St. John's Lane School Needs ReliefIn coverage of the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 11, 1993

St. John's Lane School Needs Relief

In coverage of the March 9 Howard County school board meeting, a scant paragraph referred to the overcrowding

problems at St. John's Lane Elementary School of Ellicott City. There were 27 SJLE parents who testified at the meeting and at least twice that many in attendance. SJLE is desperately overcrowded. Boundary lines must be redrawn to relieve the problem.

SJLE has been over capacity since 1986. As per county policy, SJLE has made every effort to create more space. This 40-year-old school has received only a few classroom additions plus "temporary portables" in the last 20 years. The core sections of the school remain the same and are inadequate to handle the sheer number of students.

Meanwhile, state-of-the-art schools are built, older ones receive remodeling and technological updates and many schools are currently operating under capacity.

SJLE fortunately has a tremendously dedicated, talented and caring teaching staff for whom we are all extremely grateful, but how long will teachers and staff remain at this school when so many new and improved schools beckon?

The issue of severe overcrowding was clearly defined and the numerous diverse problems which have resulted were illustrated with examples and discussed in great detail at the March 9 hearing. So, Sun reporters, rather than simply stating that "horror stories of overcrowding" exist, with no further detail other than the fact that music classes meet in a closet, please give SJLE the in-depth coverage it deserves. . . .

E. B. Kelley

Ellicott City

Sound Mind & Body

Isn't it ironic that the state Department of Education has reduced the mandatory requirement for physical education in high school from one credit to a half-credit?

The Howard County Board of Education appears to be tempted to follow suit, at a time when Congress has recently passed a resolution recommending daily physical education for grades K-12. This has been endorsed by the National Education Association, the American Medical Association, the President's Council on Physical Fitness, the American Heart Association and the American Alliances for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

When are people going to realize that physical education is not a frill? Scientific research substantiates the view that physical education not only promotes a positive attitude, improves self-concept and enhances physical well-being, but it actually contributes to positive changes in brain structure. . . .

Jean R. Hodges

Fulton

The writer is president of the Atholton High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

Zoning Protection

Like so many other residents of Howard County, I am greatly concerned about the proposed zoning changes, particularly because I believe that this is in the hands of a group of elected officials who have already demonstrated that they have sold out to the developers, builders and Realtors. . . .

Somehow, there should be compassion for those of us who have invested our life savings into a home that we hope to be able to live in for our remaining few years. We fear that if the zoning of our rural territory is changed from three-acre minimum lots, and the developers continue to build the high-priced homes all around us, the appraisers are going to raise the values of our properties and our taxes will increase to the point that we are forced to sell. . . .

We, the existing homeowners, should be assured that the tax assessment on our homes will not change until the properties are sold or transferred from our ownership.

Norman E. Tyson

Clarksville

Golf Course: Who Needs It?

Now that Columbia has wisely chosen to build a new golf course (Feb. 10), who will be supporting this attraction and why?

I, myself, wouldn't consider playing a "game" like golf. It certainly is about the least competitive activity around. It neither taxes one's mental faculties nor physical attributes. Give me a round of bridge or table tennis, where my opponent has a little say in whether I win or not. Let me use some strategy in determining who wins. Golf, like bowling, merely uses a handicap system to attempt to make the game somewhat competitive. Talk about kissing your sister!

I realize you don't have to be in shape to play bridge or table tennis, but golf hardly requires anything more than being able to see over your belly to hit the ball. And, of course, you wouldn't want to walk that long distance or carry a wide variety of clubs over your shoulder, so voila -- the golf cart. For additional conditioning, there is nothing like getting down on your knees to line up a putt, grabbing a handful of grass and tossing it in the air, or taking a few extra practice swings.

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