Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 11, 2004

The city is right to act to save its own schools

Mayor Martin O'Malley should be applauded for taking control of the city schools' financial crisis ("City took on plan, aware of bond risk," March 10).

The negotiations between the mayor and the governor's administration were a political game. I'm not convinced of the governor's concern for Baltimore's children and teachers. I am convinced that the governor will use any opportunity to hammer the mayor, whether or not the mayor runs against him in 2006.

The city's loan to the school system is a bold move and shows true leadership on the part of the mayor.

Now the City Council should take a proactive role in helping the school system with its fiscal accountability. Additionally, the council should be looking into a new revenue source dedicated solely to funding education.

We can't count on the state for all of our schools' budget. Let's make a bold move and step up to fund the important functions of this city.

And we should proceed with replacing the members of the school board. They are ultimately responsible for this crisis. Keeping them in place will not ensure accountability.

Someone should recruit Baltimore's own fiscal hawk, former state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, to lead the board and make the necessary changes.

Finally, I support the teachers' stand on this issue, but everyone should share the goal of making the system solvent again, and that will mean sacrifices on everyone's part.

Even though the teachers weren't part of the problem, they can be part of the solution by being flexible and offering concessions as the mayor and the school administration fix the financial problems.

Aimee Darrow

Baltimore

Mayor's bold move shows plenty of pluck

Mayor Martin O'Malley's plan to save the city schools may seem an impossible dream and an extremely risky one - as the editorial "All alone" (March l0) pointed out. But one has to admire his pluck.

I personally felt the mayor was treated pretty shabbily in Annapolis.

Now we can only hope that the city will be able to fulfill its commitments to the schools and the children of Baltimore.

Velva Grebe

Towson

Hasty bailout plan imperils city's future

The fiasco of the Baltimore city schools goes from bad to worse. Mayor Martin O'Malley's ego has superseded reason. He is willing to put the city's bond rating at risk in order to avoid the appearance of being trumped by the governor ("City took on plan, aware of bond risk," March 10).

Mr. O'Malley is too egotistical to realize how short-sighted his decision is. It's not only bad for the schools, it's horrendous for the city and all of its dwellers, whether or not they have children enrolled in the city school system.

I watched with horror as the mismanagement of the schools unfolded; now Mr. O'Malley's actions have contributed to the mess and weakened our city.

Liza Thompson

Baltimore

As a long-term Baltimore taxpayer, I have serious doubts about the hastily contrived plan of the mayor and City Council to bail out the city schools.

And I am outraged at the manner in which this plan was developed - out of the scrutiny of the public eye.

The governor's good-faith attempts to negotiate with the city have been met with a last-minute display of grandstanding befitting a disgruntled adolescent who ups the ante before weighing the consequences.

Joseph Magri

Baltimore

O'Malley's pride before city's fall?

Pride goes before a fall? Mayor Martin O'Malley is letting the Baltimore school system pull the city's future and bond rating down with it ("City took on plan, aware of bond risk," March 10).

Instead of eating crow and accepting the state's bailout of the Baltimore school system's complete ineptitude, Mr. O'Malley has put the entire city at an unacceptable and avoidable risk.

If Mr. O'Malley's over-inflated pride continues to lead his campaign for another public office, he will lose.

Erin J. Corsair

Baltimore

Education circus may collapse on city

I see that the circus has come to town, and I am not talking about the one with the elephants and lions. I am talking about the three-ring circus that includes the City Council, the city school board and the teachers union. And the ringmaster is none other than the mayor himself ("City took on plan, aware of bond risk," March 10).

If this group of clowns continue their current ways, the big top will come falling down upon them.

George Pruchniewski

Nottingham

Extend new interest in the city's schools

The mayor has gone into the rainy day fund and borrowed $42 million for the school system ("City rejects state plan, offers own school loan," March 9). But where will the funds to pay the money back come from?

We need to make the city, the school board and the mayor accountable for closer monitoring of the school funds. And the people of Baltimore have to take responsibility for funding their own schools rather than looking to the state for assistance.

I certainly hope that the recent show of concern for the schools by both parents and students is not short-lived.

Shirley Hopkins Thomas

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