Parents spoke of what they said were deplorable conditions in some Baltimore County schools -- including too little space, leaky roofs and inadequate libraries -- as they urged the county school board at a public hearing last night to adopt the proposed operating budget.
About 80 people attended a meeting at Catonsville High School to address the board on the subject of the $518 million budget that Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel presented Jan. 23.
Phyllis Cherry, representing the Catonsville High School PTA, said she hoped the board would not cut money for building maintenance and operations. She said she worried that her children could fall down an unsafe stairwell at any time.
"How about if this year, the cuts do not come at the expense of safety?" she said.
"I hope that you haven't lost the dream," said Arbutus Elementary School PTA president Lou H. Auf. "We still are overcrowded at Arbutus Elementary to the tune of 100 students. . . . Every shelf is full, every closet is full. . . . Give us some room to move around."
Mr. Auf also asked the board to request salary increases for county teachers, "even if it's for naught, because they really need to see that you're asking for them."
Under the proposed budget, county teachers would receive no across-the-board salary increase.
"The education of our children is nothing if not the most important capital investment we are currently making in the future of our community," said Eli N. Donkar, who spoke on behalf of the Dumbarton Middle School PTA and the Rodgers Forge Elementary School PTA.
"It is the lack of such an investment that will result in a lifetime of missed opportunities for our children and the nation they will inherit," Mr. Donkar said.
If the budget is adopted, it will amount to a $29.9 million increase -- 6.1 percent -- over the current budget.
The board will hold a public work session at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Greenwood offices. It will adopt a budget at 8 p.m. Feb. 27.