Special to The Star
In response to "School spending needs prioritization"
I first want to thank you for your concerns regarding the Meridian Public School District. Concerned citizens such as yourself are always the catalyst for school improvement.
At the closing of your article titled, "School spending needs prioritizing," you mentioned that you welcomed any corrections to your facts. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some misinformation that you have posted in the local newspaper.
It is true that our 2009/10 Children First annual report shows that MPSD had a $10,360 per student budget. What it doesn't tell you is that, due to decreased property values in the city and a 15 percent cut in federal funds, MPSD lost nearly $2 million in revenue last year.
With that said, teachers still receive supply money from the district to purchase supplies. There was a shortage of textbook material when I first arrived here in 2011, but over the last two years we have spent significant amounts of funds to purchase textbooks and other instructional material. In fact, we have budgeted over $500,000 for textbooks for the 2-13-14 school year.
The school board is comprised of five members, all appointed by the elected mayo. The school board members are held accountable by the mayor's position (who appoints the school board members) and the community in which they serve.
I will now address the spending "facts" that you stated were conducted over the last five years:
• The $3 million multi-purpose building was funded by a bond issue that was approved by the community. It is called a multi-purpose building because it serves numerous roles to include: a) It houses instructional classrooms; b) It serves as the site where ---fans can purchase tickets to athletic events; c) It serves as a training and event site for MPSD educators and school-related events; d) It serves as the site where fans can purchase tickets to athletic events; e) and finally, it serves as a football locker room for our amazing Wildcat Football Team. Hence the term, multi-purpose building.
• You are correct in the fact that the new artificial football field was donated by many outstanding, and committed community supporters, but are incorrect in stating that the school district or taxpayers will be responsible for making payments on the field. The concerned citizens financed this project exclusive of MPSD.
• The football lights that were purchased several years ago were a part of the bond issue that was voted on, and approved, by the community.
• I have no knowledge of MPSD using any district funds to repair the track or tennis field.
• There are no plans for MPSD to purchase the land to build two ball fields south of the school.
* In addition to being able to view teacher salaries, the district website lists the administrator salary schedule for education administrators. Please look more carefully on the web page under "employment opportunities."
• Our district prides ourselves on our athletic department, but I have been very clear that our number one and number 2 priorities are: 1) Maintain safe and orderly schools; and 2) Improve student academic achievement. Nothing takes precedence over these two goals.
Again Mr. Martin, I thank you for stating that you welcomed the opportunity for your facts to be corrected. In the future, please just give me a call before-hand. Because I could have helped clear up a lot of your confusion before you mailed off your erroneous editorial.
Dr. Alvin Taylor, Superintendent
Meridian Public School District
Has Obama's religious views changed?
I checked our president's biography on Google and it stated that President Barack Hussain Obama was a Christian; however, in an interview with Nicholas Kristof, published in the New York Times on Feb. 27, 2007, Obama recited the Muslim call to prayer, the Adhan", with a first class Arabic accent"
The opening lines of the Adhan are:
"Allah is supreme! Allah is supreme!
Allah is supreme! Allah is supreme!!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Mohammed is his prophet ..."
According to Islamic scholars, reciting the Shada, the Muslim declaration of faith, makes one a Muslim. This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim's complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam.
This in essence, could explain why our Christian God, Jehovah, and Jesus Christ were left out of the Democratic conference in Charlotte, N.C., as well as his reluctance to refer to what happened in Boston as an "Islamic terrorist act."
This could also explain why President Barack Hussain Obama as Commander in Chief of our Military has not declared the atrocity which happened at Fort Hood, Texas a "terrorist action" nor has he done anything to see that the filthy, murdering, Muslim Major Nidal Hasan be convicted of murdering 13 American soldiers and wounding 32 others.
I understand this major has not been paid over $300,000 of our taxpayers money and still has not been tried or convicted of this dastardly act of mass murder.
Jim Knowles, Meridian
Let's pull together on parks
Congratulations to the kids of West Lauderdale, Clarkdale and Highland Park. Thanks to the passage of a $14 million bond by the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, you will now be able to enjoy one of the best things about living in this great country – the neighborhood sports facility.
In North Meridian, we have enjoyed having a neighborhood ball field for decades. Twenty years ago, my parents would make the quick, five-minute drive up North Hills Street to watch me play baseball at Phil Harden Park. Today, I get to enjoy that same convenience as I watch my own son play there.
Now, with the construction of these new facilities, you and your parents will also get to take advantage of the neighborhood ball park. By having easy access to sports, your chances of becoming well-rounded adults will increase. Therefore, no matter what part of the city or county we live in, we will all benefit. Again, congratulations.
As for the adults of Meridian and Lauderdale County, we must come together. If we want less crime, we must make youth sports facilities accessible to every child in this entire county; from Lost Gap to Toomsuba, Martin to Alamucha, Southside to North Hills Street and everywhere in between.
We all live and work here together, folks. What’s good for Highland Park is good for Collinsville. What’s good for Whynot is good for North Meridian. Great things are in store for our community as long as we support one another — regardless of zip code.
Michael Van Veckhoven, North Meridian
Animal Control has tough job
Kudos to Ryan Couch, director of Lauderdale Animal Control, and his staff. My husband and I have been addressing the all too common and always sad feral cat situation in our subdivision. I have always maintained that Animal Control has the hardest and least appreciated job in the city dealing with a steady diet of unwanted and sometimes abused animals.
They have been most helpful in loaning out traps and helping us in our quest to corral, spay or neuter these wild cats that roam our neighborhood trying to survive.
Please please do the right thing and fix your pets and of course consider Animal Control when looking for a dog or cat to add to your family.