Superintendent Search: Start NowThe citizens of Howard...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 20, 1994

Superintendent Search: Start Now

The citizens of Howard County should resolve to be involved in the search for and selection of a new superintendent of schools.

As a parent, Parent-Teacher Association activist, then Board of Education member, I have advocated (and taught) effective citizen participation in the workings of the public school system for more than 15 years. It has never been more important.

Although the final decision, I think appropriately, is the responsibility of the five elected school board members, every individual citizen and all citizens' groups, from the Howard County Association of Student Councils to the Chamber of Commerce, have the right and responsibility to present to the board a "profile" of their ideal superintendent. The time to begin is now.

Michael Hickey's contract ends July 1, 1996. Individuals are free to offer personal opinions, but groups, to be credible, must seek a consensus of their members, a time- and energy-consuming exercise. . . .

Since Howard County's public schools may be our single most important economic development factor, it is crucial that all segments of the population contribute to developing the selection criteria for the next superintendent.

Karen B. Campbell

West Friendship

School Budget

While the superintendent of schools is to be commended for developing a budget that is responsive to many of the growth needs of the schools in the coming year, there are a few areas which must be addressed. First, are six new administrative positions truly needed? In particular, two specialists are proposed to coordinate capital projects, yet it appears that the capital budget will not fund as many projects as originally anticipated. Second, given the increased reliance on computers in our schools, the money proposed for software purchases is hardly sufficient to purchase a high quantity or high quality of software. Third, we should not continue to fund private and parochial school busing while public school students are forced to attend very early morning classes because of a transportation budget shortfalls. Finally, while the board and administration have identified "inclusion" as an area of priority, the budget for such an ambitious program is clearly lacking. . . .

Instead, Superintendent Michael Hickey has cut funds foworkshop wages which would allow teachers to be reimbursed for out-of-school meetings to learn more about this program. . . . In general though, Dr. Hickey should be commended for his cautious approach to the budget, and for reinstating some of the cuts that have been made over the last few years.

Jamie M. Kendrick

Elkridge

The writer is a candidate for the Howard County Board of Education.

Older Schools

With reference to your editorial of Feb. 3, "Money for Older Schools," it's nice to know there are people such as Del. Virginia Thomas working to improve conditions in our older facilities.

It is also worth noting that there are many citizens concerned with this issue, not the least of whom are PTA activists around the county such as Wanda Hurt, who has been working for equity in older schools for the past three years. It's only when people realize that letting our older schools decay will also mean the decay of our neighborhoods will people demand action from our elected officials. . . .

Dennis D'Adamo

Columbia

Year-Round

As a spate of editorials and articles on year-round education in Howard County indicates, there is still much to be decided before adopting such a measure. Obviously, it would have to be tested. . . . The implied result of this change in policy is to "reduce costs and improve education." I'm not sure which is less likely to come true. I assume that all operational costs have been discounted, along with the extra costs to cover teachers' pay.

I doubt whether school officials are as altruistic as indicated in asking for responses. It probably is more like a matter of survival for elected members of the education bureaucracy.

The presentation of this concept to the school board last year was interesting. I was hearing all these good things and then I observed an interesting fact. This guy was from San Diego! January temperatures average 55 degrees Fahrenheit and July's figure is 70 degrees there. Baltimore, on the other hand averages, 37 degrees F. in January and 79 degrees in July.

There are hardly two seasons in San Diego while in this area we generally have four. Besides winter heating bills, there would be considerable summer air-conditioning bills in Howard County. Would people with homes at the beach get preference on summer periods off? In San Diego, does it really make any difference when students take vacations? . . .

Certainly the result of improving education is rather subjective. I myself don't see that there would be any difference, once student morale would stabilize. There have been so many gimmicks over the years to raise poor scores. To me the answer is simple -- less TV, more study. But that is obviously too simplistic.

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