Letters to the Editor

Letters: Spanier’s compensation highlights unfair system; How to honor Nadine Kofman

Honor Nadine Kofman with a donation

I have been thinking about how to best honor Nadine Kofman and the very full life she led. A thought occurred to me during her Celebration of Life at The State Theatre. Apparently, Nadine planned every detail before she died, including the movie that was shown that evening. Nadine was a huge supporter of film at The State Theatre, and in one of my last conversations with her she mentioned a desire to raise the $35,000 needed to purchase a digital projector. Executive Director Karen Gregg said all donations made to The State Theatre in Nadine’s name will be earmarked for a digital projector. This could be yet another lasting impact Nadine makes for the community she loved. If you have been looking for a way to honor and remember Nadine, perhaps you would consider donating to The State Theatre in her name.

Tina Konrath, State College

Spanier’s continued compensation highlights unfair system

Although outrageous, it was not surprising to read that former Penn State University President Graham Spanier has received millions of dollars in compensation from his former employer in spite of the fact that he was fired in 2011. His dismissal was due to his failure to notify the proper authorities that a boy was assaulted in a shower on campus by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier attempted to protect his legacy and the university’s reputation but he failed miserably. The scandal has already cost the university over $250 million.

Former Penn State trustee Anthony Lubrano states that these payments to Mr. Spanier were “very justified” because the former university president’s reputation “has been irreparably harmed, and you don’t get that back.” Imagine if a university maintenance worker or a cook in a dormitory had been dismissed for chronic lateness or for failing a drug test. Would Mr. Lubrano agree to pay the fired employee his or her wages and benefits for a decade? This is another example of the system being rigged for the wealthy and powerful. We see this in California where wealthy, well connected parents pay to have their undeserving children enroll in prestigious universities and we see it all over the country when elected officials are convicted of serious felonies yet do not serve any jail time and they receive their full pensions worth millions of dollars.

Steven Cohen, State College

Cyber charter school reform would save local districts, taxpayers

According to a well-researched report from Education Voters of PA, “Commonsense Cyber Charter School Funding Reform Would Eliminate Wasteful Spending and Save $250 Million in Taxpayer Money,” $250 million of taxpayer money is being wasted. When a student leaves the brick and mortar school for a cyber charter school, the per student expenditure of the school district from which that student comes goes with him/her as tuition.

Charter school tuition for regular (non-special) education ranges from about $7,300 per student to $18,000 per student. Special education tuition ranges from about $14,900 to well over $40,000 per student (varies with disability). In cyber charter schools the costs are less than $5,000 per student for regular education and special education costs average $8,865 due to fewer expenses (no building upkeep, etc.).

If the tuition for cyber charter schools was based on actual cost, the savings would be about $250 million.

How does this affect Centre County school districts? Using $5,000 for each regular education student and $8,865 average for each special education student that transfers to a cyber charter school, money saved would be as follows, according to the report. Bald Eagle School District, $98,554; Bellefonte School District, $394,309; Penns Valley School District, $131,622; State College Area School District, $367,914.

Since Pennsylvania funds education at one of the lowest rates in the nation (currently 46th) this money could be used to increase education funding with our new taxes..

Susan Johnston, State College