Letters 06/03/15

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Innocence lost

    This week a “little bit of innocence” was lost from Bedford.
    As the nice, quiet evening progressed something was taken from Bedford. Yes, it was only two Rocking Chairs that disappeared from the Welcome Center but it was a whole lot of trust and pride that was the largest loss.
    Not many people in the area know what a treasure the Welcome Center is. In addition to all the points of interest that people come to see, most of them stop at this building first for directions, information and advice. How many people know that by June 1 of most years we have had visitors from all 50 States. Last year we had over 60,639 visitors and over 804 visitors from 57 different countries.
    The picture we now present is one of distrust as our famed Rocking Chairs are now chained and pad-locked together. Think about the message that this is sending to our visitors. This is a small thing to most residents but for those of us who take pride in the Bedford area it is a loss that we can never reconcile.

Judi Jackson
Welcome Center Volunteer

Proven records

    You can’t have it both ways!
    John Messier, Andy Dooley and Kevin Willis are challenging the three Supervisors who have consistently opposed tax increases. They have criticized the incumbents for their unwillingness to raise taxes. All three said they would have voted for the tax increase in 2014.
     Messier said he would have voted for a school budget this year which would require a 6% tax increase to fund. Willis actually voted for the same budget. Andy Dooley has spoken at recent public hearings criticizing the current Board for not raising taxes. Pretty clear where they stand.
    But now, as they are finding out that most Bedford residents don’t feel under-taxed they are changing their tune. Their ads tout low tax rates. Messier said in recent forums that he isn’t for raising taxes. Dooley has called the report that he would raise taxes a “fairy tale.”
    One problem, their records. They have all made it quite clear they are willing to raise taxes, now they want us to stick our heads in the sand and believe they won’t do it? Sorry but we’re not that gullible. Annie Pollard and Tammy Parker have done exactly what they said they would, consistently opposed tax increases. Tommy Scott is running with Steve Arrington’s support in District 5 because he is truly committed to keeping taxes from rising.
     I’m voting candidates with a proven record on taxes: Tommy Scott, Annie Pollard and Tammy Parker. Not the guys who want it both ways.

Tiffaney Sink

Supports Willis

    For the past two and a half years, I have served on the Bedford County School Board alongside a man who is quintessentially Bedford, Mr. Kevin Willis. Throughout that time, I have been impressed by Kevin’s intelligence, virtue, and leadership. For these reasons, I gladly endorse his candidacy for the District 7 seat on the Board of Supervisors.
    With a Bachelor of Business Administration from JMU, Kevin is a “numbers guy”; he works with budgets every day in his career. This experience has been critical to helping the School Board navigate a challenging fiscal environment. I will miss his insights on the School Board, but I know his budgetary experience and fiscal responsibility will serve all of Bedford County well.
    Kevin is a man of character and a true friend to all who know him. He is a fighter for the causes he believes in, but always treats everyone in the debate with a kindness and respect that bespeaks his deep Christian faith. In my mind, he is the perfect example of a dedicated public servant.
    This time last year, we were engaged in a debate over school closures. Kevin fought to represent the wishes of his constituents in District 7 and actively opposed the proposal. While some sat silently, Kevin spoke out--not just for Thaxton Elementary and Bedford Primary, but also for Body Camp Elementary. That support meant a lot to us on the Southside of our county.
    When the Southside needed a friend, Kevin stood with us; today, I’m honored to stand with him in his candidacy for the Board of Supervisors.

Jason W. Johnson
District 2
Supports Scott

    On June 9 Republicans in Bedford County will nominate candidates for the Board of Supervisors. Those of us who vote in District 5, which includes Boonsboro, Big Island, Sedalia and Peaks of Otter/Northside, have a great choice in Tommy Scott.
    Tommy is running with full support from Steve Arrington, who currently serves District 5 on the BOS. Steve has been a fighter for low taxes, private property rights and a business friendly attitude in county government and is confident Tommy Scott will maintain those values. Tommy also enjoys the support of Delegate Kathy Byron, former Congressman Virgil Goode, Rev. Jerry Kroll, Businessman Roger Painter, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., Businessman Mike Mitchell, Robert Karnes from Northside Supply and many others.
    Tommy Scott has run a business in Bedford for forty years so he knows how to make payroll and balance a budget. He has chaired the building committee at his church and understands how to keep projects moving and on budget, a crucial skill for one seeking election to a Board that is obligated to build a new middle school. Tommy will see that government lives within its means and strives to get the greatest value from money spent. He understands that all government spending is funded by taxpayers and is committed to minimizing the burden they bear. He is the only candidate in District 5 who is committed to not raising taxes. Please join me in supporting Tommy Scott on June 9.

Roger T. Brandt


    There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the upcoming primary election on June 9.
    This primary election is a good thing. For the first time in many years the public has a say in selecting who will run for the Board of Supervisors in the November election. It is an open election. All registered voters in the precincts that have more than one candidate vying for the nomination are eligible to vote.
    The purpose of the primary election is to determine who in the following Bedford districts will run for the Supervisory positions in Districts 5, 6 and 7. The winner of the primary will run as a GOP candidate. However, Virginia does not have party registration, so if you are registered to vote in any of these 3 districts, you can vote. You can be a Republican, Democrat or Independent. You do not need to declare a party in order to be able to cast a ballot.
    Candidates running are: District 5, John Messier and Tommy Scott.  District 6, Annie Pollard and Andrew (Andy) Dooley. District 7, Tamara Parker and Kevin Willis.
    Citizens of the town of Bedford are also eligible to vote in this primary. If you live in town, you will be in either District 6 or 7.
    Still confused? Contact the Bedford County Registrar’s office and see where your voting site will be. And exercise your right to choose the best candidate for the Board of Supervisor’s race in November.

Becky Wuergler

Running for public office

    This letter is not intended to disparage anyone running for public office.   
    Indeed, it is with a healthy respect for those who are willing to serve the   public that I write this letter acknowledging the exceptional service of   incumbent office holders and ask that these key people be allowed to continue   serving.
    County Board Chairwoman Tammy Parker has done an exceptional job maintaining  an efficiently run budgeting process, leading the County Board of Supervisors  during tough fiscal decisions, and helping acquire needed funding for  education, while keeping taxes un-raised during her tenure.   Chairwoman  Parker has accomplished this while dealing with the typically contentious  local budgeting activities involving disparate parties with myriad agendas.
    The Board has been successful in not raising taxes while satisfying the many  budget demands due to the untiring efforts of both Chairwoman Parker and  Supervisor Annie Pollard.
    In recognition of their successes and to extend the opportunity for more  success into the future, I would ask that my fellow conservative Republicans  support incumbents Parker and Pollard, as well as candidate Tommy Scott with  your votes on June 9 in the Republican Primary.
    With their record of conservative successes during their tenure, and the  support they enjoy from common sense conservative Republicans, it makes me  wonder why School Board member Kevin Willis and the rest of the Bedford First  ticket mates Andy Dooley and John Messier would be running against the  incumbents?

Richard Bansley

Supports Pollard

    Annie Pollard is being criticized for refusing to raise taxes and local spending.
    In fact, after she, Steve Arrington and Tammy Parker voted against the tax increase last year a coordinated campaign was begun to remove all three from the Board of Supervisors. Do the supporters of this group of challengers really think we should have had a Board last year that would have voted 7-0 for a tax increase?
    Annie’s opponent, along with the challengers for Arrington and Parker’s positions have all stated they would have voted for the tax increase. I thank Annie Pollard for standing for taxpayers.
    The last thing we need in Bedford are more tax and spend policies. Why do we need a Board of Supervisors that will raise our taxes at the drop of a hat? Annie’s opponent not only said he would have voted for the tax increase last year, he also spoke in favor of higher taxes at a public hearing in 2013.    Does anyone else detect a pattern here? If you don’t think we are under-taxed please join me in voting for Annie Pollard on June 9

Donald Lynch


    The winners of the Republican Primary on June 9 will be our county supervisors since they face no opponents in the general election in November.

    The primary duty of an elected supervisor is to keep taxes as low as possible [to promote individual and business prosperity] and to prioritize spending of taxpayer money after determining vital public necessities. The present supervisors of districts 6 and 7 have passed this test, proven by experience.
    The Board of Supervisors does not need to be changed, they have protected the taxpayer’s interest. Pollard and Parker have done an excellent service for the county and Tom Scott [district 5] promises the same philosophy of smaller government, low taxes, and private property rights.
    The number of administrators fired or quitting their jobs is irrelevant to this election, firing an inept official is good leadership. The schools and police are presently adequately funded. Taxes have not been raised. Raising taxes “as a last resort” is not the correct answer since it is the candidate who determines the last resort. The important factor is keeping a Board that promotes conservative principles.

Boyd Hubbard

Government and business

    Your guest commentary of May 27, 2015 titled “What could the government be doing better” recounting Congressman Hurt’s recent visit with district 5 agriculture and small business owners provides insight into our political business landscape.  The list of grievances presented shows government is doing much that is harmful to agriculture and small business.  While I am sympathetic to that view, I would like to see agriculture and business take the high ground in this battle against our overreaching government by first refusing to accept other peoples’  money from government.
    One area in which the writer says government is not helping enough is immigration.
    Government is making it too difficult for agriculture to hire foreign nationals. The justification for not hiring local is given by this quote: “It is impossible to hire local labor at any price to do the job.”  Impossible? At any price? Really? Nonsense.
    “At any price” implies a willingness to pay whatever the free market rate is for qualified  labor.  I have seen no evidence of that willingness in this paper’s Help Wanted section.  Maybe it is just easier to ask an overreaching  government to overreach again and provide labor at below local market cost.
    Let’s apply this logic to a business cost other than labor.  Congressman, please have government flood the American dairy market with replacement heifers from Canada at below U.S. market cost.
     This will leave some American farmers unemployed but hey, other farmers will get plenty of cheap cows improving their bottom line.  And after all if it is OK for government to manipulate the labor market why not also manipulate the replacement heifer market. Does this example sound economically immoral? Absolutely.  
    The issues raised deserve an honest public discussion that includes our citizen work force.  They too are often harmed by government actions.  As of now it appears to be a closed conversation between our Congressman and agriculture and business owners.

Don Stanley

Supports Scott

    Tommy Scott is the right choice for Supervisor in the Republican primary on June 9. Tommy is a lifelong resident of Bedford County, has run a  business, Scott’s Cabinets, here for 40 years, is a charter member of  Heritage Baptist Church where he has served as Deacon and Chairman of the  building committee.
    Tommy knows how to make tough choices in a difficult  economy. Tommy Scott realizes that our citizens are not under taxed and will  not increase the tax burden on working families. Tommy is the only candidate  for the Republican nomination in District 5 who is committed to keeping taxes  low.
    Tommy’s firm conservative principles, solid business experience and  Christian character help to explain the support he has received from Delegate  Kathy Byron, former Congressman Virgil Goode, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.,  Rev. Jerry Kroll and Supervisor Steve Arrington, to mention only a few. If  you support limited government and low taxes please vote for Tommy Scott on  June 9, 2015.

Craig Newman

Supports Pollard

    Annie Pollard deserves our support as she runs for reelection to the Board of Supervisors. Annie is a lifelong resident of our county and a farmer who understands the challenges faced by the farm community; and that agriculture is still the largest industry in our county. Annie knows what it is like to be a senior citizen on a fixed income.
    She has watched many changes take place in our county and welcomes new growth while still keeping touch with the heritage of the county. Annie has authored a book on black history in Bedford and the important contribution of black residents to Bedford’s development and growth.
    She is one of a very few BOS members to maintain a positive and productive working relationship with the School Board member representing her district, which is attested to by the fact that both School Board members with whom she has served are supporting Annie’s campaign.
    Annie Pollard has never voted for a tax increase as she understands that many working families and seniors are pressed hard enough already and she will not add to their burden. Annie responds with care and consideration to concerns and requests for help from her constituents and understands and loves her district.
    Please support Annie Pollard in the primary election on June 9. Annie must win in June if she is to be on the ballot in the fall. Vote for dedicated, personal representation on June 9. Re-elect Annie Pollard.

Brent Dicke
Blue Ridge

God bless our vets

    I read with interest the letter to the editor from Mr. Edwards of Montvale in last week’s edition of the Bulletin about the theft of Ms. Parker’s campaign signs by Mr. Coffey, a Vietnam Vet.
    Yep, that was wrong and I’m sure he knows it was. I am also hearing that this Vet has had reoccurring health issues, brought on by his service to our country in that conflict.
    Like a lot of vets from that era he was probably looked on with distain by certain segments of our society, I don’t pretend to know, just recalling back to that time and remembering what these Vets went through. Still, it was wrong to take her signs no matter what this person thinks that Ms. Parker has done, or not done, for her District.
     This being said, maybe a little compassion on Ms. Parker’s part, like just asking for him to return the signs or paying for them, would be the generous and Christian ‘like’ thing to do.  ...You know there is what is right and there is the right thing to do when you know all the facts involved in any matter.
    I hope we’ll all have good thoughts for Mr. Coffey and not judge him too harshly.
    God bless our vets!

Randall Burks

Vote June 9

    I know some of you, and recognized a lot of your faces that I’m ashamed to admit at this stage in my life I can’t put together. My family has been in this community as long as it has been here. My grandfather (John “Dobby” Witt) got this community together and built the low water bridge over North Otter sometime in the late ‘20s or early ‘30s that’s something that benefited this community, you didn’t have to ford three rivers to get to town, just. two. I like many of you I went to the so called planning commissions meeting the other night and can’t remember a time when I felt so insulted or for lack of better words pissed off!.
    Tommy Scott started off talking about constitutional rights as if no one else in the room had ever heard about the constitution. Mr. Tillet chimed in then and further berated us on the constitution, and went a step farther saying that the land owners could have built a sawmill or feed lot on this property and they would not have had to even bring it before this committee.
    To quote my 9 year old granddaughter Duuu: ‘That’s not what we are here about.” To make a story short that’s getting way to long. If you care about this community get your hind parts out and vote, June 9 and please don’t be influenced by what I have written here. Learn the facts. But for the sake of all that’s holy to you don’t blindly be influenced by Steve Arrington or anyone else that claims they know what’s better for you than you do.

Tom Witt

A tale of two candidates

    There were two candidates running for the Republican nomination for county supervisor. One was the incumbent supervisor, one was a member of the school board.
    The incumbent supervisor consistently led in board meetings on the large issues. She was not afraid to debate hot topics. She constantly displayed leadership while resolving tough issues both in the board room, committee meetings and other public venues.
    The school board member ran for that position pledging to make a change through leadership and that he would fight hard for his constituency. But when the school board was going to close schools, he just voted “no”. No serious debate; no attempt to reason with his fellow school board members; no attempt to find alternative ways to save the schools; no real leadership.
    So I ask you, do you want the candidate who drives the team of horses or do you want one who just rides the wagon? Tammy Parker or Kevin Willis? For me, it’s an easy choice.

Jim Williams
Standing with Parker

    During the campaign for the Republican nomination for the Board of Supervisors I’ve been interested by Beck Stanley’s involvement.
    Beck has supported removing Steve Arrington, Annie Pollard and Tammy Parker from the Board. He wrote a letter to the editor on behalf of Messier, Dooley and Willis and I understand he
has worked behind the scenes for them as well.
    He apparently feels that the Board should increase taxes and spend more on several functions of government. He is at least consistent! During his very brief tenure on Town Council he has voted to raise taxes and utility rates.
    Stanley is also consistent in calling for the removal of conservative representatives, having similarly treated Del. Lacey Putney. Quoting Stanley:
    “While 50 years of service seems like a remarkable accomplishment, in recent years, Putney has done for Virginia what Obama has done for America-nothing.”
    He further said increasing education funding is “something Putney has failed to achieve in 50 years and especially ignored the last decade.” Does Mr. Stanley have any idea how much state funding Del. Putney secured for Bedford or how many people he helped over his career? Stanley’s actions on Council, combined with his statements don’t give me any confidence in the candidates he supports now.
    Lacey Putney is strongly supporting Tammy Parker, Beck Stanley is insistent for Kevin Willis. Based on the records of the candidates and these key supporters I’ll stand with Mr. Putney and Tammy Parker!

Ricky Wilkerson

Re-elect Parker

    I support Tammy Parker’s re-election bid for membership on the Board of Supervisors. Under her leadership, Chairwoman Parker oversaw the adoption of a prudent, conservative county budget that did not include a tax increase but that did allocate an additional $735,000 in surplus revenues for the Bedford school system.
    Unfortunately Super-visor Parker’s opponent, Kevin Willis, and his Bedford First running mates continue to give the false perception that all is not well in Bedford - specifically the relationship between the Supervisors, School Board and Super-intendent.
    This relationship is an inherently complicated and adversarial one because county boards set tax rates and allocate an approved amount to the school boards; county boards, however, cannot dictate how the school funds are spent. Spending that money is the sole responsibility of the school leaders, who have no taxing authority.
    The Bedford First ticket will continue to make the case for change by portraying the relationship between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board in the worst possible light; however, Superintendent Dr. Schuch’s recent public comments portray a more accurate sense of reality when he said “It’s the best budget that I’ve been associated with anywhere, and certainly here in my six years.”
    Positive developments such as this one, spearheaded by Supervisor Parker’s leadership, should encourage Bedford residents. County government and education leaders can work together to achieve
positive outcomes. Reject the nay-saying negativity and re-elect an experienced leader Chairwoman Tammy Parker on June 9.

M. C. Davis Jr.

Supports Pollard

    Supervisor Annie Pollard has an impressive list of supporters. Just a few of them include former Congressman Virgil Goode, former Del. Lacey Putney, Vicki Elmore, chief of the Montvale Rescue Squad, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., Commissioner of Revenue Faye Eubank, Treasurer Rebecca Jones and School Board representative Kelly Harmony. This list collectively represents many, many years of service to our community and speaks to Annie Pollard’s integrity, honor  and love for the people
of Bedford County.
    Annie has stood with the taxpayers of the county, resisting any attempt to further burden hard working families in a difficult economy. She has worked to remove regulatory burdens government places on businesses and property owners. Annie has been a supporter of our local community schools and has always maintained a good and respectful relationship with the School Board representative in her district. I know this because I was that representative for many years and Annie and I both worked to help my successor, Kelly Harmony be elected four years ago. Annie and Kelly have worked closely together since that time. If you live in District 6 please vote for Annie Pollard on June 9. I believe you’ll be glad you did!

Shirley B. McCabe

Problem with Bedford First

    Bedford residents need to understand in the upcoming June 9 Republican primary that, unlike our most recent Town Council races, each voter will be voting for one candidate - and one candidate only.
    I mention this important fact because I’ve had serious problems with the group of candidates running as Bedford First. Why are they running collectively? Why are they not running on their own?
    It’s hard to know what their priorities are because so much of what Bedford First campaigns on doesn’t address their own priorities but rather focuses on criticizing incumbent Supervisors Parker and Pollard and outgoing Supervisor Arrington.
    What little we have learned about candidates Dooley, Messier and Willis indicates an evolving position on taxation. Depending upon the nature of the event and the crowd, they appear strongly in favor of raising taxes or at least doing so reluctantly. Their comments on this issue have been published in the Bedford and the Lynchburg papers, and I encourage voters to research Bedford First’s comments.
    Finally, as a female voter, it bears mentioning that if the entire Bedford First ticket proves victorious, Bedford will have no female elected officials. That’s right, Bedford could have 14 men and zero women in elected office at the local government level - hardly a welcomed distinction for a county and town of approximately 76,000 residents.
    I hope our citizens will continue to ask questions and educate themselves about the Bedford First ticket.

Janet Seay
Conservative or not

    I give credit to anyone willing to put his or her name on the ballot and have never discouraged a prospective candidate from running for public office.
    While School Board member Kevin Willis is certainly entitled to challenge County Board Chairwoman Tammy Parker, I believe his doing so is unnecessary. His candidacy - and that of his Bedford First ticket mates (Andy Dooley and John Messier) - is an “all things to all people” platitude in search of a nonexistent problem.
    Our county is well run. Unlike the federal government, our County Board of Supervisors annually adopts a balanced budget. And while the state budget adoption process has required extended sessions in recent years, that has not been the case here in Bedford.
    We have had contentious and difficult budget adoption processes, but our Supervisors have always made tough calls and met its financial obligations in funding essential core services including additional funding for the school system this year on top of the extra $6.2 million from the state.
    Many common sense conservatives support incumbents Parker and Pollard and candidate Tommy Scott. I hope all like minded citizens will do the same and vote Parker, Pollard and Scott on June 9 in the Republican primary.

Tony Claytor

Protecting the taxpayers

    Many people in Bedford County are thinking about the upcoming Republican Primary to be held June 9.  Three challengers are running for Board of Supervisors to  “improve” our County. Supervisors do many things, but what impacts us Citizens the most directly is the Tax Rate.
    The single largest line item on the County Budget is funding the Bedford County Schools. What the School Administration does with those dollars (teacher raises vs new school vehicles, for example) cannot be changed by any supervisor. Performance accountability on School Administration’s performance can only come from school board members.
    If citizens are planning to vote for a new supervisor candidate in order to “improve relationships” or “improve communication” with the School Board, I say, better think again!
    Since Dr. Blevins retired 9 years ago, test scores have declined an alarming amount. Enrollment has gone down.  The decision was made to close two of our wonderful schools. Central Office staff is larger in numbers. What is going on? Where is there any accountability to Dr. Schuch? Why didn’t more school board members stop this?
    For those newly engaged in the upcoming Republican election, do you remember that a highly respected School Board Member, Talbot Huff, resigned during the School Board meeting that chose the new Superintendent? Do you remember that the Roanoke Times threatened to sue Bedford County Schools because of the lack of transparency of the Superintendent’s hiring? Who was “leading” the School Board during this controversy? The very same Chairman of the Board who led the closing of Body Camp and Thaxton Elementary schools- Gary Hostutler.
    Gary Hostutler has been the Chairman of the School Board all but 2 years since Dr. Blevins retired. Lower test scores, higher Central Office hires, more good teachers choosing to retire, does not sound good. Mr. Hostutler announced that when the current Supervisors provided money to the School Board, that all employees would get the raise. Why? Why didn’t the dollars just go to those who work with our children? Why provide raises to the management who are running a failed policy?
    In sports, if a team has not made improvement (or the playoffs) in 9 years, ownership usually fires the coach and staff and starts anew. It is past time for Bedford County School Board members to demand better performance—or change the problem.
    Our governance of checks and balances help prevent perpetuating problems. We want our Supervisors to make decisions that help protect us taxpayers. That is a good thing!

Laura Rodes

Supports Pollard

    We Americans are blessed to live in a country unique for its foundations of individual rights and freedom. These do not come freely. They have been bought by the work, sacrifice and blood of patriots.
    The price we are asked to pay is to exercise our responsibility to vote. June 9 the Republican primary will be held.
    As a responsible voter, I have attended many meetings, forums and gatherings top help me decide who will get my vote for 6th district supervisor.
    Ms. Annie Pollard’s seven years on the board demonstrate she has a depth of knowledge of procedure, precedence and history that allows her to cast her vote based on these elements and not on emotion. She has advocated smaller more reasonable government with  control of spiraling taxes while supporting measures to increase the business base. She is 100 percent in support of teachers, but does address wasteful practices in the administration of education. Money needs to go to the workers who produce the product, classroom teachers, not the clipboard carrying, pencil pushing bureaucrats who justify their existence by meetings that produce more hoops for product procedures to leap through.
    My belief is that Annie Pollard will work to retain what is  most desirable about life in Bedford. She has my vote.

Carol Major
The heart
of our

    For many generations Thaxton School has been the heart of our community. It has been the reason many parents have moved here because of the high academic learning level that it has maintained over the years. 
    With this alone we should keep this school open.
     I feel since the school board is allowing Forest to raise money for a turf to play on which is a half a million dollars, Thaxton should be allowed to raise the money for a boiler system.
    Where did the money go to over the years for this school to be maintained. I feel the residents of Thaxton should pay no more if our school is closed. And where is the Lotto money going? We may be small but we deserve to keep the one thing here that makes us a community. This school is our Heart and Soul, our kid’s backbone to their future. They get the extra teaching here needed while feeling safe. Because it is a small school everyone knows each other.
    Students have a nice gym here with a community center across the road and a Baptist Church and the YMCA for after school programs. How can anyone be so heartless to do this to these kids?
     Splitting them up from their teachers and their friends  and having them shoved into strange crowded rooms will have learning levels dropping, plus risk at violating fire code.
    The board is trying to get rid of this school too fast. Schuch is trying to close down all our little schools which is putting an end to all our surrounding communities. These board members do not live here; they live in Forest, Goodview, Lynchburg and Evington. They don’t know the benefits of a small school and won’t even listen.

Wendy Blankenship