Thanking all who helped save Ferndale Elementary On...

Letters

October 28, 2001

Thanking all who helped save Ferndale Elementary

On behalf of the entire Ferndale Community - and especially the members of the Save Ferndale Elementary School Committee - I wish to express our most sincere thanks to a number of people who are instrumental in our continued efforts to save our beloved elementary school and, in fact, our community as a whole.

First and foremost, our most heartfelt thanks go to the Anne Arundel school board for their willingness to support our goal of keeping Ferndale open. And thanks to Vaughn Brown, as well, for he has been a worthy opponent. His eloquent arguments to close Ferndale inspired us to transform our philosophy and goals from solely an emotional platform to a more serious and all-encompassing plan of action.

We also wish to thank our County Council representative, Pam Beidle, whose participation and guidance have been instrumental in helping us organize our plan.

I would also like to thank Liz Wagner (a member of our committee) and also the representative of state Senator DeGrange's office. She too offered hours of volunteerism as well as integral advice for the presentation of our plans.

There are numerous members of the community and the committee who gave their time to write letters, sign petitions and donate postage.

Additionally, there are a number of people who gave tirelessly of their personal time, and I do wish to thank them. ...

We whole-heartedly agree with Dr. Parham that a "paint-and-patch" fix is not what the school or our children deserve. Our children do deserve the very best ... just like Crofton and Severna Park and Annapolis and the West County schools.

And that is our plan. We are not planning a quick fix for Ferndale. We have developed a multi-year plan to completely rehabilitate the school ... not just a paint and patch for the next school year.

We plan to follow through with this project until Ferndale is mold- and mildew-free, with air-conditioned classrooms, increased enrollment, thereby receiving a clean bill of health to remain alive and well for the next 76 years! This first step of the school board approving our ideation of saving our old school for a new century is just the beginning.

Yes, we will need to campaign ardently for the budget. But our community and our very active committee are willing to do everything in their power to help. We have an opportunity to create a new model for success for Anne Arundel County that can be used for all of our older schools. ...

Just how do we plan to do this? We are taking yet another step by working with the Engineering Society of Baltimore. This non-political organization has contacted us to see if they may be of assistance with our cause. They will provide engineers and architects to review the space with a new eye to see if the rehabilitation process can be approached in a more affordable manner.

We've also been talking with another fantastic organization, Save Our Schools, which is headquartered in Annapolis, about securing window air-conditioners to help with that additional expense relief to an already over-taxed budget.

What does this mean? This allows us to help save ourselves while helping with the county's budget constraints. Now that the school board has approved Ferndale remaining open and believes in our business plan, we may now proceed as allies rather then adversaries.

This allows us to channel our collective energy into a positive outcome.

What about the low enrollment? Well, our student roster increased by 15 percent this year ... in light of not only a crumbling building, but a crumbling attitude as well.

This school is not just brick and mortar, it is the lifeblood of our unique little neck of the woods. ... As for sending our children to the "open seats" in the North County feeder system, we have one question: Which elementary school has 157 seats open right now without overcrowding classrooms, removing science and/or computer labs and will not require building more classroom space? Certainly not Cromwell, Lindale or Linthicum elementary schools! Ours is a quest to ensure the safety of our most precious resource, the children of Ferndale Elementary School.

While doing so, we also protect our beloved community as well.

Thanks again to all of Ferndale's supporters! God bless you!

Louise E. Layton "Jr."

Chairman, Save Ferndale Elementary School Committee

Be true to U.S. ideals: let bin Laden stand trial

In the Wild West, posses rounded up crooks who were hanged in "necktie parties." But this vigilante justice became obsolete long ago. We esteem our country's founders for their insuring justice by jury trials, defense lawyers, and rights of appeal.

Currently our country is suffering from ruthless violence. Osama bin Laden is said to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans and for indirectly sacrificing the lives of thousands of Middle East people.

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