No. of Recommendations: 2
Seattle voters approved a tax increase for libraries, which I opposed. Seattle voters have approved pretty much any tax increase exscept a special tax on lattes, which was voted down a few years ago.

Positive fall out from that funding is that all city libraries will be open on Sundays --- that began last week.



That's a service I expect to use pretty regularly.


So how are library or other local services doing in your area?




Seattle Pioneer
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Our main library is open on Sunday 1-5. Some of the branches are, too, I think, but not all.

I love our library system in Memphis. Internet service, great inter-library loan service, Kindle books online, etc.
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No. of Recommendations: 9
Positive fall out from that funding is that all city libraries will be open on Sundays --- that began last week.

That's a service I expect to use pretty regularly.



Socialist.
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Their bond measures always get funded her - which I support. They are not open on Sundays except the central library.
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Our main library is open on Sunday 1-5.

Ours is the same except I found out one year, it's oddly not open on Sunday's during the summer. I guess the idea is that the people in school need it on Sundays during the school year?
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Gingko,
We're just another suburb down the road from you and our library is open 1-5 on Sundays, all year round.

I hadn't realized that must be a local decision and not statewide.....

But yea for libraries.....!!!!!
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The St. Louis County library is open on Sundays during the school year. Forget the summer for Sunday service.
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Yeah - Berkeley manages its money badly. But the main branch is open on Sunday (1-5), just not the branches.
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Our library is open M-Th 10-8 and F-S 10-6. No Sunday, but that may have as much to do with Deep South Chrisitianity as anything else--I don't think there were Sunday hours when we moved here over 10 years ago.

Last sales tax passed to improve roads and library hours, which it has done. To raise further tax money, we're mowing down green space for development. Yes, even now. Developers control the town council--some are even on it. This was not the case when we moved here.
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Library hours are 10-6 or noon to 8 Monday through Thursday, closed Friday (and Sunday) Saturday 9-5 40 hours/week down from about 52 hrs/ week last year. Lots of layoffs and many part time staff (probably w/o benefits) the new Michigan
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Our library system had a major budget cut about 2 years ago - all of the libraries eliminated Sunday hours and cut their weekday hours so the libraries opened late two days a week and closed early two days a week. They also cut the book buying budget by over 50% - the libraries chose to focus on their children's section and nonfiction used by students, so adult fiction buying dropped almost to zero. I feel like the library did the best they could, but I'm not sure why the library system got hit so hard in the budget - I live in a pretty affluent area. Unfortunately, I kind of got out of the habit of going to the library during that time - after over a year of never finding any book on my wish list at the library, I just stopped checking.

The library system is still having problems in my area because two libraries needed renovations and another one needs to be replaced, so a lot of library money is being spent on construction costs. The library has been pretty creative in keeping the libraries going - one of the libraries opened a mini-library in the local mall while it was closed, and the other one put in a book vending machine at the community center. It only holds about 200 books but still, a very neat idea. They also have lockers where you can pick up books that you reserve online. I can afford to buy books now (one of my LBYM priorities) but there was a time when I depended on the library for all my reading material, so I'm glad they are doing their best to keep the library going!

I also love my local library system because they have a large used bookstore where they sell donated books. It's bigger than a lot of "real" bookstores. I've bought some books there, and I've also donated a lot of books - I did a major book cleanout this year and it was great to have a place to donate them.

Karen
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but I'm not sure why the library system got hit so hard in the budget

Libraries and Parks & Recreation are always the first two things to be slashed when there's a budget problem. There tends to be a sense that those areas "aren't important" so it doesn't matter if they close. As one town selectwoman was quoted, "when I want to read a book I buy one." And I suppose that works great if you only read a few books a year.

When I worked in a library in the Catskills we had constant problems with the Selectman cutting funds. And the high school football coach was on the radio, ranting because he needed new uniforms for his players, and they gave the money to the library.

Our director finally invited the entire board of Selectmen to visit the library. Out of the fifteen members, exactly one had a library card. The rest of them had never been there. They didn't know where it was, or what services we offered, or anything else, but they believed they were qualified to say we didn't need more money.

Nancy
trying to cut the rant short. I can go on and on about this.
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malaoshi, what town are you in? I'm in Walnut Creek, which is Contra Costa County's library system. The Lafayette library is open Sundays from 1-5 also. I'm not certain about WC's library, as I'm right in between them and I prefer Lafayette.

Gingko, is Berkeley in charge of its own library system or is it part of the county?

I always thought our libraries were closed on summer Sundays because those are super-slow days, what with everyone being outside doing summery things. :-)
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As one town selectwoman was quoted, "when I want to read a book I buy one." And I suppose that works great if you only read a few books a year.

If she read more books, she might be educated enough to understand how stupid she sounded when she said that. Ugh.

Between our park district and library, which are both separate line items on our property tax bill, they collect less than 5% of our property taxes. But we have a much smaller residential area than other towns of a similar size, so our library and park district are both very well funded, and we can use (for free) almost any materials from other nearby libraries.

And the prices on programs are great. Our annual park district membership, which gives us full access to the two fitness centers and open gym hours, is $3 per person. We have Charley in a once a week class for toddlers, and for the 19 one hour sessions this semester, it's $18.
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This has been an helpful thread. I don't use our local library, and wasn't surprised to see it's closed Saturday and Sunday, but while checking their hours out of curiosity, I was reminded how extensive their ebook lending program is. The process seems more streamlined than when I looked into in a couple of years ago, too. I might start using the library again if I can download books to my kindle or iPad.

I guess the selection remains to be seen, but they're connected to our university system, so I'm hopeful.

cm,
terrible library book return-on-time-er
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I might start using the library again if I can download books to my kindle or iPad.

If you are looking for a non-Kindle iPad ap - go to overdrive.com and put in your zip code to see the possible libraries. Overdrive is the non-kindle ap that works best for me with my library.
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terrible library book return-on-time-er

I am not great about it -
but our library has only a "conscience box" for late books.
(movies are $1/day if late)

I just drop a $20 bill in the box in January and figure that covers us for the year.


peace & public funding
t
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I live in Brooklyn, NY. Our library instituted two self-checkout machines. I asked one of the clerks who used to check out books if that would affect the staff. Would people be losing their jobs? One would think that if library patrons had to check out their own books, that would eliminate the need for three clerks, sitting at their desks, drinking their coffee and surfing the web! Apparently not so. The three clerks are happily sitting at their desks, drinking their coffee and surfing the web all day long.
That's our tax dollars at work!!
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No. of Recommendations: 16
One would think that if library patrons had to check out their own books, that would eliminate the need for three clerks, sitting at their desks, drinking their coffee and surfing the web! Apparently not so. The three clerks are happily sitting at their desks, drinking their coffee and surfing the web all day long.

While i cannot speak for Brooklyn, our (small local) library, where the librarians are paid a whopping $32k/year (public employee- public record), checking out books for patrons is only a TINY part of what they do.
Our library has a FT staff of 6 for 2 departments and 55 hours of being open.
They are responsible for shelving, checking out books & movies.
Preparing for programs (of which there are Many)
Finding materials for patrons
Showing patrons how to use the electronic card catalog
Answering phones
Answering questions
Explaining (and limiting) computer usage and solving basic IT problems
Crowd control (for the after school times)
culling books for sale
preparing new books for the counters
setting materials on reserve
Calling people for overdue materials
preparing and sending out late notices, when calls do not work
organizing volunteers
sorting and shelving book sale donations...

when i see them "Sitting" I presume they are working - just as when I am sitting at my desk, with a coffee, I hope that everyone does not assume I just surfing the net all day...

peace & and I am sure there is more
t
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If you are looking for a non-Kindle iPad ap - go to overdrive.com and put in your zip code to see the possible libraries. Overdrive is the non-kindle ap that works best for me with my library.

Overdrive is also for the Kindle.

Lara Amber
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I checked out the library in the small New England town that we will be moving to and both my husband and I were shocked when we were greeting warmly by staff that apparently enjoys what they do. That might be the norm in small towns but in the Big Apple patrons are treated like nuisances. Also, because we live in a big city we share the library with the homeless. Early this year two of them got into a fight and one was stabbed. I have been afraid to go to the library ever since.
I look forward to moving to a small town and enjoying a library that has a "quiet room". No such thing here in the city.
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checking out books for patrons is only a TINY part of what they do.

There's also the Interlibrary loan service, rotating newspapers and magazines so that the newest issue is on top and the later issues are in the files, entering the reserve books into the system so they are flagged when they're returned, and occasionally calling the police when crowd control failed.

While i cannot speak for Brooklyn, our (small local) library, where the librarians are paid a whopping $32k/year (public employee- public record),

Wow. I earned $6.00 an hour at the places I worked. And Boston pays $10.00. That's for staff, as opposed to the people with an MLS degree. And the people with the graduate degree weren't paid an awful lot, either.

Nancy
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I also love my local library system because they have a large used bookstore where they sell donated books.

Our library always has used books for sale and then they have a big used book sale a few times a year to raise funds for the library. They also have a paperback rack where you can donate and you can take and return whenever you want. I donate any books I no longer need to the library, so they can either sell or use them as they like. I also donate old DVD's there if I no longer watch them. I feel like they are going to get the most use their.

I use my library for new fiction when I decide the kindle price is too high.
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Oh! Our library also does lots of things for kids and teens. I was surprised to learn that they have a whole loung room for teens with video games and all the teenybopper books are up there (which I found out when trying to borrow one.)

I don't like overdrive though. They used to have a system that worked through the amazon site and I prefer that because I don't have to download a bunch of new software.
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Berkeley is in charge of its own libraries, and it is separate from the Alameda County system. Library bond measures ALWAYS get funded here, even when nothing else does. I vote "no" on a lot of local measures, but I always support the libraries.

They are in the middle of a bond-funded restoration and seismic upgrade of all branches, and the ones completed so far look great and have more space than before.
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While i cannot speak for Brooklyn, our (small local) library, where the librarians are paid a whopping $32k/year (public employee- public record),



I was referring to the clerical staff at the library, not the librarians!
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A midsized city example: Omaha has a dozen branches scattered over the city which covers most of the county, but not all of it, so the county residents either have small town libraries or have to pay a fee to use OPL.
Each branch has its own hours/days open, and most are closed Sundays, but someplace in the city there's a branch open on Sunday and every day of the week, but locations vary.

It does have a decent reservation/inter-library system, and there are teen rooms/children's programs varying by branch. And they use Overdrive to download books.

We used the library quite a bit when the kids were younger. Now, I will usually just buy a book I want. LilMiss will still use the library on summer break, but I don't think DaBoy has been to the public library for quite a while (I do think he uses the university library). I might begin using it more again now that I see how many ebooks/e-audio books they have available if it's something I won't want to read again or make notes in.

Always ;-)
Hunzi
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No. of Recommendations: 1
wow! I'm amazed that so many cities and counties out there are so lacking in library services. I'm in northern Louisiana, so few services are offered in Louisiana, but our library (parish-wide system) is excellent. They now have free wi-fi, they allow food and drink in certain areas, have self checkout and self return, participate in the Overdrive system, are open 7 days a week (reduced hours in the summer). They have special audio devices preloaded with book on them for check out (for kids and adults who may not have an iPod or a way to listen to books on tape).

They offer language learning programs for free (it used to be a version of Rosetta; now it's called Mango). There is a book club, there are children's activities, there are computer classes.

I can search the catalogue online, and order a hold on books or movies that are popular. I can designate any branch in the parish to have the book sent to for pick up.

Twice a year the Friends of the Library hold a sale, with books, music and movies heavily discounted.

After reading the posts from others here, I think I'll go and thank my librarian next time I'm in there (which is frequent, because I don't ever see a need to buy books).

rita
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No. of Recommendations: 7
The three clerks are happily sitting at their desks, drinking their coffee and surfing the web all day long.

Wow. You know this how? You monitor them all day every day?

There are many other job requirements of librarians besides helping people check out books. Perhaps you might be interested in joining the Friends of the Library to learn more about its workings. If it's anything like ours, those librarians are working to make the multitude of services the library provides more effective. Sometimes it even takes internet research.

Chili
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Oh - our library (and probably the one in the town to where you are moving) has ONLY librarians, although there has been talk of hiring one part time person, who I guess would fall into that category.

I think our comparison is apples & rocks...I hope you love it when you move

peace & Dewey
t
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Wow. You know this how? You monitor them all day every day?

I go to the library several times a week.
Again, I am talking about the clerical staff NOT the librarians.
There's a big difference.
Oh, I just read today that our local library will most likely be closing due to the fact that it's in bad shape and will require 9 million dollars worth of renovations.
I am glad that I will be moving. I loved the libraries on Long Island and even in Providence, RI when we lived there for a few years.
I had a good feeling when I popped into the library in the small town that we will be moving to. Everyone was nice and friendly.
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Chili,
Just curious. Do you live in a major metropolitan city or a small town.
I am happy to hear that people who live in small towns have positive experiences with their libraries.
Also, librarians do not check out books in our library. That is the job of the clerical staff or used to be until they institued the new self-check out machines.
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I just found out that the local library here in Brooklyn may be closing. Last summer the air conditioning went kaput and the library would only open in the morning and close at noon. This went on all summer. You would think that a large city library would have better resources. Apparently not.
In many ways I cannot wait to move to a small town in New England.
There seems to be a very nice vibe there that is missing in the big city.
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You would think that a large city library would have better resources. Apparently not.

Since you use and appreciate the library, what have you done to support it ?
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A large city has to divide resources, there IS another library somewhere (further from someone) - good news/bad news

But, In a town of under 20,000 people, there is one library/postoffice/whatever.
And they will scrape by and make do with barebones staff if budgets are cut - but if they close, there are no other options


peace & all or nothing
t
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Since you use and appreciate the library, what have you done to support it ?

This. Huge deal.

I, myself, have access to three different library systems. One in my city/state of residence, one in my city/state of work, and one from my alma mater (that includes several other universities in a reciprocal agreement).

I take an interest in all three:
1) University - when I donate to the school, I specify "library"
2) Residence - donate used books and some cash to this system
3) Work - cash, plus active in discussions around funding when they come around

I frequent #3 the most, as it's most convenient, but I think all three are vital to the area so do what I can where I can. #3 had a particularly interesting time the last few years, because of lack of funds (the economy) and there was input requested on hours of operation, how best to serve the community, etc. It's a largish system, covering a decently populated area of the metro, so several branches changed hours and staff levels.

I love the self checkout kiosks they added. I can get in and out of there with the books that have come in for me in under a minute. Just pop to the shelf the holds are on, grab mine (listed by the first 4 of your last name) and then quick through a kiosk. Since the lack of funds lead to a lack of staff, the kiosks have really allowed the remaining staff to actually tackle problems, instead of just check in/out.

impolite
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Since you use and appreciate the library, what have you done to support it ?

I'm sure she pays taxes. I donate books to my library (and pay fines) but otherwise do nothing to support it financially. Do people routinely donate money to a public service like that?

Brooklyn knows her library better than we do. If she thinks the clerks are somewhat unhelpful then they probably are. (Mine are quite helpful, though, and I love being able to reserve new books online and get a call when they are available).
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The three clerks are happily sitting at their desks, drinking their coffee and surfing the web all day long.

Our library system got rid of the desks at the same time they got self-checkout. Instead there are computer kiosks scattered about for the employees to use that require them to stand. (The idea is the library wants the staff to circulate around the library helping people as they browse the shelves, not sit behind a desk and make people come to them.) When the change happened there were a few complaints about how they were virtually guaranteeing that staff wouldn't stay on as they aged because they were expected to be on their feet all day. I have the feeling these complaints came from the "sit on my butt and surf the web" contingent who didn't like all the changes as the local library system was revamped. Considering changes like this was one of the reasons we went from one of the worst library systems in the state to one winning national awards, they can stand.

Lara Amber
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Do people routinely donate money to a public service like that?

Yes, at least in my small town. I live in a town of about 5000 people, and our taxes have to fund quite a lot, but the vast majority of our money goes to education which is a top priority for the town. Other priorities in this town is green space (we buy lots of land for conservation), the library, and our senior citizens.

We have several "Friends of" groups that help to raise money for various things including the library, the conservation folks, and even our historical society.

So yes, people do routinely donate money to public services, and there are even entire organizations dedicated to encouraging that.

I'm sure it is not the same everywhere, but it is true where I live.
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I pay my taxes!!!
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In the small town that we will be moving to they ask for volunteers to help put the books back on the shelves. Both my husband and I will be volunteering to do just that.
In our local "big city" library, we have people sitting around doing nothing and getting paid for it.
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Do people routinely donate money to a public service like that?

Yes. There are many extras that are supplied by donations, and there are many people who appreciate the books and research help the library supplies. The schools often hand out assignments that involve making use of library material, and, setting aside the selectmen, most residents of the places I've worked have been happy to have the library available.

Some people donate extra books for book sales, and some give money. There are even cases of people who have left money in their wills.

Nancy
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I had a good feeling when I popped into the library in the small town that we will be moving to. Everyone was nice and friendly.

Every time you mention your move I find myself wondering where you're moving to. (Mostly because I have relatives in the area). I think I've got it down to one of two counties, but I'm not so sure about the town. Lots of small towns around there.

Nancy
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Brooklyn knows her library better than we do. If she thinks the clerks are somewhat unhelpful then they probably are.

Finally, someone who actually reads my posts and "gets it".
I live in a BIG city. Brooklyn has millions of people in it.
Our library services all people from many different neighborhoods, some very nice, some not so much. We have to let the homeless in with all their stuff. Although I feel sympathy for them, the recent altercation between two homeless men in our library resulting from a stabbing is not exactly what I have in mind when I go to the library.
For all of you who have wonderful experiences in your own libraries, good for you.
There is no reason to volunteer in a big city library when there are so many paid workers who sit and drink coffee, surf the web and scowl when a patron approaches them. Trust me. I live here. I have seen it many times. I am happy to be moving to a nice little town where people go out of their way to be helpful!
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Lara,
What state do you live in?
I did wonder why they didn't lay people off when the self-checkouts were installed. The library here is in deep financial trouble and might
close altogether in the near future.
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I donated books just last week. They do have a book fair every Friday for two hours staffed by two lovely women who I know personally.
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Nancy,
The North Shore of Massachusetts is where we will be looking.
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I'm in Colorado. We are an unusual situation where the library system was failing so they spun off from the county government, have their own separate funding and board that isn't affected by county or state budgets (they got a revenue stream approved by the voters) and have completely revamped in the last few years. New buildings, new brand name, whole new philosophy on how a library should work. Very open floor plan, lots of skylights and little sitting areas with comfy chairs, short bookcases, bright happy colors, nice carpets, no big circulation desk or stacks or linoleum floors. Their aim is "community hub".

For example:

Tired and want to get away? Have the kids play in the quiet play area with blocks while you have a cup of coffee from the cafe and sit by the fireplace and read your book.
Want to learn a new skill: Sign up for a workshop and learn about knitting, living wills, barbecuing, how to create a garden, etc.
Worried about your teenager having too much free time: after school projects (film, crafts, etc), their own teen board, homework hours, and summer projects.
Small kid needs to learn to read: come to story time, sing alongs, or read to volunteer dogs that won't judge you
Just extra time: book clubs, computer labs, etc.

Lara Amber
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The North Shore of Massachusetts is where we will be looking.

Essex county. It had to be that or Rockingham in New Hampshire.

Beautiful area. Lots of lovely towns. You'll have a wonderful time. Let me know if you want to meet me. There are some other Fools around, too. We used to meet at a restaurant every one in a while.

Nancy
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Lara, sounds wonderful. Just my vision of what a good library should have.

Nancy
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Lara,
Sounds like MY kind of library!
The library we visited in the small New England town had a "quiet room".
Most of the people there were older. It was so peaceful, unlike the library in Brooklyn. I look forward to actually enjoying the library again in our new town.
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Nancy,
Newburyport is where we want to live. In town if at all possible.
There are lots of beautiful small New England towns but I need to be near a hospital, medical building, library. I have a health issue that may have to be monitored for years to come so being near a medical facility is very important. Also, there is a movie theatre, Actors Studio and Firehouse Theatre. The town seems to have alot going for it.
And, the commuter rail goes into Boston which is a big plus.
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Newburyport is where we want to live. In town if at all possible.

Newburyport is my favorite town. Beautiful, interesting, historic, and friendly. The only problem is that it's so nice no one wants to leave, which makes it difficult to find a home there.

Nancy
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Nancy,
How right you are. There is nothing on the market now in our price range and I just accepted an offer on my coop apartment. I did find six rentals though in case we need to rent for one year while looking around for a small house to buy. Lovely town. Very nice people too.
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So how are library or other local services doing in your area?

Unlike our local banks, the library won't let you in if you're wearing a hat, hoodie, or sunglasses.
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Following the decline in property values (and consequently, property tax revenue), all of our city offices are now closed on Friday's.

Our library is open M-F, but closed on weekends.

(So far as I know, Public Safety is the only department open 7-days.)
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I presume your comment was meant in jest, but I'd gladly jettison our public library to put more money in my pocket, or even just to replace some of our public safety officers (read: police & fire) who have been laid off.

There have been robberies reported on the same block as the police station. When crime is that bad, it's hard to justify "quality of life" tax expenditures.
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" I presume your comment was meant in jest, but I'd gladly jettison our public library to put more money in my pocket, or even just to replace some of our public safety officers (read: police & fire) who have been laid off.

There have been robberies reported on the same block as the police station. When crime is that bad, it's hard to justify "quality of life" tax expenditures. "

Libraries serve as more than quality of life expenditures. They also serve as life-lines, particularly to the unemployed. I am lucky that I have a laptop and internet, but there have been times within the last couple months, when my laptop was out for repair, that the local library was a god send. As someone who is currently unemployed, I wouldn't have been able to apply for jobs otherwise. The last time I went to Kinkos, I spent nearly ten dollars for just 20 minutes of internet time and a few pages printed. Whereas at the public library, I didn't spend a dime, other than a little under a dollar for printing the pages I needed. I would rather pay taxes for educational institutions, and libraries certainly fall under that umbrella, than the continual greasing of foreign nations that could care squat for our culture and values. If we had the will to cut some of that fat, then funding things like fire, safety, and educational institutions would be a non-issue.
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there have been times within the last couple months, when my laptop was out for repair, that the local library was a god send. As someone who is currently unemployed, I wouldn't have been able to apply for jobs otherwise.

Where I live (Michigan), unemployment taxes fund job centers where any unemployed person can use a computer to search for jobs. I know because I availed myself of their services when I was seeking employment.

Whereas at the public library, I didn't spend a dime, other than a little under a dollar for printing the pages I needed.

Of course you spend dimes — that is, if you pay the taxes that support that library. If there were no public library, your taxes would be lower, and you'd have the money to pay for Kinkos, or to fix your computer.

(If there's an Apple Store nearby, you can also use their computers for free, too. They won't chase you out or put a time limit on your usage.)

I would rather pay taxes for educational institutions… than the continual greasing of foreign nations…

Why choose when we can say no to both?

I'm all in favor of providing financial assistance to those who lack enough money to buy food, but I don't think we need government-run supermarkets to provide that food, nor do I think that food assistance should be provided to those who aren't in need.

Likewise I favor financial assistance to those who lack enough money to buy an education for their children, but I don't think we need government-run schools, nor do I think the wealthy should get a subsidy when it comes to their children's education.

(Perhaps there is a person who can explain to me why we have "food stamps" that allow the poor to decide where to shop and what to buy, but we don't "education stamps" and allow those same poor people to decide where to buy an education for their children. But I haven't met that person yet.)
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Perhaps there is a person who can explain to me why we have "food stamps" that allow the poor to decide where to shop and what to buy, but we don't "education stamps" and allow those same poor people to decide where to buy an education for their children. But I haven't met that person yet.

Two points.

A) a lot of people don't want their tax dollars going to support religious schools, and particularly religious schools that practice segregation.

B) Even within the voucher system there are going to be horrible, trouble-making students. The private schools can keep them out or kick them out, but the public schools are stuck with them. That brings down the overall grades and scores of the public schools, which means less money goes to them, which means more of the good students leave and eventually only the really horrible students are at the public schools. Unless and until this is corrected for I don't think money should flow to the private schools at the expense of the public schools.

Nancy
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A) a lot of people don't want their tax dollars going to support religious schools…

When the public schools stop observing December 25 as a school holiday, I'll accept that they don't have a religious bias. In the mean time, my tax dollars already go to schools that teach what I view as inappropriate values. Of course I also don't endorse islam or catholicism (or satanism, for that matter!), but so long as those schools meet some minimum standard for teaching secular subjects (math, english, etc.), I'm okay with public funding.

and particularly religious schools that practice segregation.

That's easily dealt with by banning payments to such institutions. (You do realize that the US is full of colleges and universities that receive government funding despite being formally religious?)

Unless and until this is corrected for…

Then you should welcome my proposal to eliminate public schools entirely. Because that would likewise eliminate the problem of public schools being forced to take those "horrible, trouble-making students." Perhaps schools accepting vouchers could be obligated to accept any students who apply?

You make these problems sound intractable, when in fact they are almost trivial.
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When the public schools stop observing December 25 as a school holiday, I'll accept that they don't have a religious bias.

So, in places where they get off for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah they aren't allowed to give December 25 because that's religious bias?

eliminate public schools entirely

Wonderful! Now the worst students can spend ALL DAY LONG getting into trouble. Do you not understand that one of the reasons people want private schools, and the reason there is a push for vouchers, is because private schools can enforce a different discipline, which involves expulsion? That expelling trouble makers, making it easier to focus on students who have families that actually care about education is what people want? They don't want their kids exposed to real trouble makers. That's why they want their kids in private and charter schools. Your throwaway remark about forcing schools to take the bad kids exposes your ignorance of the problem.

Nancy
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i was thinking more along the lines of everyone has to pay directly (out of pocket) for food
but a public eductaion is an indirect cost - through taxes, grants, etc, and considered "free" as something that society provides.

There are plenty of NOT poor people who still cannot afford private schools - for us we would be choosing between school and college.
Any person (regardless of intelligence) can opt out and homeschool.


peace & nothing is really free
t
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When the public schools stop observing December 25 as a school holiday, I'll accept that they don't have a religious bias.

Actually, that is something that I've seen proposed, and the reason that it stays there tends to be because it is in the middle of the winter break.

Then you should welcome my proposal to eliminate public schools entirely. Because that would likewise eliminate the problem of public schools being forced to take those "horrible, trouble-making students." Perhaps schools accepting vouchers could be obligated to accept any students who apply?

But if you do that, how do you ensure that every child gets a Free and Appropriate Public Education, which is what you'd have to eliminate to eliminate public schools and not teach those 'horrible, trouble-making students.' How do you propose that those kids get an education? And if you think they should not be educated, what do you propose to do with/for them so that they turn into productive citizens vs. continuing down the wrong path? And what about SPED students, or do you think that any child who requires special education services, no matter what level, should not get those services?


You make these problems sound intractable, when in fact they are almost trivial.

I don't think any of the issues are trivial.
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Do you not understand that one of the reasons people want private schools…

Since I'm one of the people who prefers private schools, presumably I have some knowledge of the mindset of parents who prefer private schools.

private schools can enforce a different discipline, which involves expulsion?

Public schools can suspend and expel students, too.

But perhaps your right -- the best solution is to have public schools only for the troublemakers.
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Actually, that is something that I've seen proposed, and the reason that it stays there tends to be because it is in the middle of the winter break.

Do you think the scheduling of the winter break around a Christian holiday is just a lucky coincidence?

And what about SPED students…

What about them? When I was a kid, my public school district spent many tens of thousands of dollars paying for a full-time private residential school for a severely disabled child. The district simply didn't have the resources to accommodate him.

Or do you think public schools have some magical property, and that the same money spent privately couldn't produce equal (or better) results?
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Do you think the scheduling of the winter break around a Christian holiday is just a lucky coincidence?

No, I don't, but that doesn't change the fact that the schools have built an entire break there. I also work at a company that shuts down at that time, and it is mostly because so many people take it off as vacation (probably because the kids are out of school), that nothing happens so they just shut down.

I note, however, that we don't have our week of spring break scheduled around Easter, and there is no time off then, so it is not like all Christian holidays have time off. I would also note that for Christians, Easter is the holiest time of year, and not Christmas.

Or do you think public schools have some magical property, and that the same money spent privately couldn't produce equal (or better) results?

I think that if you want to send your child to private school, then you should pay for it. My tax dollars are used to fund public school, and I object if you want to take those tax dollars to be able to send your kid to private school instead. If you want private school, then I think you should pay for it, and shouldn't be looking for me to fund both public education and your kids going to a private school.

I chose to live in a town where I pay very high taxes because my public schools are excellent, and I am happy with it like that, but I would not be pleased if my public school funds were reduced to fund a private school instead, and that is my objection to vouchers.
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Actually, that is something that I've seen proposed, and the reason that it stays there tends to be because it is in the middle of the winter break.

I lived on Long Island, and after several years of struggle the school district finally put Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah on the list of days off. The struggle to find enough substitute teachers, and the amount of money that went toward paying those substitutes, was wreaking havoc in the school district. December 25 will probably remain on the list of days off for the same reason. It's not so much religious bias as it is practicality.

Nancy
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I think that if you want to send your child to private school, then you should pay for it. My tax dollars are used to fund public school, and I object if you want to take those tax dollars to be able to send your kid to private school instead. If you want private school, then I think you should pay for it, and shouldn't be looking for me to fund both public education and your kids going to a private school.

There are a bunch of Libertarians who have moved to New Hampshire in the hope of eventually gaining enough power at a state level to put their theories into practice. One thing they want to do is eliminate public schools altogether and not supply anything in their place. One of the leaders put it quite succinctly: "If you want your kids to be educated, send them to private school. I spent $13,000 a year to educate my kids, and the rest of you should do the same."

I don't think they'll actually get that one through the legislature.

Nancy
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When the public schools stop observing December 25 as a school holiday, I'll accept that they don't have a religious bias.

Public schools observe holidays based on community standards. If a lot of students/staff are going to be absent because they're celebrating a holiday, it makes sense to close for the day. Schools in my district close for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Also, spring break is scheduled to accommodate both Passover and Easter. (Chag Sameach, btw)

In some districts in Michigan they probably close for Islamic holidays. Makes sense so close a school of half the kids will be absent. I've even heard of some rural schools closing for the opening of hunting/fishing season.
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I've even heard of some rural schools closing for the opening of hunting/fishing season.

Many non-rural schools in PA have the Monday after Thanksgiving off for the first day of buck season.

PSU
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Makes sense so close a school of half the kids will be absent. I've even heard of some rural schools closing for the opening of hunting/fishing season.

When I was in school in Idaho, school closed for two weeks in the fall so the students could help with the potato harvest. We called it Spud Vacation but there was little "vacation" and lots of "spuds". I earned enough money to buy my first car for cash when I was 14.
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They sure did manage to get State funding for UNH cut to the bone, resulting in large tuition increases.

Extremists. Call the exterminator, they are just like pests.
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<< Even within the voucher system there are going to be horrible, trouble-making students. The private schools can keep them out or kick them out, but the public schools are stuck with them. >>



Public schools should be kicking out the uneducable and those not motivated to learn, just as do colleges and universities.

Kepping them in "schools" corrupts ther education environment for everyone.



Seattle Pioneer
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Public schools should be kicking out the uneducable and those not motivated to learn, just as do colleges and universities.

Kepping them in "schools" corrupts ther education environment for everyone.



There have been court cases fought over this.

Your point of view lost, over and over again.

Ishtar
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And to back up what I just said: http://www.specialeducationadvisor.com/top-ten-special-educa...

That's only 10 cases, and only ones that made it to the Supreme Court.

There are lots more in lower courts.

Ishtar
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