School funding raises questions across nationBrian Sullam...

Letters

June 21, 1998

School funding raises questions across nation

Brian Sullam asks in his column "Tax cap is the real bone of contention for schools" (June 7), whether Anne Arundel wants to follow the example of California "where Proposition 13 transformed the nation's best school system into one of the worst?"

Anne Arundel County's rigid tax cap is the problem. Changing it would be difficult.

Try Vermont's approach? Act 60 in Vermont would replace the present system where local property taxes pay for local education.

Affluent communities would pay higher property taxes and have reduced school budgets, while poorer communities would get tax relief and school budget increases.

The rich will give to the poor, maybe. Vermont is about to have a civil war over this.

I'll bet gambling promoters in Maryland will gladly offer to solve the problem for us. It would be foolish to let them try.

Tom Gill

North Beach

Kudos for those with top attendance

I was really pleased to read the article by Elaine Tassy in The Sun June 5 recognizing the perfect attendance records of Chalia Belt and Russell Peacock from kindergarten through 12th grade.

This article struck home because 50 years ago, when I graduated from high school in my hometown in Massachusetts, awards and honors were given to some of my fellow students.

Good attendance was always important to school officials and encouraged.

Therefore, I was quite disappointed that nobody took notice that I had a record of perfect attendance for 10 of my 12 years of school.

The years that I had absences were first and fifth grades, when I had childhood diseases. At that time, we didn't have vaccines.

Also, we were required to stay at home with a quarantine sign on the house and a black band on our arm if we were contagious.

It is good that some schools now reward a pupil with perfect attendance with something like a free lunch.

Phyllis Fogarty

Millersville

No shortcuts taken on Arundel Mills project

Regarding The Sun editorial, "Shortcut to the mall," May 15.

It is possible that The Sun made assumptions about the development of Arundel Mills without the benefit of thorough research.

The Mills Corp., in conjunction with Anne Arundel County and the Anne Arundel County Development Corp., has informed the community and sought public opinion through a well-planned outreach program.

Mills met with 37 community organizations over eight months at various North County locations. The meetings provided an overview of the proposed development plan and extensive interaction between the community and the developer. Citizens and organizations were urged to ask questions and voice concerns. A task force of volunteers from the county's community groups was formed to participate in intense meetings, encompassing all aspects of the development, including traffic and safety issues.

The citizens delivered a strong message in the form of a resolution supporting the development of Arundel Mills. There is, and will be, ample time for individual and group comment and input prior to an Anne Arundel County Council vote on any legislation regarding Arundel Mills.

Clearly, the process worked well because community input caused Mills to incorporate a long-sought-after neighborhood shopping center with a supermarket in the plan. The meetings also resulted in a roadway system and traffic plan that implements improvements the community has no hope of obtaining without the Mills development. Many participating .

citizens have commented that the Mills development is the means by which they will remedy community problems.

Most important, the so-called fast-track conditional use route affords the citizens of Anne Arundel the benefit of having the entire County Council involved in the zoning decision process. Conversely, the special exception route involves the vote of a single hearing officer and allows no room for interaction and compromise on details of the legislation.

The Mills Corp. has not avoided community scrutiny and input.

It has embraced the people of Anne Arundel County and taken extraordinary steps to incorporate their wants and needs into the development process.

No shortcuts have been taken with the citizens or with governmental processes.

Pursuing the most expeditious legislation allowable by law is sound business practice for the private sector as well as for government.

Perhaps it can be conceded that responsive and responsible development can occur.

Edward B. Vinson

Arlington, Va.

The writer is group vice president for The Mills Corp.

Pub Date: 6/21/98

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