From: Christopher Emery
I am a lifelong resident of Howard County who is thoroughly disgusted with the attitudes and actions of Jim Swab and the Howard CountyTeachers Association.
I commend (County Executive Charles I.) Ecker on the job he has done. He has performed admirably, considering what he inherited. The previous county executive had a "Spend it now, let someone else pay for it" mentality. Well, the time to tighten the belt is here. Everyone should work together. The selfish attitude exhibited by the members of the teachers association is deplorable and an embarrassment to our county.
Dr. Ecker's proposed education cut would result in only a 2.2 percent lower budget than last year. A 2.2percent cut hardly warrants HCEA's new advertising campaign: "Kids at Risk."
How can they threaten us with classroom overcrowding and textbook shortages? Perhaps HCEA should spend its money more wisely. Deborah Kendig, Shane Pendergrass and Vernon Gray: Let's get real.
The school budget, like everything else, has to take its share of cuts. I would resent having to pay additional taxes in order for teachers to get their luxurious 6 percent pay raise.
County services shouldn't be cut in order to facilitate their raise, either. I urge the citizens of this county to take note of these budget proceedings. Andwhen it comes time to vote for council and school board candidates, remember the aforementioned and how they conducted themselves.
3 FRIENDS OF THE SCHOOLS
From: Karen Russo
Howard County Education Association
C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, Paul Farragut, D-4th, and Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, (the education council member) are truly friends of Howard County education and educators. Having worked with you, having observed voting records and having witnessed therestoration of $3.1 million to the education budget -- all this indicates to me that you are friends, not foes, of the Howard County public school system.
Given the fiscal emergency, the recession and overall hard times that face this county's citizens, you have gone above and beyond the call of duty to restore money to the education budget.
This money will guarantee students the opportunity to enroll inspecial as well as advanced courses and programs, provide valuable resource teachers, reinstate middle school gifted and talented teachers, and provide vitally important instructional materials for the two new schools scheduled to open in September.
It is ludicrous for anyone to suggest that you council members are not supportive of education. If that were the case, why restore any money at all? I would like to see an every-HCEA-member survey taken to see what the attitudes of Howard County educators really are regarding the budget issue.
However, no such survey was ever in place during the last four monthsto get this information, so I suppose that will be the case once again. It would have been interesting and especially helpful to solicit information from all educators, instead of a few in terms of membership, regarding their views on:
* receiving raises vs. teachers losing jobs;
* taking a good faith measure and recommending to the Board of Education that we renegotiate the contract, taking a more flexible position and perhaps negotiating with the county executive for some type of compensation for educators as opposed to none (not even anincrement).
The true friends of Howard County are you, C. Vernon Gray, Paul Farragut and Shane Pendergrass. For anyone to espouse the contrary has his facts distorted.