City school board is finding solutions to budget deficit...


January 19, 2001

City school board is finding solutions to budget deficit

On Jan. 5, The Sun reported that the Baltimore public schools are running a $36 million deficit ("Schools face shortfall of $36 million"). That number was not reported correctly.

Let me assure every Baltimore resident that the school system will balance expenditures and revenues for the fiscal year ending June 2001.

In December, for the first time, the system produced a financial report known as a quarterly variance report. This allows management to make accurate projections of revenues and expenditures and to make timely adjustments.

In December, the school board and the CEO looked at the report and determined that, if the system continued to spend at its current level, and no additional revenue was received by June 2001, the system would overspend its budget by $17 million. The CEO and the board took immediate steps to reduce spending by $10 million.

The board has been working diligently with the state to identify more funding sources for our remedy plan initiatives. In June, we were promised an additional $5 million in revenue for this fiscal year. We anticipate receiving that funding shortly. And, since December, the CEO has continued to reduce spending to cover the remaining $2 million projected shortfall.

The school system is carrying forward from fiscal 2000, which ended last June, a $19 million reported deficit.

Under technical accounting principles, we were also required to record a $15 million write-off that directly related to the school system's separation from the city. We are working with Baltimore City officials, who have been most cooperative, to resolve this accounting issue.

Also, we are having discussions related to a waiver that would allow us to spend $4 million in unspent federal Title VI funds.

If we are completely successful in these two negotiations, which will be resolved within the next several months, the $19 million deficit will be eliminated.

The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners is committed to balancing its expenditures and revenues for fiscal 2001, eliminating the fiscal 2000 carry-over deficit in a reasonable time frame and doing so without diminishing the quality of the education of our children.

J. Tyson Tildon


The writer is chairman of Baltimore's Board of School Commissioners.

For funding Kenya program, school board deserves an `F'

Too bad the city school board and the Abell Foundation voted to continue an alternative school in Kenya for disruptive boys at the cost of $14,000 per boy per annum ("Board votes to continue funding Kenyan school for at-risk boys," Jan. 10).

What an insult to the parents of schoolchildren in Baltimore who do not receive $14,000 for the education of their children.

Maybe, just maybe, the three city school board members who visited the school in Kenya and went on a safari should have visited schools in Baltimore and come up with innovative measures to improve the schools here.

Is it any wonder the latest statewide poll shows city voters are most unhappy with their schools? With actions like this, the entire school board deserves an "F."

Joan J. Huber


Cutting capital gains tax only helps the wealthy

Sen. Trent Lott urges reducing the capital gains tax from 20 percent to 15 percent ("Lott urges cutting rates on capital gains to 15%," Jan. 14).

Surely Mr. Lott knows that a lot of poor taxpayers do not have any capital gains. If the Republicans want a tax cut, why not give it to all the people -- not just the rich?

If a tax cut is necessary to stimulate the economy, just raise the personal deduction on federal income tax returns.

That way, all workers can enjoy the additional money.

Richard J. Bielski


Linda Chavez got just what she deserved

I echo The Sun's sentiments regarding Linda Chavez: What goes around comes around ("For Chavez, what goes around comes around," editorial, Jan. 10).

Who could forget the mean-spirited campaign she ran against Barbara Mikulski or her slanted views on the nomination of Zoe Baird for attorney general?

A "compassionate conservative"? I don't think so.

Anne L. Osenburg

Perry Hall

King Day parade ought to become a tradition

Mayor Martin O'Malley's start of a Martin Luther King Jr. parade was great. The participation of the African-American, Greek, Italian, Irish and Korean communities showed support for the mayor and great respect for King's memory ("Parade pulls thousands in King's honor," Jan. 16).

I am hopeful that this will parade become a Baltimore tradition.

Leon Bridges


Palestinian `martyrs' are victims of their own leaders

I find certain omissions in The Sun's Middle East reporting extremely troubling and evidence of its pro-Palestinian bias.

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