PTA chief warns board: Parents, too, feel pinch They cannot make up for cuts, he says

October 25, 1992|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

Parents can't continue bailing out the school system by volunteering time or contributing money, a PTA president told the Harford County school board.

The recession forcing the state to cut school spending has also hurt families, said Earle Prior, president of the Magnolia Middle School PTA.

"We are no longer bottomless pits," he said. "The community is drying up. I work two jobs, and my wife works 30 hours a week trying to balance our budget. There are people on my block who are worried about losing their jobs."

Mr. Prior, who has a son in the eighth grade and a daughter who graduated from high school last year, was one of several parents who spoke to the school board at a forum Monday night at Magnolia Middle.

Questions about the school budget and spending for various projects dominated the two-hour meeting. The school board spent the day touring the five schools in Joppa.

Anne Sterling, school board president, told the audience of about 50 people that parents, teachers and administrators had to work together to keep schools thriving during cuts. "Our job is enormous," she said.

Mr. Prior said parents want to help but feel a financial pinch. He said families have been hit by several fund-raisers from the Joppa-area schools this year. Also, he said, it's unrealistic to expect busy parents, especially single ones, to volunteer more time in the school.

Mr. Prior asked board members to remember that the entire county is facing state aid cuts. "Don't ask me to choose between the library where my kids go or the sheriff department that patrols my neighborhood and the schools," he said.

Mrs. Sterling said the school system was cooperating with other county agencies in dealing with anticipated state budget cuts. The state's $500 million deficit means Harford County government could lose about $6 million this year. Officials remain uncertain how much money the school system will lose.

The school system's budget this fiscal year is about $147 million. the past, about 51.5 percent of the money came from the county, 45.5 percent from the state and the remainder from the federal government and other sources.

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