Maryland children in private schools merit state support...


March 08, 2002

Maryland children in private schools merit state support

In the editorial regarding the $5 million the state is spending for private school textbooks, The Sun says there's nothing wrong with the idea that the state's obligation to educate should extend to needy children in all classrooms ("All mixed up on schools," March 1).

But it goes on to say that "the state's first obligation is to its own children, the ones who attend public schools and couldn't dream of a private education ... it's near insulting ... to consider diverting public money to other kids."

In other words, those needy children whose parents have the temerity to make additional sacrifices to steer their kids clear of failing public schools and provide them with a sound education are not entitled to what amounts to a relative crumb from the state's education budget.

After all, these are not the "state's own children"; they're "other kids," and should be treated as the outsiders they are - and never mind that the state hungrily collects and spends their parents' tax dollars just the same as anyone else's.

Doug Lombardo


In the editorial "All mixed up on schools," Sally Grant points out that "public schools make do or go without because they don't get what they need from state funding." I would like her to think what impact the public school would incur if 10 percent of private school students were to attend public school next year.

Would the impact cost more than $5 million? Would the public school system be able to find enough teachers to handle this influx of children?

Maybe I should head a lobby group to encourage parents to send their children to public school for a year to see if the state can handle that situation.

Richard E. Donovan

Ellicott City

State's historic tax credits are key to city's revitalization

I urge Sen. Barbara Hoffman to reconsider legislation she has proposed regarding state historic tax credits ("Tax credits vital for city turnaround," Feb. 24).

These tax credits have been the lifeblood of redevelopment in Baltimore. Projects such as Tide Pointe, the American Can Company, the Riviera and the Hippodrome would have never left the drawing board without these credits.

After a decade-long development drought in Baltimore, we are beginning to see signs of light. To stifle this development now, in this economic climate, would be catastrophic to revitalization efforts.

I understand times are tight for the state budget, however Ms. Hoffman must look elsewhere for money.

Katherine O'Doherty


Republicans support reform of county development laws

In two columns, Michael Olesker sang the praises of potential Democratic candidates for Baltimore County executive ("Goal of Venetoulis supporters: See Ted run," Feb. 24, and "Smith seeks to lead county that's vastly different," Feb. 28).

The problem with Ted Venetoulis and Jim Smith is not that they are old candidates, but that their policies are old.

Consider the issue of development. Mr. Venetoulis laid the groundwork for massive development in Owings Mills and White Marsh. Jim Smith, as a county councilman from Owings Mills, led the charge for higher-density growth.

Mr. Smith may talk poetically about the need to preserve our green spaces, but his actions opened the floodgates for growth that has consumed hundreds of acres of farms and forests.

Baltimore County desperately needs change. Development laws need to be reformed and the community must be better involved in county decisions. The Republicans running for county office support such changes.

Ron Etzel


The writer is vice chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party.,

Modell family continues to take city to the cleaners

Michael Olesker's column on Art Modell's failure to pay for the Owings Mills practice facility, after paying just $1 a year for five years, should be faxed to the mayor and the governor ("Modell fumbles in comments about city-Ravens dispute," Feb. 26).

Instead of being grateful it only cost him $5 to lease the facility for five years, Mr. Modell feels he's under no obligation to pay the fair market price in the future.

Do the people who represent us know what is going on? How does Mr. Modell get away with this?

Barbara Blumberg


It's about time someone reminded Baltimore and its citizens how Art Modell and his staff raped the football-hungry fans when he came to Baltimore.

The city wanted a team, and paid dearly for it - and it will continue to do so as long as Mr. Modell thinks he can get away with it.

Wake up, Baltimore, you're being used.

Bill Wernecke


Cartoon took a cheap shot at Allfirst and its employees

I must protest The Sun's Feb. 27 editorial cartoon. It was a cheap shot at thousands of honest, caring people as they try to right their institution and make good their business after an appalling incident involving just a half-dozen people.

The cartoonist's superficial caricature of stage-villain bankers maligns banking, Allfirst and its employees.

O.M. Hughes


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