Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

August 22, 2004

Start school year after Labor Day

A recent poll indicated that over 85% of those polled would like Carroll County schools to start after Labor Day.

Years ago a pre-Labor Day start was floated as a one-year "fix" for the "problem" of Labor Day arriving late, i.e. on Sept. 7th. No mention was made of it being made a permanent fixture of the school calendar.

Yet years later, we have school starting in August, causing problems for those of us having a standing commitment for Labor Day weekend. We were never given a chance to vote on the shift in the calendar but instead were presented with a calendar that started school before Labor Day and then wrapped up in early June, well before other schools in the area. I've never met anyone who liked this change.

But last year my family was harassed by the administration in our child's school due, in part, to missing school due to our standing Labor Day commitment. I think with such an overwhelming distaste for a pre-Labor Day start, the school board ought to re-think this subject. Adjusting the schedule to start after Labor Day might make the voters feel as though the schools were responsive to their wishes.

Eva Whitley


Property tax burden too much for seniors

Socially and economically, our country, our state and our county are best served when seniors can remain in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

During the last decade in particular, that objective has been sorely tested by twin factors of rapidly escalating medical and prescription drug costs and skyrocketing real estate prices. Medical and drug costs have triggered a national debate, but little has been done to address recent effects on property tax escalation on our senior population.

Some years ago, Maryland instituted a "Circuit Breaker" plan for elderly homeowners that capped property taxes for various defined income levels. Such plans, however generous at inception, need periodic review in light of current conditions. Such a review should look not only at the current plan, but other types of tax relief such as tax deferral or homestead exemption to determine which best meets today's needs. Eligibility criteria must also be examined to determine local needs and applicability.

We believe that rising property taxes are imposing an increasingly heavy burden on many seniors in our county with negative consequences. Your aid in defining and addressing this problem is earnestly solicited.

Ellen Dix


Carroll County Commission on Aging

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