Letters to the Editor: Oct. 10, 2012

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School board needs efficiency

At the end of an article in The Sentinel-News (“Shelby County School Board 2012-13 budget to be reviewed,” Sept. 26) was a section titled “Finance committee.” In case you didn’t get the chance to read the article, the finance committee was created in 2006, and, according to Superintendent [James] Neihof, disbanding it did not have to be on the agenda because the committee “was created out of a board discussion, not a board action item.”

While the public has been assured year after year that every penny taken from our household budgets by the school board has been essential to ensuring student achievement, it was not until this article that most citizens learned the school board has cavalierly outsourced the hashing out of school finances to a committee since 2006. 

According to The Sentinel-News, current board member Sam Hinkle expressed concerns that “the committee…might be part of the problem with the public’s lack of confidence in the board’s financial management.”

Because I doubt most members of the public knew before this report that the board’s initial financial work had been relegated to closed-door committee meetings, I do not believe Mr. Hinkle’s diagnosis of the board’s problem is correct. The people of Shelby County recognize sound financial management when we see it; we just do not see it with our current school board.

Taxes have been raised consistently since 1999, and initiatives requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars have been implemented, with little to no significant scholastic improvement to show for them.

Members of the school board, it is time to stop spending as the primary means of improving schools. You must start evaluating everything you are doing holistically instead of from meeting to meeting. Raising our taxes to cover your inefficient, ineffective decisions is the easy way out. 
More money is not the answer. I support more efficient, effective solutions to budgetary problems, instead of simply going back to property owners each year asking for more money.

Current board members, you are voted into your positions by the people in your districts based on trust. Confidence is waning because we are not seeing representation of the community but simply support for whatever the superintendent recommends.

It is time to think quality not BIG [goals].

Karen Sams



Theater is ‘hopping’


During the past 20 years, I have attended most of the productions of the Shelby County Community Theatre and have come to believe that it is one of the principal focal points of our social activity. Years ago many of our friends in Louisville remembered and spoke in glowing terms of the traditional Shelbyville “Hops.” 

As described by Bobby Webb on page 405 of The New History of Shelby County, these were dances held three times a year at Layson Hall (on the corner of 7th and Main Streets) by the Shelbyville Hop Club. Initiated over a century ago, they were very popular, attracting not only local residents, but also young people from surrounding communities.

I have often thought of our own community theater as filling a comparable role today, attracting not only local residents, but those living nearby, as well.

I recently attended a performance by SCCT of Honk Jr., a youth production, with all the roles played by boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 years. It was a sellout. The young actors displayed a maturity and talent that was truly amazing. James Ray Morgan, the director, did a remarkable job of encouraging, motivating and training the cast of 42.

We all have reason to be proud of our dedicated volunteers who are responsible for the success of our theater in bringing the community together and, in particular, for encouraging the participation of our young residents.

Ron Van Stockum Sr.


A unique place


Although Shelbyville is a small country town, we have recently realized that the important things can be found right here. Recently our mother died at 103 years of age, and we marvel at the excellent care given here at the Masonic Home. All the staff was helpful and generous to us in her last hours. Shannon’s Funeral Home eased our grieving hearts with the care and concern they have always exhibited. First Baptist Church, as usual, ministered to our hearts and bodies with the Benevolence Committee, providing a wonderful meal that was much appreciated because many families traveled far. A special thanks to those in this small country town who made our lives easier in this past bereavement. As all our large family traveled homeward, they were left with the marvel of our living in such a wonderful place.

The Kizzie Burke family