Letter to the Editor:

Staff reports

To the voters of the Westmer and Aledo school districts:

I am very much in favor of the consolidation of the two school districts. I have attended a number of meetings of the school boards and committee of ten and I am convinced that this consolidation would provide the best educational opportunities for the children of the two school districts, both present and future students.

In the end I believe that is our responsibility as voters on this issue to make sure the children have the very best education that we can give them. In today's world and probably even more so in the future, being well educated and trained is very important. Being involved in economic development both locally and regionally, it is my opinion that a strong education system is very important in recruiting new businesses (jobs), but also in retaining existing businesses. I also worked part time for 12 plus years as a real-estate agent and during that time saw cases of people making decisions on where they would possibly live or not live based on the educational opportunities for their children.

So while the main point is providing the best education and training possible for our students there are other aspects of this decision to consider also. The one other thing I would ask is to consider this not only for the present, but think about it in terms of 5, 10 or maybe even 20 years.

Please vote yes for the consolidation.


Wallace Green

New Boston

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to all the candidates for offering to run for office this election year, but where are the Democrat women? On page A16, Times Record Oct. 22, 2008, the Democrats running for election on Nov. 4 were printed. There were seventeen candidates with pictures, including Mercer County offices. Two of the seventeen are women, 11.7 percent of all democrat candidates. So where are the women? Sarah Palin stepped up in Alaska - first the school board, then a town mayor, then an energy board regulator, and then the governor. Are there no qualified Democrat women in Mercer County or in Illinois? Or does the Mercer County Democrat Party not support women candidates, as some Hilary Clinton supporters have charged of the National Democrat Party? I do not know the answer. But the question remains, where are the Democrat women?


Douglas W. Rettig


Concerned School Consolidation Parent:

I have two children currently enrolled in Westmer Schools. My daughter is a senior and is looking forward to college next year. She has taken all classes possible in an effort to prepare her for undergraduate studies. This year she enrolled for Chemistry II, but was moved after school began to a child development class because there wasn't anyone available to teach Chemistry II. I am very concerned that the quality of education my children are currently receiving is not going to enable a smooth transition to college. I have already placed her in the distance learning English class offered by Blackhawk College in Aledo and am so very disappointed that she had to take the alternative class. If declining enrollment is just going to make class offerings smaller and smaller, what are the options for the college bound students? If combining districts is the answer, why wouldn't we as responsible parents insist on the consolidation? I want the best possible education for my children and am certainly going to vote for it. My junior high school son hasn't even started any of these classes yet, so I wonder how many of them will not be available if we don't consolidate?

Trina Lybarger Moore


To the Editor:

Using two new words from recent Sunday paper's magazines - let's not schemozzle the Aledo-Westmer consolidation vote. Rootle if you need to and vote because you can!

What a yes vote means:

1. I care about the future of a school district in Mercer County.

2. I want to help provide our students with the best education we can give. 3. I want to have a say in the process. The committee of ten and both school boards have researched and planned this to the best of their abilities and knowledge. Their work is to be commended. 4. I want to utilize the buildup we have as long as they are needed. The original report was for million dollar additions to grade schools and closing Joy. Add-ons and declining enrollment were NOT seen as financially responsible. West Central learned the hard way about closing a building and the impossible job to bring it back up to current codes. 5. Our communities need our schools and our schools need our communities for both to be at their best. Each one helps to build and support the other. 6. I believe this is our ONE and ONLY chance to do this. Now is the time! The research is complete no need to delay and spend the time and money again. It won't be available like this again. We have a say in the process, this is our best option to keep a school district in Mercer County. 7. I'm voting YES because I CARE!

What a no vote means:

1. I don't care about the future of our schools and communities. 2. I'm willing to pay even higher taxes sooner to support a single school district. Alwood is now proposing an .80 cent tax increase because they are not consolidating. Where will Alwood be and what will they do without consolidation, declining enrollment, declining state money and a good chance .80 cents doesn't pass? We don't want to find that out for ourselves! 3. I don't care how far student will go for their education or who /how/when we later join another district (with no choices or voice). 4. I don't care what cuts will be made in classes offered and extra curricular activities until #3 takes place.

This is a chance for us to say YES WE CARE and believe this is the best possible solution. Is it perfect? No. Do we live in a perfect world with perfect relationships and perfect children? No. Now we have a chance and a choice to make the best of it. We already participate in musicals and sports; let us also be together in the classroom. The acronym TEAM stands for 'together each achieves more.' Consolidation is how we Can do this, vote yes and join together - achieve more for our students, teachers, schools and communities.

Cara Ausmus


To the Editor:

The upcoming vote on school consolidation has brought up many questions these past two weeks. Please make an informed decision before you cast your vote.

We need to focus on a first class education for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

College bound students need more background and the students that are not college bound need more vocational skills. An improved curriculum could provide both of these aspects.

These issues have been addressed by both school boards and the committee often.

The committee of ten has spent endless hours going over all aspects of consolidating, line item by item budgeting, busing schedules, and many other recommendations. This has all been done with no compensation for their commitment. Everyone who served in this group is locally educated. 

The candidates running for the new board have all been involved and have spent many hours studying and working on this project.

The tax rate has been explained in the public meetings held at various sites. If you still have questions, please contact the present board members of your district or any of the committee of ten.

A new board should have representation from both districts. I ask you to think of the young people in these two districts and their future education. If one or both of these districts has to deactivate its high school, where then will these students get their needs met?

I am a lifelong Mercer County taxpaying resident.

Audrey Bryant


To the Editor:

Consolidation of the Westmer and Aledo school districts deserve a yes vote.  If you look at the long-range view the districts should combine. The result will be good for the children. The new district will be stronger than the old districts.

The consolidation will make our communities and Mercer County stronger. People will see that we value our schools and our future.

All of the candidates for the new district seem to have said they agree with the committee of ten recommendations. I suggest people study the candidates and choose people who have demonstrated good moral character. You may recall some of the news stories in late 2005 and early 2006. Our students deserve people who they can look up to.

Our vote is important.

Vote yes for the consolidation and vote for strong moral candidates.

Ken Rakers