Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Teachers deserve the raises

To the editor:

After reading an article in the Herald about salary increases for administrators in the school district, some would probably be in shock. However, even with the most laughable explanation that could be given for this decision, I can't say I'm shocked at all. I did glean one important nugget of truth from the article: It's good to know why they worked so hard to keep that budget balanced! I would believe that after this article was published, many put their paper down on their coffee tables and scratched their heads and said, "huh?" If so, they did with good reason.

Here's how this logic works: Mrs. Burroughs stated that they (meaning administrators) worked really hard to make sure that the budget was balanced even through some tough decisions. For that reason, they're worth every penny of their salary. In essence it's a reward for a job well done. We want to keep them, so we're giving them raises. That seems fair enough.

Now let's juxtapose that claim with the following: Our teachers work 70-hour weeks and take their work home with them. Furthermore, they've produced some of the best results Oregon has to offer. They're worth every penny of their salary (which, by the way, is close to a third of the quoted administrators' salaries). We want to keep them, so we're going to give them raises. That would be just as fair. Nonetheless, teachers were laid off, there have been hiring freezes, salary freezes, pro-rated insurance, and it seems that the cream of the crop in the district (the teachers) are the ones on the front line taking hits every time there's a crisis.

Mrs. Burroughs' explanation was not only laughable, but obviously impulsive. Simply put, it seems that some people want their raises because they think they're CEOs and they have entitlement issues. Given how the board has recently conducted itself, I'm sure glad they don't have a salary to claim from taxpayers. I believe that if the teachers' union has any self-respect, they'll address this issue. Again, it's good to see why they worked so hard to make sure that budget was balanced!

Jason Smith

Baker City

Why should the cemetery suffer?

To the editor:

A question arises from two recent local newspaper articles reporting on the City Council meeting and discussions of May 22.

The city council approved the new fee schedules for certain city services, with a 20 percent increase for Mount Hope Cemetery being the largest of the various fee schedule increases.

The reason given was the city is working to make the cemetery fund, which is separate from the general fund, become self-sustaining.

Please help to me to understand the need for that, when some years ago if the story is truthful, there was a substantial transfer of funds from the cemetery fund to the Quail Ridge Golf Course fund, to help with the construction and maintenance during the development of the golf course, with it being a "loan of funds" to aid the city in creating a proper play course available for annual membership and public green fees.

Explain if possible, why the Quail Ridge Golf Course is not a profitable city property as of this date ... why the management of the course has not been able to meet the course-city repayment obligations, and also seems to be granted special considerations to have more financial assistance given with little dissent?

The Mount Hope Cemetery is one of Baker City's finest examples of historical pride, especially on Memorial Day with the Avenue of Flags, and has always been a respectful place of honor for all of the past veterans, and families. Why would local donations be necessary to restore and maintain any particular section if the original cemetery fund established long ago was to be fully repaid as loaned?

What a shame that the local cemetery greens and the park system was not awarded to the past local landscaping business due to the lack of an "extension clause" in his expiring contract, and went instead to a contractor from La Grande. Remember, what is spent local stays local, or so the saying goes!

Just sharing some thoughts, opinions, and awaiting responses!

Cheryl Gushman

Baker City