Letter to the Editor: Seniors need to support schools


I arrived at senior citizen status this year, and that journey was swift! I will join the ranks of the retired in the foreseeable future, which puts me among the high percentage of seniors that District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey references in her Shenandoah County statistics who can’t afford to support our schools.

I heard a senior, who is a supporter of the Bailey/Supervisor Marsha Shruntz movement, speak at a pre-election informational meeting.The message I heard was not one of poverty, but of choice in how she wanted her money spent. She stated that the people of Shenandoah County think that because she retired here from outside the county, she has money. That was an erroneous assumption, she continued, because she gave all of her money to the county she came from. She moved here, she said, because she was tired of paying taxes. This was followed by comments against the schools.

The surprising thing was, a room full of Shenandoah County residents, including Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Shruntz who should have a loyalty to Shenandoah County, clapped in approval at this remark. Maybe I was in a minority in that room, but my perception of that mindset is that it is akin to parishioners not wanting to pay for a new church roof because it is not raining on their pew.

Is this the attitude we want to continue to attract in our community? We have dismantled our birthing center, but built up other facets of our hospital, shortchanged our schools, and enhanced our fire, rescue, and police departments. Clearly Shenandoah County is transitioning to a retirement community, and, intentionally or not, we all enabled this with our recent votes.

I am a baby boomer, the largest group of retirees yet in our nation, and I don’t want to live in a retirement community. I love seniors. I always have. They contributed immensely to who I am. As I join their ranks, I love them every bit as much. We have a lot to offer to our young people who are our future.

I hope that incoming seniors will support us as their present community, not use this as a place to stop giving. I also love the families in our community. They have much to offer to my quality of life, now and in the years to come. I am a senior who can’t afford not to support the schools in Shenandoah County, and I am not alone in this belief. We haven’t been vocal in our support of education, and it is time we start.

Gayle Shaffer, founder, Senior Alliance for Strong Schools