Schools need answers, not scapegoatsI am a relative...

the Forum

February 02, 1993

Schools need answers, not scapegoats

I am a relative newcomer to Maryland, and one of the most outstanding aspects of this state is the disregard given to Baltimore city schools.

When I moved here, everyone said to stay away from city schools. That is appalling. Private schools flourish here. What happened to the commitment to public education?

I have met city school teachers who have to provide pencils for their students out of their own pockets, let alone have access to computers and books.

This is in sharp contrast to teachers in the county who have film projectors, books and paper, as well as better computer access.

City schools need help, not anger. Shame on any state legislator who thinks the city schools should pay because counties are required to pick up Social Security payments for their teachers.

Lawmakers should use their anger constructively. They should research the states with the highest literacy rates to find out how they allocate funding and help them work with other major city educational systems to pool the knowledge of what does or doesn't work in inner-city schools.

Maybe schools need to be open all year, or the school day should be extended. Perhaps school should begin at 11 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. to encourage attendance.

The point is to find answers to the problems, not scapegoats. Children should not be sacrificed. When they are, we all suffer.

Diane Johnston

Towson

Rapid refunds

The proliferation of "rapid refund" income tax services in liquor stores, supermarkets and other stores that are not in the tax preparation business should be of concern to the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers.

These outlets are manned by information takers who have little or no experience with the tax laws. They are not qualified to determine a taxpayer's proper filing status nor the appropriate number of dependents that may be claimed.

Since minimum refund levels must be reached for the taxpayer )) to receive a "rapid refund" (and for the outlet to earn its fee), the counsel of these businesses may be on how to raise the anticipated refund rather than on how to file properly.

The tax consequences are significant. For example, by meeting the stringent tests for the head-of-household filing status, a taxpayer may qualify for tax credits (additional refunds) up to $2,200. Many taxpayers calling themselves heads-of-household may not properly qualify for the credits. As a result, the IRS is shortchanged.

Once the IRS becomes aware of the overpayment, it will bill the taxpayer. Since this will come months or years after filing, the refund money is long gone.

It is time for proper certification of tax preparers and others who are becoming part of the refund chain.

obert Dubansky

Baltimore

One person's meat

The Jan. 27 article, "A Night at the Livestock Auction," should make everyone think about where their clean, neat, cellophane-wrapped steak or ground beef comes from.

Yes, it was once a living animal that through the cruelty of humans was "labeled for sale with spray paint, crammed into holding pens, and prodded into the auction ring" for slaughter.

Meanwhile, their demise is decided by people sitting in "cushioned chairs along the walkway."

It is not hard to live without eating meat, but it is hard to live with your conscience when you know how these animals are treated.

If you knew the fear in these animals, or the stench of death in a slaughter house, you would quickly decide to never touch meat again.

These animals are "frantic" and do "cry out" because they know where they're going. Soon they will be neat, clean, cellophane-wrapped steaks that end up on a table, and hardly anyone will give them a second thought.

Think about it. Meat stinks.

Jacqueline Snyder

Baltimore

'Ugly' Towson

After reading the article on "ugly" Towson buildings and Councilman Douglas Riley's desire to establish yet another regulatory agency to decide what can and cannot be built in Baltimore County, I have to ask: Is he going to pay this commission out of his own pocket? Surely he doesn't expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for something he personally wants . . .

County Executive Roger Hayden is trying to scale down government costs by lay-offs, early retirement, etc., and this man, Mr. Riley, wants to set up his own personal agency to decide what buildings will be "ugly" or not.

Obviously Mr. Riley is out of touch with the people. Mass unemployment, budget problems, rampant crime and the ton of paperwork and cost to the working man to maintain and improve their homes mean nothing to him.

Such a committee would only promote more red tape, delays in construction and excessive costs which would eventually have to be borne by the taxpayer. I say enough is enough. No more establishing commissions to do a job that is supposedly already in effect.

Thomas M. Rush Jr.

Parkville

Somalia operation

It seems to me that the mainline media have been swallowing the Pentagon propaganda for some time.

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