Maryland needs more revenue to support schools In this...


January 05, 2003

Maryland needs more revenue to support schools

In this tight budget climate, at least one thing is still guaranteed: Maryland's 1 million school-age children are still guaranteed an adequate education by the Maryland Constitution.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening appointed the Thornton Commission to determine the new money needed to meet the education needs of every child and finally fulfill Maryland's constitutional commitment.

But the commission's recommendations for increased state aid assumed stable levels of local education spending. And about 90 percent of state aid to local areas is currently spent on education.

Thus any severe cut to state aid to localities is a threat to the goals of the Thornton Commission ("School districts fear they will get shorted on aid," Dec. 22). And this makes a revenue-adding solution to our current fiscal crisis all the more urgent.

Indeed, the Thornton bill passed last year postpones fully adequate education funding until fiscal 2008. A cut in state aid to local areas would, in effect, further delay adequate education.

There is no room for less education funding in this state; Thornton money is simply filling the holes in the floor, not even touching the ceiling. Relative to personal income, even with the new funds promised, Maryland would still rank only 35th in the nation in education spending.

During the campaign, Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. pledged full funding for the Thornton legislation. To fulfill the intent and the spirit of this commitment, the governor-elect should take the lead in working with the state's leaders to reform Maryland's inadequate revenue structure.

David McNear


The writer is director of sustainable funding for Advocates for Children and Youth.

State workers eager for new leadership

While a few do-nothing appointees are rightfully worried about their state jobs, the real workers are upbeat about the changes and are looking forward to honest leadership ("Md.'s change of power is creating job anxiety," Dec. 26).

There has been a problem with management in the state of Maryland. The budget deficit is real. And some state departments and agencies have operated as little fiefdoms, given a cute and interesting spin to law and regulation and increased spending to promote their own agenda rather than do state business and serve the citizens.

Maryland's state services will change for the better under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Why should we fear an administration that will care about the people who do the work and has promised to reform and restructure a broken system?

This "State employee for Ehrlich" and thousands more are eager to show the new boss what we can do.

Nancy Hoyt

Severna Park

Require politicians to use mass transit

I was glad to see The Sun's editorial "Save the safety net" (Dec. 30) at least question how poor individuals leaving welfare for work are going to have transportation to get to work if funding for transportation is one of the items cut in the state budget.

The solution to this dilemma is to issue a challenge to all state politicians of all localities and political persuasions to give up their private vehicles for a temporary period and rely exclusively upon public transportation, as many of those moving from welfare to work must do.

If politicians had to rely on public transportation, there would be a maglev depot in every cul-de-sac from Friendsville to Marydel in no time.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.


It's not the liberals who exploit racism

The letter "Liberals divide country by race" (Dec. 27) argues that it's the liberals who are "dividing the country by race."

How strange. I didn't know that Sen. Trent Lott was a liberal. I didn't know liberals were the ones who crafted President Nixon's "Southern strategy" or the GOP's Willie Horton campaign ads.

It surprises me that Ronald Reagan and the Rev. Jerry Falwell were expressing liberal biases when they denounced the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a communist and his movement as subversive. And I was certainly unaware that liberals ran those Christian fundamentalist schools where interracial dating is forbidden.

Oh, how tricky those wicked liberals are - masquerading as right-wing conservatives.

Robert Birt


South African issues were also divisive

As a peace activist who was involved in the South Africa divestment movement, I appreciated The Sun's report on a new call to end the brutal occupation of the Palestinians ("Investment in Israel new target of campus protest," Dec. 21). However, the article's historical perspective was misleading. It suggested the anti-apartheid movement received a broad base of support, while today's divestment movement is divisive.

But the South African divestment movement was just as divisive. We anti-apartheid activists were scorned by many, including students, professors and college administrators and, for sure, a majority of politicians.

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