I wanted to take a moment and congratulate and thank all of the School Board candidates for making the commitment to volunteer their time for the students of the Ottumwa School District. Being married to a grade school teacher, I learned many years ago from my wife Lynda all the personal sacrifices, extra hours, and out of pocket expenses that teachers donate for "their kids". It's a commitment and a love that you cannot fake.

Because of this, I'll always have respect for teachers and all that they do. Being on the school board allowed me to see all aspects and complexities of running a district. There are so many key elements necessary for a district to be successful, it's somewhat overwhelming. One quick and easy example is how critical parent support is. It starts with supporting teachers’ expectations and most certainly includes attending parent/teacher conferences, encouraging and supporting their children to participate in extracurricular activities such as band or orchestra, clubs or sports will help built a better student, and teach them leadership skills that they can value and use for the rest of their lives.

I have gained a new respect for all the hard work that our teachers, administrators and volunteers do on a daily basis, that I never would have had if it were not for serving on the school board. Again, thank your allowing me to be a part of the Ottumwa Community Schools.

Greg Riley

Ottumwa

At the candidate forum on Sept. 13 was held at Cardinal school a question was asked about a budget deficit that none were aware of. I was made aware of this by a friend that had read it in the board minutes printed in the Ottumwa Courier. As per the mentioned minutes, it stated that the deficit was 14-plus percent. I then went to the school and asked the superintendent to explain this in a dollar amount. All I was told was that the budget was $9 million and he didn’t offer a dollar figure.

My question is this: if the influx of open enrolled students and staff and other costs caused this deficit in the first year, won’t those expenses still be there for the second year?

I was a member of the Cardinal school board when open enrollment was started. It was intended as a way to relieve hardship on some parents. School boards were very selective in its use. When it is used to increase enrollment in one district at the expense of another, then we have crossed the line between ethical and unethical, morally right and morally wrong.

To the patriots of the Cardinal district I hope we can make ethical and morally right decisions in this election.

Marvin Creech

Eldon

Why does it take a disaster for billions of dollars to pour in to help the needy? Most of those in the cities of the recent disasters have large incomes, family, insurance. Very few are truly poor, very few are elderly or homeless. Most have some resources. FEMA and many organizations and volunteers will be there to help.

Every day millions of mentally ill and disabled are living in the dirt, under a bridge, in tent communities or just plain on the street. During the heat of summer and freezing cold of winter. Without shelter, food, proper clothing, toilets, running water, etc. We must have the five basic essentials to survive. Google it.

These people go unnoticed, forgotten and ridiculed, while millions spend money lavishly, foolishly with greed being their motivation. Many of these mentally ill, elderly, homeless, fought for this country, built the railroads, the companies, the roads, the things we take for granted. Personally, I get enraged every time I hear of the poverty level being $26,000 a year. I have advanced heart failure and live on $12,000 a year. Many others live on no money at all. We get a measly $15 raise a year on disability only to have it taken away on food assistance. With rent, utilities, food, etc., going up nonstop.

Why do we make cuts in the poor and continue to give unreal raises and benefits to the already wealthy. Tax the rich and be considerate to the needy. Remember my friends, the meek will inherit the earth. You must remember we all will be old someday. At any given time you can become disabled, battle mental illness, go from being on top to struggling at the bottom. You reap what you sow, an eye for an eye, and karma is real. Don’t let it be a disaster before you think of your fellow human beings, your fellow Americans. Don’t judge unless you have walked in others’ footsteps.

Help your elderly, treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated, and next time you buy new clothes, new cars and live lavishly and foolishly stop and think of the unfortunate.

Our government needs to stop making cuts to the poor, help the mentally ill. Do they just expect us to vanish and die? We will perish and the greedy will be left, left to pay the price.

Jeff Reeves

Ottumwa