Speak out

October 23, 2005

THE ISSUE: Despite the urging of students, parents, school administrators, politicians and civic leaders, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education voted this month against expanding the school system's rigorous International Baccalaureate program to Meade High School next year. Board members who voted against the expansion said that they weren't against the IB program but that the school system and soon-departing Superintendent Eric J. Smith lack a clear plan for creating high-level educational opportunities throughout the system. Should the IB program be expanded to Meade?

IB could ease crowding problems

Yes, the International Baccalaureate program should be expanded to Meade High School.

The Anne Arundel County Alliance for Fair Land Use was critical of the Board of Education when it placed the first IB in the northern part of our county at Old Mill, which was over capacity.

Then as now, Meade has capacity, and our idea was that it would act as a magnet further improving the school.

Finally, the school board has heard the plea from all of us to do a study regarding capacity. Currently, there are approximately 10,000 empty seats in the system. The capacity study is due out in the spring, and we hope it comes out before the March 2006 expiration of the current county law that has had the effect of creating a building moratorium in most of the county.

This moratorium is one of the causes for the increase in the price of housing. The inability to provide moderate priced housing will eventually cripple our economy as businesses need workers at all salary ranges.

We need to target IB and other magnet courses to schools that have the capacity as one alternative to building more schools. The other action is to redistrict, which in many cases will not require long bus rides. Some facilities should be sold. The most important action is to create the best school system in the state. We can be the best when we use our resources efficiently and commit more funds for education and yes that means fair pay for our teachers. First, the school board has to convince the taxpayers they are getting their money's worth now before they will support an increase in taxes.

John S. Pantelides Annapolis

The writer is the president of the Anne Arundel County Alliance For Fair Land Use

Program hostage to bureaucracy

Bureaucratic red tape is preventing Meade High School from taking part in the IB program. School officials who say the system has no definitive plan for expanding the IB program really mean that the hurdles to be jumped to set-up the program may not be worth it for Meade.

Fine. Meade High School is not ready for the IB program; then, which high school is? North County? Glen Burnie? Meade is not the only school in Anne Arundel, so if it's not prepared to host such a program, find a school that is.

Education is important, and I think that making the IB program available to as many Anne Arundel County students as possible is equally important. Get the lead out county school system and help prepare our kids for the dog-eat-dog world that awaits them.

Justin Cuffley Annapolis



Legislation proposed by Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens would severely limit those ubiquitous road-side signs advertising everything from cheap mortgage rates to open houses to landscaping business on county roads. The so-called "bandit signs" are one of the most effective forms of mass advertising, but many residents don't like the clutter, and say the signs could cause accidents as drivers slow down to read them.


Are the signs really a problem? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your response short and include your name, address and daytime phone number. A selection of responses will be published Sunday.

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