Maintaining Schools Takes Work, Money

Readers write

January 15, 1991

From: Dorothy J. Day

Pasadena

I give (letter writer, Anne Arundel County Sun, Jan. 6, 1991) Lewis F. Holmes kudos for exemplary dedication to the youth of his community. For the obliquities of his diatribe against every employee and elected representative of our county government, Mr. Holmes gets my heartfelt raspberry . . . and his letter cries out for rebuttal.

I am chief custodian of a modern, multimillion dollar county school. Mypay is $12.40 per hour -- Grade 6 -- the highest rate of pay for custodial workers in Anne Arundel County schools. I qualified for my jobby completing a two-year course of study at Dundalk Community College, by passing the test for becoming a Maryland Licensed Engineer, andby regularly passing muster for the renewal of my license. After single-handedly performing all the custodial services for the students and faculty of my school, I go home at the end of my eight-hour shift and direct the custodial activities of the four night-shift custodians -- from my home -- at no cost to the county.

Mr. Holmes confidently asserts that he "knows" things, but his recommendations reveal only his prattling of a modern politician's line intended to obfuscate issues and con "we the people" into shouldering the blame that is hisown.

Only by arrogantly designating himself "The Average A.A. County Taxpayer" can Mr. Holmes dare risk the ridicule that his letter invites. Contrary to Mr. Holmes' claim, he is only one of the hundredsof thousands of citizens who have billions of tax dollars and their hopes for the futures of their children invested in our county's (120or so) schools.

Schools do wear out with use. The sooner they wear out, the sooner "we the people" must provide another outlay of millions of dollars to build a new school. Thus there is no avenue by which a user of county schools may avoid paying the cost of using the school, except by shifting the burden off self and placing it on the shoulders of the other "we the people."

Hang out the latchkey? Equivalent to sending airline pilots home, and posting a sign on the boarding ramp that reads "Fly the Friendly Skies . . . Yourself."

Volunteers clean a school? Mr. Holmes is resorting to jingoistic chauvinism by which he confesses that he has zero concern for the health and safety of faculty and students using a non-sterile, inexpertly regulated and cleaned facility. He should survey our principals to learn howmany administrators are licensed by Maryland to safely operate the systems of a modern school building.

Achieve higher student test scores by turning county schools over to the community (regional boards) in which they are located? Implementation of the SQ3R method and one-on-one tutoring by parents daily is the only way to maximize a student's ability to absorb and retain knowledge. Higher test scores follow naturally.

Fie, Mr. Holmes! Hie thine hideously misinformed self off to the ashes and scrape your boils with potsherds until you become sufficiently contrite to apologize for your crass obliquities, and publish the facts.

Consider the counsel of President Abraham Lincoln: "I would rather have a man suspect that I am a fool than open my mouth and prove him correct."

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