by Bill Boyle
Vouchers for private schools have dominated news in Utah for several months. Voters will have a chance to state their opinion on the matter on November 6. We have provided articles both in favor and opposed to vouchers on the preceding pages.
The program was approved by the state legislature and governor in the most recent legislative session, but was placed on the ballot for voter approval after a massive petition campaign. The program would provide state funds, up to $3,000 per child, that could be used for private school tuition.
While there are strong arguments on both sides of this emotional issue, I have decided that I will vote against the voucher plan.
Vouchers will not be feasible for parents in the San Juan School District. The closest private school that would be eligible for vouchers is Wasatch Academy, which is 250 miles from Monticello. And a $3,000 voucher will not begin to meet the annual tuition at Wasatch Academy.
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Don’t forget that you can take advantage of early voting at the San Juan County courthouse. As of the press deadline on October 29, 40 San Juan County voters had already cast their ballots for the November 6 general election.
I voted on October 25, partially in order to determine how complicated the ballots would be for the election. Several people have expressed concern about computer voting.
Despite the potentially confusing set of directions in the Voter Information pamphlet, voting in San Juan County will be relatively simple. Every voter will receive a pencil and a piece of paper, with clearly outlined sections for voting.
While computers will be available in a few precincts for those who request them, San Juan County Clerk Norman Johnson predicts that the vast majority of voters will simply use the paper ballot.
It may be a little more complicated in Monticello as only one name is on the ballot, that of incumbent city councilman Walter Bird. However, three additional candidates have registered to run as write-in candidates for the three open positions on the Monticello City Council. They are Jerry Ward, Scott Shakespeare and Scott Christensen.
Voters will need to physically write in the names if they want to vote for a write-in candidate. Don’t forget that you can take notes into the voting booth if you are concerned about the correct spelling of your favored candidate’s name.
The generally accepted standard is that if voters clearly signal their intended candidate or candidates, the vote should be counted. It is, after all, a vote for candidates, not a spelling test. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, a federal standard of which San Juan County is well aware, makes that clear.
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A growing number of our readers are taking advantage of an on-line subscription to read the San Juan Record. We are grateful for the alternative after we recently had to increase the subscription rates for out-of-county subscribers. A 40 percent increase in postage costs in July meant that we had to increase the subscription rate.
What made the increase painful is that postal costs have increased, even as the quality of postal service has decreased. Our local postal service continues to be top notch. We have a very good relationship with the hard-working postal employees in San Juan County.
However, the quality of the postal service decreases the farther you get from San Juan County. Something is breaking down along the way. New policies have resulted in a significant increase in the amount of time it takes for many out-of-county subscribers to get their newspaper. Long-time subscribers who for years have been getting the newspaper each Friday now have to wait a week or two.
For those who are far away, the on-line subscription is a great alternative to waiting for a newspaper in the mail. The full version of the newspaper can be downloaded first thing each Wednesday morning. It features full color photographs and is as close as the nearest access site to the internet. The one-year subscription rate is 50 cents a week, the same that it would cost at a newsstand in San Juan County.
If you are interested, give us a call at 435-587-2277, write to PO Box 879, Monticello, UT 84535 or email email@example.com.
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The City of Monticello will have big shoes to fill with the departure of Greg Martin as Assistant City Manager. Martin will become the new city manager at St. Johns, Arizona.