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letter to the editor

‘Thanks’ extended

Please accept this letter as a token of appreciation and gratitude to Farragut Middle School, the students and parents of FMS, and the Farragut/West Knox County community. I have been fortunate to work 10 years for Knox County Schools with the last seven at FMS.

I am moving to Virginia this summer, and while I’m excited for the move, it is with much sadness that I leave my Farragut family. My experiences teaching here have been overwhelmingly positive, and I encourage everyone to stop and reflect on the blessings we have, especially when stress, hard economic times and political/religious issues threaten to tear down rather than build up the community.

Remember that every little thing you can do to help our schools, teachers and students matters — every little thing. Remember that the moral and civic development of our students is equally, if not more, important than the academic skills we strive to teach every day and this development starts at home and is enforced there as well. It’s a beautiful thing when we’re all on the same page.

The FMS faculty and staff truly are on a mission to provide an excellent learning community for students, and I will miss working alongside this amazing staff. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the parental support from my FMS parents and appreciate all they have done to partner with us to provide the best for their children. Local community businesses have been generous and supportive of the many projects we’ve undertaken. But just as Dorothy missed the Scarecrow, it is my FMS students I will miss most of all. I’ve been blessed to teach, mentor and love so many great kids, and to them I say in the immortal words of Johnny Cade in “The Outsiders,” “Stay Gold.”

Lauren Byrd

FMS Gold Pod

Kudos to BOMA

Mayor [Ralph] McGill and Aldermen [Ron]Honken and [Bob] Markli should be commended for not giving in to pressure from Town employees to set up a retroactive public pension. While the plan would have initially been funded by a transfer of funds from the current defined contribution plan, it would have established an open-ended commitment of the kind that is currently overwhelming the finances of states and cities across the nation.

It is disappointing that more citizens were not in attendance at the meeting to see the kind of pressure that has enabled public employees across the nation to bargain too successfully for a higher level of benefits than private sector employees obtain.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen are to be commended for avoiding a bailout of employees who have failed to save for their own retirement, despite the Town’s generous 8 percent contributions to their retirement and a 457 plan. It took courage to vote against the pension plan, which could in the future have left the Town’s citizens — largely absent from the meeting — on the same hook for under-funded pension plans as many states and municipalities find themselves in today.

Thanks again to Mayor McGill, Alderman Honken and Alderman Markli.

Richard E. Herod



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