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Monday, Aug 03, 2015

Support Amendments 5, 6 and school critical needs referendum

Highlands Today Highlands Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 3, 2013 at 08:53 AM

Critical Needs School MillageHighland County voters will find a referendum on this season's ballot regarding continuing for two years a .25 mill levy for school district critical needs. We support this levy because our district already is facing enough budget strain and this helps make a big difference in the operation of our district.

A "yes" vote on the referendum gives the district the option of increasing millage .25 mills. The Legislature cut this funding a few years ago but gave districts the power to do this in the interim. Now districts have to ask voters if they can continue it.

For Highlands County, this is a difference of $1.275 million from the budget next year that will have to be cut. We hope voters understand that school funding is in bad shape. The district needs what it can get and this optional millage increase definitely makes a difference.

Measures 5 and 6These measures would protect Florida's legislative and congressional districts from being drawn to benefit a particular political party. This is much needed and for some reason Republicans are against this. Apparently they want the ability to stack the deck when it comes to redistricting and staying in power. This is absurd and we hope voters support both of these measures.

For too long politicians have played with voting districts, stretching one way and reaching across to another so they can maintain a foothold. This doesn't make the district representative of the people living in that region. Instead it isolates some groups from others, and keeps them from voting for the representatives they want. This is not good democracy.

Measures 5 and 6 protect lines from being drawn for racial or language reasons, and forces the districts to be contiguous, compact and as equal in population as possible. This is a no-brainer and any politician advocating against these measures should be voted out of office. They just want an unfair advantage, and it's time to remove any advantages for any party.