Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

April 06, 2003

County must give children priority

The Sun Howard section has provided interesting reading of late:

"Revamp of special education ordered" (March 30) reported that Maryland and Howard county schools are at risk to lose federal funding based upon inadequate special education services.

"U.S. OKs plan for state's schools" (April 2) reported that all Maryland schools will soon be accountable under No Child Left Behind to meet rigorous performance goals, and special education is a targeted area.

"Special education is focus of session" (April 2) reports that the special education community met with school superintendent John O'Rourke and relayed their frustrations. One of Mr. O'Rourke's responses was " ... if we had more resources, we could be more effective."

"Robey lauded on safety facility" (April 2) reports that the county might fund a $17.2 million firefighter training center as proposed by County Executive James Robey. State Sen. Robert Kittleman was quoted wondering aloud if a school wouldn't be more important.

I can't argue against the need for adequate public safety, but prioritizing any budget necessitates sacrificing or deferring the lowest priorities. In a previous meeting with the special education community, Mr. O'Rourke said that school principals consistently cite lack of resources with regards to special education services. Is this county willing to defer the needs of special education students, or any students for that matter? I certainly hope not.

Anne Long

Ellicott City

Bereavement leave no joking matter

I was sad and disappointed that a Sun staff writer or Sandra H. French, chairman of the Board of Education of Howard County, would use death as a tool to get a laugh when a Howard county teacher requested a day off for bereavement on April 14. ("Howard Co. schools decide to make up snow day April 14," March 30.) That day, originally scheduled as the first day of spring break, is a snow make-up day. According to Mrs. French or the writer, this educator has shown "a bit of planning" in his request.

Educators have families; we are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. Sadly, members of our families die. We are entitled by contract to five bereavement days that need not be taken consecutively. Often there is business to be taken care of well beyond those first days of mourning, and it is more than possible that my colleague arranged to have a memorial service or family gathering out of town, feeling safe in the fact that the board had once declared spring break as untouchable for make-up days.

It is also of concern that an educator's personal business can be published without checking the facts. My fellow educators and I deserve an apology for this professional insult and breach of good taste.

Carol Kilgus

Columbia

Robey wise to delay 12th high school

Many of us applaud the delay of the 12th high school. This is not "eagerly anticipated," as reported by Larry Carson ("Budget issues may postpone a high school," March 30; "Robey submits $148.5 million capital budget," April 1).

The 12th high school property was supposed to be used for a much-needed new northern elementary school. Howard County has 21,675 elementary students and only 17,748 seats: a nearly 4,000-seat deficit. The current deficit in high school seats, according to the school system is approximately 700 seats. This is not even the capacity of one high school! However, many seats are uncounted. Add together the excess core capacity at the four newest high schools, the tech magnet program and the Oakland Mills addition and one "finds" over 1,200 existing and potential seats.

It will be extremely challenging to fill the new high school because the surrounding community consists mostly of large-lot developments. Children will be bused from the east, at considerable expense, to fill that school. Ask the parents of most students who will be redistricted, whether they want to be redistricted yet again, and I think that you will conclude that this is not "eagerly anticipated," as is claimed.

Because of its location, this school will not provide an adequate facility. Mr. Robey is making a wise decision and saving us from a costly mistake. We need to find a better site for this high school.

Lynn Bosco

Ellicott City

Stray dog deserved chance for adoption

After being found abandoned on a highway ("Woman's effort to save dog fails," March 25) a stray chow dog was put to death late Monday. But was it the right thing to do? Basically we have more animals than people to take care of and, unfortunately, this action by animal control happens by the millions each year. It's just a fact of life.

However, when a woman such as Corrine Lerman reads the article and offers to adopt this pooch, why not let her? Why not give a living creature a chance to enjoy life? The reasons for both sides were listed in the article but the moral factor should have tipped the scales in favor of the dog.

It was not a threat to our citizens but rather a creature in need of a home and an animal-loving citizen in need of this creature.

Kenneth Rose

Glenwood

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