If you wanted a textbook example of how to make government work, you'd turn to the recent news at Essex Elementary School.
For years, principals at the county's third-oldest school asked higher-ups in the Baltimore County system to correct horrid physical conditions there. The restrooms stank of a urine smell that couldn't be scrubbed away. The windows whistled. The heating system coughed. The roof leaked. The paint flaked.
Last winter, school administrators finally asked for $50,000 to solve the problems at the circa-1925 facility. The county's planning board, in turn, drowning in capital budget requests, recommended against the money for Essex. The school's staff and parents showed up at a public hearing in March and appealed directly to the county executive about the intolerable conditions. Executive Roger B. Hayden visited the school the following morning.