The county Board of Education came under fire for wasting taxpayers'money last week as Superintendent Ray R. Keech launched a campaign to hire 129 new teachers and staff.
Criticism centered on the decision to send each of Harford's 33,000 students home with copies of theMaryland State Performance Program's second annual report card.
The material included the 122-page county report, the 62-page state report and the individual school report.
"It's very hard for usto accept all this paper when we can't get paper for our classes," Halls Cross Roads Elementary School teacher Linda Baine said Thursday at a meeting of the Harford County Council of Parent Teacher Associations.
Keech said Tuesday he didn't know what it cost the county tocomply with MSPP or print reports. But he argued that the effort to hold schools accountable to state standards is worth the money.
"Ultimately, we're going to produce in this county and Maryland a better product to compete in the global economy," he said.
Touting Harford's high performance on the MSPP report card, Keech presented his budget goals for the 1992-1993 school year to the Board of Education Monday night.
The budget centerpiece is a request for $2.8 million to hire 93 teachers to maintain current teacher-student class ratios as more than 1,300 new students enter the school system.
Keech also wants to create another 36 administrative and support jobs to stay even with current staff-student ratios.
The second-most ambitious budget goal would be to increase the standard for spending on textbooks, maps, audio-visual supplies and other instructional equipment.
Keech wants to replace equipment at the annual rate of 10 percent oftotal value, which would raise spending on school supplies to almost$2.2 million annually, compared to $274,200 allocated this year.
To keep up with the rising cost of education, County Executive EileenRehrmann urged PTA support for raising the limit on increases in property assessments for tax purposes from 6 percent to 10 percent. The increase would boost revenue $700,000 next year and $1.1 million in fiscal year 1994.
The school board cut its budget $786,211 Monday night to comply with a reduction in state aid. Afterward, many PTA leaders were disturbed that money might have been wasted distributing MSPP reports.
"It's something over which we have no control, but we reap all the consequences," Deputy Superintendent Alden Halsey said Friday.
"It's sort of a Catch-22."
The county actually sent homemore material than the state ordered, said Kathy Rosenberger, an MSPP administrator.
"We required that each student be given a copy ofthat particular school's report," she said.
"Some systems (including Harford) included more than that. They also sent home the state and county reports.
"Others told parents that they could contact the school board because (sending home) the entire report would be too expensive."