Construction of schools could be cut, eliminatedOn Jan. 9...


January 20, 1998

Construction of schools could be cut, eliminated

On Jan. 9, you reported that Gov. Parris N. Glendening proposes to spend more than $200 million on school construction.

I would love to know how much of it results from an overall growth in the number of school-age children and how much is the result of family relocations, some of which may be to gain access to "better" school systems.

I suspect that for every two new schools being built, at least one somewhere else is either underused or abandoned.

According to the Maryland Department of Education, the average annual increase in kindergarten through 12th-grade students over the past five years was a little more than 2 percent.

The demand for school construction this produces could almost be eliminated with a small change in public policy from the posture of defending the public school system and the construction industry that feeds on it, to one of providing modest financial assistance to parents who wish to use the private sector.

If the number of parents encouraged to transfer out equaled or exceeded the growth rate in a jurisdiction, the need for new construction would be curtailed, if not eliminated, as the private sector expanded to meet demand.

John D. Schiavone


Effort to curb crowding in schools is paying off

Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the County Council and school officials are to be congratulated for their efforts to minimize crowding in the county's public schools.

Despite tremendous growth, county leaders have eliminated building moratoriums in all but two communities.

The turnaround under the Ruppersberger administration is a result of the executive's ability to secure greater state funding, institute flexible and creative strategies and work with all parties to devise equitable solutions.

Consequently, the Jan. 7 article "Baltimore County school crowding persists" does not do justice to the real story. When the number of overcrowded schools triggering building moratoriums during the last four years drops from 13 to two, we believe that the glass should be viewed as nearly full, not nearly empty.

David S. Thaler


The writer is chairman of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.

Connect new hotel to Convention Center

What does it take to get Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to understand the financial importance of a Convention Center hotel -- not just across the street, but connected to the center with an enclosed walkway?

That's all it would take to turn the Convention Center into a success. It's a win-win situation: The Convention Center would be saved, and that would create a springboard from the center right into every harbor attraction.

That, in turn, would mean prosperity for every area of the harbor: North, West, South and -- yes, Mayor Schmoke -- East.

Esther Yaken


Glendening was right to free Nathaniel Hurt

Kudos to Gov. Parris N. Glendening for commuting the sentence of Nathaniel Hurt ("City man who shot, killed 13-year-old to be freed," Dec. 24).

Hurt should never have spent a single night in prison -- not because he didn't do it, but because it could have been me.

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and pontificate about how wrong Hurt's actions were. But, how many of us daily have to endure the kind of indiscriminate harassment he did? I've had my taste of it, grew up around it and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

There are hundreds of law-abiding, taxpaying citizens in Baltimore who are subjected to this type of harassment every day. Please do not misunderstand: The loss of one so young was truly tragic, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Holmes family. But, ask yourself what you would have done if you were at the end of your rope with no help in sight.

This situation could have been better addressed with tougher laws on disturbing the peace or destruction of property. Why do so many youngsters get away with this kind of behavior, only to graduate to worse? Nonresponsiveness is not the message to send.

Teddie M. Gwynn


Who's behind attempt to discredit Burnett?

The fallout around the business dealings of former state Sen. Larry Young have taken a dramatic turn. The brunt of this madness now turns to the historically black college in West Baltimore, Coppin State College, and its president, Calvin W. Burnett.

Why attack Dr. Burnett -- a man of impeccable character with a track record of building bridges between the black, white, Asian and Jewish communities?

For 28 years he has fought to make sure the citizens of Baltimore have access to higher education. He leads an institution that is responsible for producing many Baltimore teachers, police officers, social workers, nurses, business owners and community activists.

Who is behind the attack? It is the same regressive forces that would like to see a small, historically black college close its doors or be annexed into the University of Baltimore or Morgan State University -- neither of which serves the constituency that Coppin serves.

Zachary McDaniels


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