Our thoughts...

The Covington News - - Front page -

We have been pleased that in th­ese tough eco­nomic times that our lo­cally elected of­fi­cials in Cov­ing­ton, So­cial Cir­cle and New­ton County have tried their best to keep their bud­gets bal­anced without rais­ing taxes and putting a fur­ther bur­den on the tax pay­ers in those com­mu­ni­ties.

This week mem­bers of the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion made one of those de­ci­sions that elected of­fi­cials hope they never have to make. They ap­proved more non-paid fur­lough days, re­quir­ing teach­ers to pay more of a de­ductible for some in­sur­ance ben­e­fits and de­creas­ing the per­cent the sys­tem pays into the sup­ple­men­tal re­tire­ment plan beginning in Oc­to­ber.

Also, sum­mer school has been elim­i­nated this year.

There was a con­cern by one of the board mem­bers that th­ese cuts would hurt fu­ture re­cruit­ment. We doubt that would pose a prob­lem be­cause most school dis­tricts across the state are in the same predica­ment and have had to make even larger cuts.

Th­ese cuts and ad­just­ments hurt, but teach­ers and other county and city of­fi­cials are paid with tax rev­enue paid by lo­cal cit­i­zens. Some of our read­ers and neigh­bors are not as for­tu­nate and many of the pri­vate com­pa­nies they worked for — just as dili­gently as teach­ers and mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees — have down­sized or boarded their doors leav­ing many without any in­come.

We are in the tough­est eco­nomic times since the Great De­pres­sion. In New­ton County alone this past year more than 4,000 homes have un­der­gone fore­clo­sure. It is im­per­a­tive that we look out for each other; when we can, we should sup­port our food banks, go through clos­ets and do­nate un­wanted items to the Sal­va­tion Army or any other group that col­lects such things.

We be­lieve we can and we will make it through th­ese times and just as what hap­pened to our par­ents and grand­par­ents, we will be­come stronger be­cause of our ex­pe­ri­ences.

There may be even more cuts in store for our pub­lic ser­vants be­fore things im­prove, so pre­pare now. Save your money and do what peo­ple did in the good old days — en­joy your fam­ily, your neigh­bors and your com­mu­nity. If you do, you might find as Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz” did that there’s no place like home.

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