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Letters to The Platteville Journal for Feb. 4
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In response
In response to John Hempstead’s letter Jan. 28: Where have you been?

The Democratic Party has been in control of this country for the last six years; 100 percent the first two years and 66.7 percent the last four. Result: “Obamacare,” a $1.6 trillion tax increase (source Supreme Court of the United States) on working middle-class Americans.

Congratulations. Last week the American Communist Party published that they are in full support of the Democratic Party because their goals for the United States are the same (source NewsMax).

By the way, the IRS has several lawsuits against Warren Buffett’s interests for many millions in unpaid taxes (source Wall Street Journal).

Keith Kischer

Teachers should teach
The education of our children is one of the most important issues before us. Gov. Scott Walker’s continued attack and undermining of the public schools needs to be addressed on a bipartisan basis.

Most recently the governor has proposed allowing a competency test to be substituted for a teaching degree. The ability to “do” something does not necessarily infer the ability to teach what you do. Teachers receive specialized training to allow them to teach children with varied degrees of abilities, learning styles and motivation. We put emphasis on the need for higher education for many, many types of occupations including manufacturing, agriculture, business, etc. so why on earth would we not expect our teachers to have this specialized training as well. They have one of the most critical and important jobs, that of educating our children.

School accountability has been raised as an issue that the Legislature seems to feel compelled to get involved in also. We already have a structure for school accountability. It’s called a local school board. The Legislature does not need to add more bureaucracy in order to make schools accountable.

The school choice voucher program is eroding precious financial resources from our public school systems and needs to be reduced rather than expanded. Providing public funding to religious schools is a clear violation of separation of church and state. Parents have had a choice in where they send their children for some time with the open enrollment program.

The initial purpose of the voucher program is no longer being met. Vouchers are available now to families with the full financial means to send their children to any school they wish. The vast number of children who received vouchers this past school year were already enrolled in private/religious schools which further demonstrates that the stated purpose(s) of the program were not met.

Taxpayers should not be expected to subsidize a dual education program that funds religious schools and families with sufficient means to make their own choice to pay additional monies for education. I’d like to mention that my husband and

I did send our three children to a religious school K–12 with the last one graduating in 1999. We are not wealthy, but prioritized this choice based on our desire for them to receive the additional religious education. We did not and do not feel that we had the right to withhold support from the public schools because we paid extra for a private school. A good, public school education is beneficial to us all as a society. The vouchers and tax credits that are currently in effect are costing taxpayers in general more and are crippling our public schools.

Wisconsin is headed down the wrong path as it relates to public education and it needs to be changed now. We cannot afford to let the attack on our schools that is being waged by the governor and the Republican Legislature continue.

Donna Swanson

No taxes, no breaks
Drug tests for welfare recipients? Who will be next? Let’s first apply drug tests to politicians as I don’t know what they are smoking. They just spent all kinds of money holding hearings all across Wisconsin only to learn that the worse problem in Wisconsin is the property tax. Yet, voters hear nothing about what their plans are to slash the property tax.

I don’t know what voters are smoking or drinking as they seem to vote for who can run the most ads from donations by rich contributors with big tax exemptions granted by our politicians. Voters likely forgot that it was Democrats that sought to take schools off the property tax in 1994.

My Fair Tax Plan for Wisconsin ( will solve all Wisconsin problems.

By eliminating tax exemption devices, present services can continue and the $2 billion shortfall can be quickly erased. Schools and counties can be financed by general funds.

By reducing the property tax to a local tax, home, business and farm construction will boom and quickly eliminate the lack of jobs.

Voters can get this plan simply by demanding it before the next election. They have the power to make their taxes fair.

Gary Bahr

A vote for Nall
I am writing to urge Platteville residents to vote for Tom Nall for Alderman-at-Large for the Platteville Common Council.

As a 30-year resident of this area, Tom is a well-respected resident and businessman of Platteville. He has volunteered his time on many boards, commissions and committees. The list is so long that it would take up too much space to include in this letter.

Tom has been a Realtor for more than 20 years and understands the importance of controlled growth and is currently serving on the Plan Commission for the City of Platteville.

Platteville needs a candidate for Common Council who has already demonstrated a commitment to the city. That candidate is Tom Nall. I know Tom will make a great council member. Before voting on issues that go before the Common Council, he will weigh all facts and vote with an objective mindset, not a self-serving one.

The primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 17. Tom Nall is the most qualified candidate on the ballot.

Patrice Steiner

A vote for the referendum
On April 7, Platteville residents will be asked to vote on a school referendum that asks for $15 million dollars to add to and upgrade current facilities within our school district.

With the recent budget proposals by the governor, we have seen that additional funding and support to public education will not be coming from state in the near future and it’s time for our community to control our own destiny and show support for our schools.

We as a community have a tremendous opportunity to invest in the facilities where our students spend their day learning and developing into the leaders of tomorrow and our staff work tirelessly to help achieve that mission. I believe it’s imperative for our community to step up and support this referendum to upgrade our facilities to newer standards that will promote learning, enhance student development, and improve the safety and security of our buildings. With continued growth in STEM areas across the nation and growing programs at UW–Platteville, upgrades to our science program areas at the middle school and high school are important statements to our students wishing to explore these fields as they head towards a post-secondary education.

I encourage the community to take the time to visit the schools in the next few months, look at the proposals and consider the big picture for the long term future of our district’s facilities. As Superintendent Connie Valenza stated in her column last week, this investment in our schools will help to attract young families to Platteville. We know Platteville is a great place to live and raise children, let’s show students and staff in our district that we are willing to be that village that comes together to raise, support and invest in our children and the environment in which they learn and grow.

Matt Zielinski

Zielinski is a candidate for the Platteville School Board.

A vote against
In 1996 I was on the parent advisory committee at Platteville High School. At that time I questioned then-principal Robert Trickle about the reasoning behind the referendum since our enrollment was declining. He assured me that the enrollment was not declining. Lo and behold, in the fall of 1996 a report came out that the PHS enrollment declined.

Our current school superintendent, Connie Valenza, must be wearing those same rose-colored glasses. She just stated in her Community Corner column last week that the future of this community depends on the ability to attract young families to live in Platteville.

Her statement may have truth to it; however, facts prove her wrong. Our biggest obstacle to attract new families to Platteville is our high property taxes.

I ask all Platteville property tax payers to look at your 2014 tax bill. If you do the math you will see that 44 percent of your tax bill goes to the Platteville Public Schools. The City of Platteville’s total is only 34 percent of your bill.

In 1997 the total student enrollment for Platteville Public Schools was 1,811 students. Our current school district enrollment is 1,574 students. We have lost 237 students since 1997.

We need to reduce our property tax burden, in the city of Platteville, to attract new families. In 1996 it was promised to the Platteville taxpayers that our taxes would go down once this school debt was paid off. We need to vote no on the proposed school referendum. By reducing our property tax burden, this will go a long way in attracting not only young families, but all families to the City of Platteville.

John Miller

The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.