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Letter to the editor
Misplaced priorities for school system
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Forsyth County News
It is astonishing that the Forsyth school board has approved $660,472 to purchase licenses for the newest version of Microsoft Office! While I agree that OpenOffice is an inferior system, has the board forgotten that they already have licenses for Office 2003 and they were in use two years ago? 

Being a bit of a techno-nerd, I appreciate that there are features of the new Office that are interesting and nice, but are these worth not only the money for the licenses, but three months of labor in installation, training, and the inevitable troubleshooting that comes with any new system integration? 

My guess is the total project will exceed $1 million of tax payers hard earned money — of course, this final figure isn’t publicized since it would be even more shocking. Simply revert to the Office 2003 programs — everyone likely remembers how to use it and it would cost basically nothing!

Where has the sense of priority gone? Has the board forgotten that we are at a crossroads in the education of our children? Do we sacrifice more teachers (whether through reductions or furloughs), more paraprofessionals, and enrichment programs to pay for this useless decision? 

We do not provide adequate science labs in elementary or middle schools, provide enough books to take home for families that do not have access to the internet, or even provide enough custodial services to keep the classrooms clean. Did you know that teachers have to cover the gap in cleaning with their own hours and cleaning supplies since there is not enough of it to go around? 

It’s time to apply some simple concepts of value to the financial decision making. What’s better, million dollar Office programs, or decisions that drive success measured in the most basic terms — the development and success of or children?

Derrell James