If the definition of a good compromise is that neither side comes out happy, the decision by Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden to temporarily provide some nurses for private schools fits that category. Mr. Hayden took plenty of heat when he announced plans to charge private and parochial schools $175 a day for their use of public school nurses. Baltimore County was the last Maryland jurisdiction to provide public nurses for private schools for free. (It had done so for 30 years.) The county, facing a deficit of at least $14 million this fiscal year and more next year, abruptly ended the $490,000 nurses' program to cut costs.
Whether or not one agrees that the public should pay for private school nurses -- and we don't -- pulling that service from the schools with a couple of weeks' notice seemed unduly harsh. As a stop-gap measure, the county now has decided to transfer some nurses out of the private schools to fill public school vacancies that an early retirement program created, and then to allow 34 private schools to share 11 nurses.
Some private schools are unhappy that they'll have to hire nurses next fall, but at least the county found a way to give the schools more time to come up with thier own approach.