Time to act over schools is now



March 25, 2007

I appreciate the many local residents who turned out at our Town Council meeting last week. In the course of the meeting, I learned three important things.

One, we were right to worry about the planned northeast area high school. Carroll County budget director Ted Zaleski made his recommendation to the Carroll County commissioners the day of our meeting. A new high school for our area was NOT RECOMMENDED for funding in the county's Capital Improvement Plan. While the county commissioners have not made a final decision, the recommendation from Mr. Zaleski is an unsettling turn of events.

Two, the enrollment projections provided by the Board of Education are deeply flawed. The board's analysis does not account for the actions taken by Hampstead, Manchester and Carroll County to slow (or stop) residential growth.

Residents who attended the meeting were sharply critical of the projections and the notion that 400 high school students will simply disappear from the growing North Carroll area over the next 10 years. We heard from parents, teachers and administrators who see the overcrowding at North Carroll High School every day. No one feels that we should tolerate another decade of portable classrooms and no one believes the Board of Education's numbers.

Three, the only way to save this school is to work hard, work fast and work together. We need to let the county commissioners know that the Board of Education's enrollment projections deserve a failing grade. We need concerned residents to call or write our board of commissioners.

The easiest way to reach the commissioners is by e-mail: Julia Walsh Gouge, jgouge@ccg.carr.org; Dean L. Minnich, dminnich@ccg.carr.org; Michael D. Zimmer, mzimmer@ccg.carr.org.

It also will help our cause to contact members of the Carroll County Board of Education: Gary W. Bauer, gwbauer@k12.carr.org;

Cynthia L. Foley, clfoley@k12.carr.org;

Patricia W. Gadberry, pwgadbe@k12.carr.org;

Barbara Shreeve, bjshree@k12.carr.org; Thomas G. Hiltz, tghiltz@k12.carr.org.

There is a link on the Board of Education Web site where you can send an e-mail to all of the members simultaneously: http:--www.carrollk12.org/boe/members.aspx.

During the meeting, I made the point that when it comes to building schools in Carroll County, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We need to help the commissioners and the Board of Education understand our situation and make the right choice. Thank you in advance for your continued support.

Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. Mayor of Hampstead

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