School Board Follies

Readers write

February 16, 1992

From: Stuart G. Morris

Annapolis

Upon my graduation from Johns Hopkins in 1957, Eleanor and I leftMaryland and spent the next 20 years raising four children in the school systems of Glen Ellyn, Ill.; Whitefish Bay, Wis.; and Oakwood, Ohio.

All appeared to be super educational organizations, and I cannot recall any problems with the respective school boards.

Returning to Maryland in 1976, our youngest child, Sally, moved through the local system until graduation from Severna Park High School.

Over these past 16 years, including about six years as a delegate to the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Convention from the Greater Severna Park Council, I have formed an opinion of the county schoolboard, and not a flattering one.

It has shown, I believe, little backbone on any issue, voting in favor of a policy when two parents appear to demand it, and reversing itself a week later when four appear to protest the previous vote.

But what can we expect from a board whose members are picked by the governor, who can ignore the list of "nominees" sent by the toothless AACSBNC? This procedure has long been a farce and should be boycotted and abandoned.

The (Anne Arundel County School Superintendent) Larry Lorton contract affair is a clear and glaring example of the school board's inadequacy.

Decidingnot to renew his $94,815 per year contract, which expires June 30, they could have terminated it as late as Jan. 31, and then offered severance pay of some kind.

The failure to do so means that Lorton will be paid for the entire period through June 30, receiving $39,506.24 for doing virtually nothing, since he is "leaving early."

Tyson Bennett, attorney for the board, assures us this is not a "buyout" ofthe contract.

He is right -- it is a "cop out!"

This payoff isa clear rip-off of the taxpayers.

Board president JoAnn Tollenger, a leftover from "the Lighthizer years," should hang her head in shame, along with the rest of the board members who voted to have the taxpayers support an absent school superintendent who was chosen by theboard only four years ago.

NO TO DETENTION CENTER

From: Margaret D. Brown

President

Marley Area Improvement

Association, Inc.

As the president of the Marley Area Improvement Association, Inc.and a North County resident of 38 years, I challenge County Executive (Robert) Neall's decision to relocate a detention center to Ordnance Road. Also I strongly urge the North County residents to flood their councilmen with protests; otherwise, the unthinkable will happen --the already over-burdened systems will be further diluted with an expandable 650-bed prison.

Please note on your calendar:

Public Hearing -- Thursday, Feb. 20; 7:30 p.m.; Glen Burnie High School.

Icall for our elected official to initiate a thorough impact study concerning the move. The following are a few of the factors which must be scrutinized before Resolution 5-92 is even considered:

* Environmental -- Marley Creek has been closed recreationally for 13 years. That very fragile coastal area has been grossly violated through Harundale and Route 10 development and through major sewage spills. By May of 1989, residents within a four-block radius closed their houses tightly throughout summer even though they were without benefit of airconditioning. The pervasive stench reached as far as Marley Middle School. Fish and water fowl disappeared. Many of us have worked hard and long for a dredge which still eludes us. At stake are our lungs and skins and genes, and the wholeness and health of our children and their children. Not only did the county fail to protect us from the devastation detailed above -- by God, now they threaten this very creekwith what to us is unthinkable!

Moreover, since the Army depot dates back to an unsophisticated World War I, only God and those littlegreen acres know what's buried there.

* Traffic -- Horrendous wasthe word applied to the Leedmark holiday traffic on Ordnance Road without the detention center in the picture. With the prison in the picture it would be more like gridlock.

* Safety -- We have an increase in thefts, burglaries, and violent crimes. North County police protection would be further reduced by the need to pull more officers totraffic detail, etc.

* Health -- The threat to health, already adversely affected by existing conditions, could be further jeopardizedby possible sewage spills from the detention center. Again, Marley Creek could be the unlucky recipient.

* Budget -- Transporting prisoners is a costly, ongoing factor. If the state doesn't come up with their half of the funding, the county could foot the entire $80,000,000. In addition, that is probably a deflated cost factor.

* Economics -- The threat to burden the Ordnance Road site with a prison casts yet another obstacle for CSX in developing Tanyard Cove. CSX has contracted to donate a spoils site for the elusive Marley Creek dredge,a new school, a parkland and a billion dollar industry that translates into local jobs.

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