Appleton budget mystery
During the past month, it was revealed the budget for Appleton Village School had been miscalculated by more than $100,000. School officials and the new superintendent haven't been able to nail down where the error occurred.
While we applaud newly-hired Superintendent Nancy Weed for catching the error quickly, the mystery as to why there was an error in the first place is still troubling. Maybe there was a transcription error along the line or the transition of administration and new school board members led to confusion. There's no shame in that. But the answer to why this error occurred remains a mystery, despite many questions asked of many people associated with the budget process. Budgets require a lot of paperwork, somewhere along the line there should be documentation of this error, which comprises 5 percent of the school budget — a rather large chunk.
Now, we aren't saying or implying there has been any wrongdoing on the part of anyone; we are simply pointing out there should be an answer to the question: why? It isn't just the residents of Appleton who deserve to know, it's also school employees, especially those impacted by reductions in force.
We understand there are only so many areas of a budget that can handle a cut of this size and the administration has done well to limit the impact on students as much as they have. But still, a number of employees of the school, while not completely stripped of their jobs, are now facing a decrease to their projected incomes for the coming year due to something that isn't their fault.
Attendance at school committee meetings is often sparse and the series of meetings this month were no different. We aren't sure if it is because people don't feel they can effect real change when it comes to school budgets or if they are complacent no matter what changes or if residents are supremely confident in the abilities of elected school committee members to do what's best for the students.
The school year has started
It is time to slow down and pay attention driving to work for your morning commute. Schools in Knox County started back up this week and children are waiting at local bus stops, and some are walking to their daily classes.
Be especially careful in school zones and around school buses.
Avoid distractions like your cellphone, programming your GPS, doing your makeup or eating breakfast. Kids horsing around at a bus stop can make sudden, unpredictable moves, so it behooves adults to stay alert.
While this is a busy season, we hope the teachers, students and parents are approaching it with excitement and enthusiasm. Parents are urged to take time in the evening to ask students about their school day, find out what they learned and help with homework. You are your child's best advocate and first teacher.
It would also be a good idea for children to get to bed early, have a good breakfast and come to school properly dressed for the weather. Take time to prepare them for each day.
The Syria question
There is an unpleasant sense of deja vu when we hear the reports that the U.S. is considering a military attack on a Middle Eastern nation and now lacks the support of an important ally.
Britain has decided not to participate in a missile attack on Syria. Maybe that is the right decision, and our proposed attack is wrong.
While President Obama has taken some criticism for being slow to respond with military force, we think it was the right call to seek the approval of Congress. After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should be very slow and careful as we consider dedicating the military to more action in the region.
While we are considering supporting the rebels trying to overthrow a corrupt government, what guarantee do we have that these rebels will not be a new corrupt government in the future?
While the use of chemical weapons is deplorable and impossible to justify, our idealistic side wonders if more missiles are really a solution. We have seen enough war since 2001 to last a lifetime and do not want to start any new adventures in Syria or anywhere else.
As we wait to see what will happen, perhaps the best we can do is pray for peace.