Thursday February 28, 2013

Vote ‘yes' on the MAU budget

On March 5 voters in Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury and Woodford will be asked to vote on the budget that will support the operation of the Mount Anthony High School and the Mount Anthony Middle School.

Each year it is the responsibility of the Mount Anthony Board, with the help of the administration and teachers in each school, to present to the voters a budget that represents their best effort to combine the educational needs of the schools and the economic reality of our community. As costs continue to rise the schools have a responsibility to meet their contractual obligations, maintain their facilities and meet the needs of the students. If the schools are to meet the expectations of students, parents and the community it must have the staff and materials to do this.

During the past several years the number of students who need more than the regular classroom can offer has increased. With this increase has come added costs. In the past schools have relied on federal grants, state aid and other sources of income to offset the added cost. Unfortunately much of this aid is no longer available and now must be taxed to the local property owner.

Also in recent years the schools have fully realized their responsibility to give each student the tools he or she needs to succeed in school and in what they do after school. The administration and teachers are committed to increase the reading and math skills of all students. To do this each school has instituted programs to help students who do not meet the standards set by the state. Literacy teachers and math specialist have been hired to work with students and fellow teachers to improve these skills. There are several programs and classes available to students who have difficulty learning in a traditional classroom environment.

We can all be proud of what our schools have accomplished during the past few years. Our graduates now attend some of the most competitive and prestigious colleges including Harvard, Princeton and Williams. More students who are taking the Advance Placement exams are scoring high enough so that they receive college credit. Students are doing community work both here in Vermont and in central American countries. Our graduation rate has increased, attendance has improved and atmosphere within the schools has clearly shown that students recognize the importance of getting an education. There is always more to do and to do that we need your support of the budget.

Please vote YES on the MAU budget.

TIM HOLBROOK

Pownal

MAU Finance Committee

Editor's note: This letter ran in Wednesday's paper without identifying the writer.

Support the sweetened beverage tax

On Tuesday on the back page of the Banner was a full page add from the No Beverage Tax group that encouraged tax payers to call our State Representatives to stop the sweetened beverage tax.

There are facts that you need to be aware of before you join this coalition.

Over 50 percent of Vermont adults and nearly 27 percent of our children are over weight or obese. Soda is third in the top five sources of calories for children 2 to 18. During the 1990s, teens began drinking more sugar sweetened beverages than milk. Sugar sweetened beverage consumption has more than doubled over the last 30 years and accounts for a least one fifth of the weight gained between 1977 and 2007 in the US population.

The American Health Association recommends limiting sugar sweetened beverage consumption to no more than 450 calories -- that's 27 teaspoons of sugar per week. One 20-ounce bottle of soda has 16 teaspoons of sugar! The calories we drink can add to those we eat rather than replace them.

One serving of a sugar sweetened beverage a day can increase a man's risk of heart attack by 20 percent. Besides heart disease obesity can lead to diabetes and many types of cancer. Half of Vermont's Medicare and Medicaid expenses $163 million a year, are attributed to obesity.

A Yale University Study found that a penny an ounce excise tax on these beverages would raise $27 million a year in Vermont. This revenue would be used to provide a greater access to health care, anti-obesity initiatives and education. This will not hurt lower income communities but will reduce obesity caused diseases and health care costs.

The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association support a penny per ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages, using the funding to provide not only greater access to health care but to subsidize the purchase of healthier foods for low income Vermonters.

Today the American Cancer Society announced that the Health care Committee passed its budget bill that includes a 1 cent-per ounce beverage excise tax. Please support this by calling or e-mailing our Senators and Representatives in Montpelier and to let them know that you are in favor of keeping Vermonters healthier. Please do it for your family and friends.

ERICA ROGERS

Cancer Action Network Volunteer

Bennington

Elect Eugene Rowley to the Bennington Select Board

Bennington voters cannot do better than to elect Eugene Rowley to the Select Board in next Tuesday's election.

Gene is amply qualified to bring common sense and reasonable ideas to the management of Bennington. Gene has been immensely generous with his time and knowledge. His community involvement has included many, many hours of work with all kinds of people. He has a particular interest in investing in Bennington's future from many years of working with young people and with the court system. Currently, Gene mentors "at risk" youth and volunteers as a Guardian ad litem in both family and criminal courts. His reassuring presence eases the stress of the court process for both children and incompetent adults. In the past, Gene has sat on the Development Review Board and Bennington School Board.

Gene has had a variety of life experiences here in Bennington and elsewhere in the United States. His maturity and sound judgment come from years of work in the public sector with a deeply troubled population and from years of work in the competitive world of restaurant management.

Seriousness and ability leavened with humor make Gene an ideal candidate for a term on the Select Board.

Gene Rowley has helped many people many times and it is this proven commitment to serving others that will make him a valuable member of Bennington's Select Board.

JANET VAN DERPOEL-ANDREA

Bennington

School lunches have changed

You probably won't read this because you have so much other stuff to do these days but during the first couple of days of school I started to noticed a couple of things about school lunches that have changed. In the new school year we the students and the even the parents have been ripped off by our own school and cafeteria.

I say this because in the past school years I have been filled when I have eaten lunch (by the way I am a big person and that's kind of hard to do but in the past they have done it) at school but this year has been different they have only started serving us half of a sandwich (which only has like one piece of ham on it) and giving half of what we had last year and we are in our growing stage so we need what we need to grow up but half a sandwich is to little for us. Also another thing is that in the mail before school started they sent a letter saying that are lunches are now $2.10 last year it was less expensive and we got more last year so how is that fair, you tell me?

CHRYSTAL ANN COX

7th grade Vista

MAUMS

Bennington