Legislators are wondering if any amount of money will be enough to save some of the students they've been hearing from during this month's budget crisis.
Politicians have been inundated with -- and shocked by -- hundreds of grammatically incorrect, profane letters from Anne Arundel students protesting proposed cuts to the education budget.
"Some of them have been nothing but four-letter words and downright nasty," said Delegate Michael Busch, D-Annapolis. "Most of them are misspelled."
A sampling of the 500 to 750 letters sitting in a box in Busch's office:
"Dear Mr. Michael Busch:
I'm not going togive you a bunch of bull---- so I'm going to get rate (sic) to the point. . . . The senior class is the future and we can change the future, like not having a Delegate Busch in office next year. So vote smart or I'm sure you will be disappointed."
The letter is signed: "Avery p----- off student."
From another student:
"Alright, what's the problem? Why cut our funds for schooling? . . . Get in the ring, m----- f-----! And I'll kick your bitchy little ass! Punk!
Thisone's signed: "Sincerely, P.O. Student."
An Annapolis student said he was writing about the "commie proposal" to cut education spending:
"Cut your own stupid budgets. . . . I am counting on these programs to get me into colleage (sic). . . . Do you think you have the right to shoot down our education and talk about how stupid Maryland'sstudents are!
"Hypercrite! (sic) You disgust me, all of you. Passthis proposal and I may end up as Illiterate as the Governor."
Lawmakers are receiving some letters that show an understanding of the events leading up to the budget crisis, Busch said.
"But for the most part the kids said the same thing," he said. "I would say of 700 letters, 80 percent said, 'Don't cut after-school activities,' meaning sports. That's typical of what other legislators got."
At the governor's office and the county executive's office, the
phones havebeen ringing continuously, mostly from people calling to protest spending cuts.
Louise Hayman, County Executive Robert R. Neall's press secretary, said secretaries have fielded thousands of calls these past few days. They've been running about 2-to-1 against the cuts, shesaid.
Yesterday, about 150 callers phoned to recite the same pro-education message, Hayman said.
Page Boinest, Gov. William Donald Schaefer's speech writer, said the governor is still receiving mail from people who are angry about his first cost-cutting plan, which would have cost 83 state troopers their jobs. Some of the letters have been articulate with carefully outlined arguments; others have been graphically profane.
Black balloons sent by Broadneck High faculty and staff members to demonstrate their displeasure at proposed cuts toeducation are floating around in the mailroom, she said.
"I've never seen anything like this before, with the steady stream of protests. It's good in a way, because you get a chance to hear what the average person says," Boinest said.
Busch blamed education leaders rather than students for the letters, saying they have spread misinformation about the kinds of programs and services that could be cut. Statements that extracurricular activities and sports programs will be eliminated come from the county school board, he said, not state lawmakers.
"They used scare tactics with the kids," Busch said. "They fanned the flames and played on all the emotional issues with the kids.The kids just happened to be the ones writing the letters."