Attention to Sen. Ron Raikes, chairman of the Education Committee:
Although I do not have any family members attending a Class I or a rural school, I'm still very interested in their welfare. I attended a country school and also taught in a Class I district. Years have passed since those days, but the quality and high standards of a rural school have continued to grow academically and help to keep neighborhoods together. That gives us a way of life that must not be taken away by a whim of the Senator.
My opinion of LB126, which would force the closure of our Class I schools, is (that it is) very biased, unconstitutional and discriminatory against the rural population of our state.
Sen. Raikes held meetings across the state last fall to listen to the people's thoughts on his bill, LB126. At Mullen, Broken Bow and Wahoo, the meetings were attended by more than a thousand farmers and ranchers, objecting to his bill. But, he and his followers will not listen. At the first reading of his bill this year, more than a hundred attended to voice their objections. Last year, when just a few voices could not be heard, they came by the busloads with their objections. But, here he is again with the same bill! You can bet our neighbors in the Sandhills will be there by the bus loads again this year.
This bill is a slap in the face of farmers and ranchers and a disruption of our rural family values. The senator's idea is that this bill will save money and the money saved can be used for better teachers' salaries for those teaching in the town school systems. I don't have any idea who does his math, but to keep buses running with high fuel costs, mechanical maintenance, drivers' wages, insurance, etc., the money spent will be stronomical. Savings? I doubt it!
The most important thing is the students, their schooling, health and welfare. Riding buses for almost an hour and longer one-way in the Sandhills districts is ludicrous and unsafe. Some places, it is so far, the mother or someone will have to move to town with the children during the week, disrupting family life for the rural population of Nebraska.
Write, e-mail or call the senators in Lincoln and object to this bill. Call me for addresses if you want to help our rural neighbors to keep their schools. We do not want to lose our local control!
A quote from Nydra Karlen, World-Herald Saturday, Jan. 29 -- "Today, too many of our educational decisions are made by government, not by customers of education, the parents."
Patsy Lee Redfern,