Ellen Feifarek's voice shook last night as she asked the Baltimore County Council to keep intact the education portion of the $1.136 billion budget for fiscal 1991 proposed by County Executive Roger B. Hayden.
"My younger son, Scott, has a disability called autism . . . which requires special teaching techniques," Feifarek said at a public hearing at Loch Raven High School. Her son attends White Oak School near Parkville.
"If adequate funds are provided to properly educate my son, he can continue to live at home with me and my family," she said. "If the county school system is inadequately funded . . . the alternatives would be far more expensive to Baltimore County taxpayers."
Roughly 1,000 people attended the hearing to voice their opinions on Hayden's proposed spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Many urged council members to fully fund the proposed $25.4 million increase for education.
"There is one thing that all children need . . . and that's individual attention," said Constance Vidor, who described herself as a parent and taxpayer.
"We need to hold the line on class size . . . this is absolutely vital. Please, fully fund the education budget," Vidor said.
Elizabeth Crosby, a 13-year county resident, said that continued excellence in the school system would protect her children's future.
"Show that we are looking to the future by providing the best education for our children," Crosby said.
Hayden's proposed increases in sewer service charges and parking fines brought many unhappy speakers to the podium last night.
Senior citizens were especially concerned with their ability to come up with any extra money.
"We're concerned about being able to live out our lives in our homes, and that is not asking too much," said Virginia Tolbert.
Several speakers noted that council members would be re-elected only if their constituents were satisfied with their performance in office.
"We got nothing from the County Council last year and that's why there are five new faces looking out at us now," said David Boyd, president of Property Taxpayers United.
"I know your task is exceedingly difficult, but also know the voices are loud," said William J. Pribyl. "We need property tax relief now."
"The property taxpayer has been bled dry," said Isadore Moskowitz. "There is no more money."