful, not find fault and complain about what we don’t have.

I, personally, would have liked to see our students have the opportunity to be involved in a full, fall sports program; I would like to see our cross country runners be able to compete at home. But I cannot vote "yes" to something that "could," "might," or "maybe" be the beginning of speculative ideas, even though they are well-intended.

Sincerely,

Johnine Ann Barnes

Susquehanna School Board Director

Restricted, Private Sale Process

In the public notice section of The County Transcript you will see a restricted private sale on a delinquent tax property being purchased by the Susquehanna County Housing & Redevelopment Authority for $1.00. The normal costs of the sale will be paid by the Authority.

In the interest of community redevelopment these sales will be done on an as needed basis in order to assist the Authority in demolition of condemned buildings, buildings beyond repair or buildings that, in some manner, constitute a hazard. The sale is restricted to guarantee that the Authority may proceed with demolition.

Restricted private sales will be held for the purpose of benefiting the public. These sales are contingent on the approval of each taxing district.

As Tax Claim Director, I am pleased to be able to institute this service in our county for the public good.

Sincerely,

Cathy Benedict,

Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau Director

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both ReaderÔs and Editor's interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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