Hammering out Howard's school budgetIn regard to your Jan...

the Forum

February 05, 1992

Hammering out Howard's school budget

In regard to your Jan. 28 editorial, "School budget farce in Howard," your editorial board contacted Dr. Hickey five days before the editorial appeared. The Board of Education and the superintendent have been wrestling with the fiscal and political complexities of these issues for months. Yet you reduced these intricacies to a single world.

Some of what you say in this editorial is accurate. However, your writer makes some assumptions and jumps to conclusions which are very misleading. The board has not yet considered its budget. It asked the union to renegotiate. It was the fiscally prudent thing to do. A few months ago, editorial writers were baying at our heels because we had a multi-year contract, negotiated in better times, which was far too expensive for county coffers. The board agreed.

Why is it any less "cruel and unnecessary punishment" to include in this budget a 6 percent increase (or a 16 percent increase by some legal rationales) which stands no chance of being funded? How does this ease the apprehensions of our employees? When this is not funded by the county, the board would then be required by Maryland law to renegotiate a lesser amount. The same dickering would take place only in a less-than-optimal time frame for planning.

County government is negotiating with its employees. It has no more accurate fiscal information than the board does. Will you editorialize about the cruel and unnecessary treatment of police and firefighters?

The county executives are correct in their criticism of the General Assembly. We are all in the dark, and that is no way to run government. Despite this, and despite the tensions of shared governance, we have always managed to work together in Howard County. This is but one of the reasons we are known for quality education.

A final reminder: Read the law.Despite your penchant for benevolent despots, the county executive advises the County Council on budget matters. In this democracy, the County Council pays all the bills.

Deborah D. Kendig

Ellicott City

L

The writer chairs the Howard County Board of Education. 1/2

Sinners all

xxTC

It is wrong to blame the president for everything that goes wrong in the country. We, the people, are responsible for some things.

1.The president is not responsible for the immorality of the people. He is not to blame for people who have illegitimate children and expect the government to support them.

2.He is not responsible for people who steal from the stores so much that the stores eventually have to close down, causing many good people to be unemployed.

3.He is not responsible for alcoholics who can't support their families because they can't hold a job.

The only solution I see is for people to shape up or we will end up like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Marie Nixon

Baltimore

We all need to help

"Helping other people's children," Wiley Hall's column Jan. 23, raised the issue of whether the state should provide equal funding to all school systems in the state. Mr. Hall implied that, because of the lower tax bases in some areas, the richer subdivisions should provide (or the state should take from them) the money to see that all public schools receive equal funds, and all students would have a better chance of receiving an equal opportunity for a good education.

I believe most would agree that today's public schools do not offer equal educational opportunities and facilities throughout Maryland (and other states as well).

Whatever our color, religion or political persuasion, we all would benefit from better schools! As the current economic recession indicates, the U.S. is not competing effectively with some countries, and part of the problem is our lack of skilled workers. The solution, whether out of the kindness of the heart or from concern for the pocketbook, is to educate all children.

As Mr. Hall asked, "Who wants to help people's children when times are hard and money is scarce?" The answer seems clear to me: We all need to help them, whether or not we want to.

Kurt G. Wenzing Jr.

Westminster

Justice, not revenge

Regarding Dan Rodricks' column Jan. 27, it is interesting to note that his heart continues to bleed for convicted murderers who have spent years going through the justice system attempting to beat their death sentences. No doubt he must be very pleased to know that hundreds of convicted murderers on death row are applauding his efforts.

He seems to approve of former Gov. Jerry Brown asking his Washington audience to rise in a moment of silence in memory of Ricky Ray Rector, who was recently executed for the cold-blooded murder of Robert Martin, a police officer. Yet no mention was made of Officer Martin, his wife, children and family.

For Mr. Rodricks to state, "All the death sentence does is satisfy a hunger for revenge" is both painful and insulting to families whose loved ones have been murdered. Has he not heard of the word "justice," justice for the families who are suffering?

illiam Bricker

Baltimore

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