An alternative to state's 180-day school year ruleWe've...


January 28, 1996

An alternative to state's 180-day school year rule

We've had our storm and possibly more to come. School systems have used all of their extra days and then some, i.e. they are scheduled to be under the 180 school days minimum.

Will the individual school systems extend their schedules or will our state legislators pass a waiver to allow less than the 180-day minimum, thus shortchanging the children and taxpayers?

It is true that summer class dates for teachers at colleges have been set for the original school year, and many summer employers will not be tolerant of people reporting late, but I expect value for my tax money.

What to do?

In 1994, I drew up a simple plan to have the state requirement change from 180 days a year to 540 days in any three consecutive years. A school system, for example, operating 175 days in a year due to inclement weather would just add five days to its next one or two years' schedules. After presenting this plan to my state senator, I was told that the 180-day ruling was set by the State Board of Education. He presented my plan to the board. Superintendent Nancy Grasmick's answer was, "We already have a ruling of 180 days per school year." So much for a new idea. Good luck, taxpayers.

Charles Johnston


Almost violated by a drunken driver

A few nights before Christmas, an apparently drunken driver drove the wrong way on a dual-lane divided highway, Fort Smallwood Road in Anne Arundel County. The time was between 2 and 2:30 a.m. A member of my family was driving toward Riviera Beach when a car passed them in the other lane on the same side of the highway heading in the opposite direction toward the city line. It makes me very angry that someone who apparently lives elsewhere, comes to our community, overindulges in alcohol and, in leaving, is very nearly guilty of a horrible collision.

It would have been all over in a blink of an eye. This is a 50 mph

road. Our beloved one would be gone and our lives forever saddened.

As to the allegedly drunken driver, he or she is no different than someone who raises a gun to some innocent person. Does he even know what he did or was he too drunk?

Gloria E. Sipe


Customers helped mail carriers through storm

I am writing this letter to thank our customers who live in Glen Burnie. The blizzard of '96 is over. It dumped almost two feet of snow and was followed by two more storms that dumped another foot of snow and ice. The main roads were in good shape, but the side streets in most cases were untouched.

This is where our customers really shined. You cleaned your sidewalks and made paths to your mailboxes. You walked to the street to get your mail to save the carriers a few steps. You helped shovel and push our vehicles when we got stuck. You offered us your driveways to turn around in and to park. You offered us a hot drink and a kind word. You have touched the hearts of your letter carriers, a public servant. I would hope that our customers who we did not reach understand that we did try and that this was a storm that happens once in a century.

I hope it never happens again. I would like to thank William Pratesi, postmaster, who briefed us every day on weather and road conditions and reminded us to be safe; the clerks at Glen Burnie who got to work in the early hours of the morning to get the mail to the carriers so we could hit the streets early; the mail handlers who also started work very early to unload trucks and to distribute the mail to the carriers and clerks; the custodians who helped with snow removal; the supervisors for their cooperation. But the biggest thank you goes to you the residents of Glen Burnie from your letter carriers, who are very humbled by your thoughtfulness and kindness.

Chris Kirby

Glen Burnie

The writer is president of Local 4422 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Clinched teeth and a boon for the rich

As I sit in the snow, I think of baseball and politics. Both of the political parties now have federal budgets certified as balanced by the Republican Congressional Budget Office.

The Republican plan gives 76 percent of the tax cut to the rich ($185 billion). The Democratic plan gives 10 percent of the tax cut to the rich. The "help the rich" Republican plan is paid for by massive additional cuts in Medicare, child care, education, environmental protection and elimination of existing tax credits for the middle class. As Casey Stengel said, "You can look it up."

Republicans should call Cal Ripken Jr. and realize that politics is a game best played without clenched teeth. As a fiscal conservative with a heart and soul, I want a balanced budget more than I want $185 billion in tax breaks for wealthy Americans and large corporations. Make Congress responsive to the people, and please vote March 5 so we can have common sense for Congress.

Steven R. Eastaugh


The writer is a Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District.

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