Middle school plan no help for race relationsThe Anne...

Letters

July 26, 1998

Middle school plan no help for race relations

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education proposal to merge the Annapolis and Bates middle schools as a cost-saving measure is immoral, politically violent and detrimental to the African American community at large. More than 50 percent of the county's African American population is concentrated in this area.

This kind of thinking by the board's leadership is indicative of a lack of responsible leadership.

Superintendent Carol S. Parham has often been quoted as saying she makes decisions with the interest of the children in mind. I ask, whose children? It would behoove Dr. Parham and the leadership of the board to distance themselves from this thinking.

In Washington, the school superintendent had to reduce her budget by more than $45 million. She eliminated 48 positions in the front office alone. Our school system needs to make up a $9 million deficit. We need leadership, not finger-pointing.

In Anne Arundel, we are trying to bridge the gap in race relations. Yet, the Board of Education is attempting to advance an idea that would turn the gap into a chasm.

I urge the entire community, to join me in opposing this draconian proposal.

Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary ought not be blamed for budget problems this school system knew about from day one.

Jeffrey C. Henderson

Annapolis

Councilwoman's vote backed Gary budget

I can't believe it. Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Diane R. Evans has tried to place the blame solely on Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary for the cuts in education funding over the past four years.

Ms. Evans was one of the 7-0 votes cast on May 22 unanimously supporting Mr. Gary's budget.

Under this budget, the school board would be forced to eliminate valuable programs, cut maintenance, reduce funding for books and other materials and charge kids who play sports or participate in after-school activities. Forcing our schools to bear an unequal share of budget cuts is not new.

Ms. Evans has consistently supported Mr. Gary's (and the previous GOP administration's) cuts during eight years on the council. After becoming a candidate for executive, she claims to have made efforts to support children. A few minor (and failed) attempts to restore a couple of bucks this year does not erase her record.

It is disturbing that under the current county government, education funding has been slashed from 47 to 43 percent of the total budget. Unless voters oust these office-holders, children will continue to suffer while power-hungry politicians continue petty battles.

We must re-establish common sense and simple decency to the running of the school system.

This is why the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County has recommended candidates for county executive and County

Council who have not helped to create this horrendous problem.

Executive candidate Janet Owens is a Democrat who believes in democracy. She will support our children and respect their need for a quality education.

John R. Kurpjuweit

Annapolis

The writer is president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County.

When I moved to the Crofton area, the most attractive benefit was the public school system. With the decisions by John Gary to reduce school funding, it is apparent he considers education a low priority. This will alter the backbone of what sets this county apart as a place to raise a family, live and run a business.

Paul Hurst

Crofton

Owens the antidote to school decline

As a mother of two daughters who attend Anne Arundel County schools, I have watched with dismay as the percentage of county spending for their education has declined from 47 percent to 43 percent of the budget.

This decline has occurred despite increased enrollment. Our county executive and County Council are responsible. If John Gary is re-elected, this decline will continue. We must elect a new county executive.

County Councilwoman Diane Evans, a candidate for executive, professes support for my daughters' education. However, her voting record, including in this year's budget process, proves differently. Ms. Evans has not put her votes where they count.

I urge you to vote for Janet Owens for county executive. She supports education funding.

She will halt the decline in the quality of my daughters' education.

Kathy Naeseth

Annapolis

Save a little paradise for the flora to enjoy

Somebody should tell Anne Arundel County officials that people don't necessarily need Beverly-Triton Beach ("Reclaiming a paradise cost," July 11).

People can cavort in local parks, swim in community pools, make sand castles in pristine sandboxes and tan into toast in their back yards.

Save the last ticket to paradise for the critters and plants with nowhere else to go.

D. P. Birch

Baltimore

Pepersack: Why I'm running

Why run for County Council? Do I have the energy to do the job? Yes. The ability to do the job? Yes. The qualifications to do the job? Yes. The experience? Yes.

I have all of the above, but that's not the driving force.

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