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Pay too low to retain teachers?

Gov. DeSantis said Oct. 7 that he wanted to raise starting teachers' pay to $47,500 throughout Florida. Initially, this news sparked hope the governor and legislators wanted to elevate Florida from an embarrassing 46th in teachers' pay.

But when a reporter asked about veteran teachers, DeSantis suggested bonuses or increasing base student allocation to allow local school boards control over raising teachers' salaries would raise veteran teachers' pay.

Multitudes of veteran teachers have worked more than a decade at their craft and still don’t make the proposed starting salary or they earn slightly above it. These public servants entered their careers believing they would receive annual raises and a respectable retirement, but bills signed into law by former Gov. Rick Scott stripped teachers of such securities.

If a plan to balance teachers' salaries so they are fair across the board doesn’t materialize, Florida's experienced teachers might migrate to earn a dignified living elsewhere. It’s time to tell DeSantis and the Legislature to fund Florida’s future by investing not only in recruiting teachers but in retaining them, too.

(From a veteran teacher in Collier County Public Schools and first vice president of the Collier County Education Association.) 

Annette Hall, Golden Gate

Syria fighting; SWFL rent

A question and a comment on two unrelated matters: Question: Re. the Kurd-Turkish-Syrian-ISIS mess, why does the responsibility to maintain a peacekeeping police force buffer between these longstanding adversaries fall solely upon Uncle Sam?

Not once have I heard anyone suggest our so-called European allies or the United Nations step up to the plate and shoulder the burden.

Comment: Re. the Naples Daily News article “Paying rent getting more painful in SW Florida,” what sort of adjustment, if any, was made in the study for seasonal rental rates?

The article points out that above-average rent is an economic burden not only in Collier County but in Miami and Florida as a whole. As a former Marco Island landlord, I know firsthand that there is a distinct difference between in-season and out-of-season rental rates. If some sort of adjustment is not made for this seasonal disparity, then the overall study results will be skewed to the upside.

Bill Klug, East Naples

Golden Gate golf course worth aid?

I am really disappointed in the recent decision of the Collier County commissioners regarding the Golden Gate golf course.

How can they reasonably vote in $43 million to the Corkscrew Sanctuary and $23 million to a pickleball facility and take the position that they will not contribute anything to the reopening of the golf course?

Last year, the golf course,

in fair condition, had 14,000 rounds of golf — an extremely low total of rounds. The income for those 14,000 rounds was about $840,000.

In 2013, the course had 25,000 rounds, but due to the previous owner neglecting the course, the number of rounds decreased.

How much income did the Corkscrew Sanctuary produce in income to warrant a $43 million dollar “gift,” and how long will it take to recoup some of that money? The same goes for the pickleball facility.

A fair estimate of the possible income for the golf course, if put in good condition, would “at least” be about $1.5 million, based on 25,000 rounds.

Please reconsider your “at no cost” attitude. The Naples area needs an “affordable” municipal public golf course.

James Goulding, Golden Gate

Golden Gate golf course vote

After reading that Collier County Commissioner Burt Saunders and three others voted to not open the Golden Gate golf course for a relatively nominal fee, I wonder what their motivation is.

These same people voted to spend $22 million to expand an East Naples park and build a 3,500-seat pickleball stadium. Naples is promoted as a golf capital, not a pickleball capital. I think we need to look at who is influencing the people to vote the way they do.

Also, we residents who play golf and those who don’t should look at this vote as a slap in the face, especially since The First Tee has offered to pick up some of the costs. I have worked the numbers, and the course would break even or make a profit if properly operated. I guess not all the swamp bureaucrats are in Washington.

Stand up, citizens, because once the property is gone, there will never be another chance to get a reasonable county-owned golf course. Remember what happened when you go to the ballot box next election.

Joe Arciere, East Naples

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