The Muscogee County school board will soon vote on a a major shake-up of its custodial staff. Custodial work is now being performed by a combination of MCSD employees and four teams of contractors. The proposal would allow for consolidation to one contracted group (the good part of the idea) and transferring elementary school custodians to the middle and high schools (the terrible part of the idea).
I can only speak for Mathews Elementary, because that's where I spent my entire teaching career. I'll always consider myself a member of the Mathews family. Two of our beloved family members are head custodian Rev. Cleo Smith and custodian Joe Brown. Cleo attended Mathews as a child and has been employed at the school for 28 years and Joe has been at Mathews for 30!
Both of these men are not only good at what they do. They are friendly, kind and completely devoted to the faculty, staff, children and parents of Mathews. Now the school district wants to send Cleo, Joe and undoubtedly countless other elementary school custodians to middle or high schools. Why?
Short answer: money and management. No doubt it'll be easier to supervise only one group of contractors, but they should be left in the middle and high schools. Leave the elementary school custodians alone! The current situation is working. Why should these school communities be caught up in these drastic, sweeping changes?
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It's a sad world we live in that every single thing is about money. At Mathews, we followed our longtime principal Joe Ryan's mantra: Do the right thing simply because it is the right thing.
I implore the board to do the right thing for Cleo, Joe and all the elementary school custodians and leave them alone!
Kathy Gierer, Columbus
I read in the Ledger-Enquirer of many projects and new businesses in the downtown area, and I hope that all goes well for them. However, I cannot be an enthusiastic advocate simply because I do not feel safe in downtown Columbus. I am a bit unsteady with a wobbly knee, and I do not wish to be knocked over by one of the too-many bicyclists who regularly ride on the sidewalks and in a dashing, reckless way.
The adumbral evenings bring poor lighting and a feeling of insecurity as well as an unwholesome and menacing atmosphere. My thoughts may sound much like those of an "old fogey," but they are quite real for me.
There are a few eateries in downtown Columbus that I enjoy, but happily they are breakfast/lunch establishments and that suits me perfectly. I used to attend a number of evening concerts, although I deplore the lack of Baroque music programs, but I am perfectly happy to stay home wearing my oldest and softest khakis and playing my harpsichord or perhaps enjoying a glass of sherry, a plateful of cheese straws, and wonderful CDs. I feel safe and happy.
Thomas D. Orr, Columbus
Someone duct-taped a live chicken to a dog’s neck. This was supposed to train the dog not to attack. The chicken died.
Animals are at the mercy of these dumb humans. Animals’ lives matter. That chicken’s life was just as important as that dog’s life, but more important is how much the chicken suffered before it died.
Yes, chickens are killed so we can eat them, but there is a more humane way than duct-taping a live chicken to a dog’s neck.
Sandra Waugh, Columbus
Town hall call
Senator Isakson is ill. As opposed to other GOP officials, he at least has an excuse as to why he did not hold live town hall meetings.
On Thursday 3-1, he held a conference call with constituents instead. I was on the call and was the first one scheduled by his staff to ask a question. I was greeted by Johnny; but, due to a technical glitch on their end, they could not hear me.
Here is what I was going to ask Johnny:
a. You have said that you want to protect the environment and Medicare. Why then did you vote to approve Trump’s nominees for the EPA and DHHS?
b. Scott Pruitt was AG of Oklahoma and sued the federal government numerous times to loosen environmental regulations. He has been heavily supported by energy companies via contributions. He is obviously there to reduce the effectiveness of the agency.
c. Your newsletter, which as a Republican I receive, recently quoted you as saying that you believe Price to be a “fantastic” choice. Is this statement hypocritical in that Price wants to do away with Medicare by making it a voucher program, forcing seniors to find outrageously expensive private insurance?
d. You have said that the replacement plan for ACA will provide tax credits and encourage people to have savings accounts (per Price and Speaker Ryan). How can poor people simply save enough money to pay for insurance when a policy for a family costs $18,000/yr on average? Are you aware that Price proposed a maximum of $3,000 as a tax credit?
e. When I checked into your contributions, I found hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions by insurance companies, drug companies and other special interests. How has this fact affected your votes?
Jack Bernard, Peachtree City