Letters To The Editor


February 12, 2004

City's loan plan is preferable to school layoffs

Although it may seem unfair, Mayor Martin O'Malley's proposed 3.5 percent temporary pay cut for teachers, which the city would pay back, ought to be accepted by the Baltimore Teachers Union ("Mayor offers loan to ease school crisis," Feb. 11).

In this face-off, teachers should not delude themselves that it will not take a sacrifice from them to set things right. Employees of companies such as Enron and WorldCom got no chance to vote on pay cuts or layoffs when the misdeeds of upper management brought those companies to financial ruin. They were simply shown the door and told to get out.

Opting for a draconian layoff of 1,200 teachers rather than a temporary pay cut would only lead to hellish days of bulging classrooms with the remaining teachers forced to deal with the chaos while the lives of the students are disrupted and the academic gains made thus far are placed in jeopardy.

Andrew Williams


O'Malley overlooked schools for too long

Let me see if I have this right - our mayor, who has done all he can to give welfare to corporations and developers, now wants to "lend" the city schools $8 million only if teachers agree to $8 million in pay cuts ("Mayor offers loan to ease school crisis," Feb. 11)?

The same teachers that we demand serve not only as educators of our children, but also as social workers, therapists, mothers, fathers, role models and all-around saviors?

Perhaps our mayor should have taken more notice of the city schools when former CEO Carmen V. Russo was doing whatever it was that she did to put the school system in financial dire straits.

Cathy Brennan


Don't blame teachers for the budget woes

The Sun's headline "City teachers reject cost cuts" (Feb. 7) was misleading. Teachers are not opposed to reasonable budgeting practices. City teachers rejected a pay cut, as they should have.

The teachers are not responsible for the school system's budget woes. They were not being driven around by a chauffeur paid over $100,000.

Is city schools CEO Bonnie S. Copeland taking a pay cut? Is Mayor Martin O'Malley taking a pay cut?

David Firestone


With all this talk about teachers taking pay cuts and furloughs, I was just wondering if anyone has asked if the city schools' CEO, who is making more than $100,000, is going to take a pay cut.

And what about all the others who work with her? Maybe they should set an example.

How can they ask people who work hard for a living with kids with lots of problems, and put out a lot of their own money to help the kids, to take a pay cut while they still go home with more money than several teachers put together?

Ellen Marble


Teachers look out only for themselves

It's a sad day for the students of Baltimore now that it is apparent that so many of their teachers are more concerned about their finances than educating the youths of the city. This must be the case, or the teachers wouldn't have rejected the proposal that might have kept 1,000 or more school personnel on the job ("City teachers reject cost cuts," Feb. 7).

If the schools' principals could agree to give up some of their pay, why couldn't teachers make the same sacrifice?

It looks like an "every man for himself" attitude got the best of many of the teachers.

Mary F. Kollner


Schools' CEO, staff should take pay cut

A good leader leads from the front. To show her commitment to the Baltimore school system, its CEO, Bonnie S. Copeland, should encourage employees of all unions to vote for a pay cut by offering to cut her own salary by an equal percentage and request a similar sacrifice from her staff ("Mayor offers loan to ease school crisis," Feb. 11).

While this would be a lesser hardship for her than the pay cuts would be for janitors, secretaries and teachers, it would send a morale-boosting message to everyone and might convince union members to make the decision to preserve the jobs of their colleagues and maintain services for the city's children.

It would also be an additional motivator for the people in charge to become and remain fiscally responsible.

Sabine Oishi


The state must take full control of schools

Please let the state take over complete control of the Baltimore school system ("Mayor offers loan to ease school crisis," Feb. 11).

I am begging for someone to help these children, and I believe that this is the only way that will happen.

Michael Harper


Teachers will bear some of the costs

The writers of the letter "Unfair to make teachers pay for budget shortfall" (Feb. 6) and the column "Pay up, Maryland" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 6) display incredible naivete in suggesting that it is unfair for teachers to bear the burden of budget shortfalls.

It may not be fair, but it is reality. In the real world of the private sector, the brunt of financial shortfalls is always borne by those at the bottom of the ladder.

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