Andrea Manfredonia's inaccurate Speakout response (July 22) regarding the closing of the KIPP Harbor Academy requires a response.
When KIPP began the charter school process three years ago, its organizers agreed to find a permanent facility that would be able to house the increasing number of children that would attend every year. Unfortunately, this goal was not achieved.
For more than four months, the county executive's staff worked tirelessly with the KIPP board of directors and consultants to find a suitable location. Confirming their commitment to all children in Anne Arundel County, the superintendent of schools and County Executive John R. Leopold offered several alternatives that were unacceptable to the KIPP leadership.
KIPP is in the business of providing alternatives to barriers facing many children, particularly minority youth. Its business plan for Anne Arundel County proved not to be a sound foundation for sustaining itself.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. The county executive's office will provide all 107 children with a one-year membership to the Boys and Girls Club anywhere in Anne Arundel County. Also, through a pre-existing partnership between county government and Anne Arundel Community College Parenting Center, KIPP parents will have access to many classes designed to enhance and improve their quality of life.
County Executive Leopold, as a delegate, sponsored the legislation that made charter schools possible in Maryland, legislation that has the greatest positive impact on minority children. It is through this administration that we have an opportunity to partner with the community and the school system to conquer the many challenges facing our children each and every day.
Sheryl E. Banks
The writer is the special assistant for minority affairs for County Executive John R. Leopold.