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Letters to the Editor 12/21

December 27, 2001

Letters to the Editor 12/21



Don't raise board salaries



To the editor:

Ho! Ho! Ho! Here comes Santa Claus (alias the taxpayer) - if members of the county delegation fall for Interim School Superintendent Betty Morgan's pitch for an increase in school board salaries.

There is no reason they should and I hope they exercise better judgment. School board members' salaries are already the fourth highest in the state despite the fact that Washington County's population ranks ninth in the state. Further, in findings released this past August, Washington County's Salary Study Commission found that school board salaries were "in line with those of their counterparts across the state."

The fact that school board members in certain other counties enjoy publicly financed personal computers, fax machines, travel expense accounts and other amenities has little bearing on school board needs in Washington County. And Del. Chris Shank is right on one point: Slush funds are an invitation to abuse. For example, if travel funds were authorized there is little question some board members would indeed travel - much of which would be only remotely related to school business.

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Washington County is relatively small, telephone service is good and there is little need for extensive travel or long distance communication.

The claim that higher salaries are necessary to attract good candidates is debatable. In fact, the opposite may be true. (Do we really need candidates whose primary attraction for candidacy is the desire to grab the salary? Is not a desire for public service a more admirable trait?) In short, I question the relationship between higher salaries and candidate quality.

Please note the interim superintendent has already imposed an additional burden of approximately $200,000 per year on Washington County taxpayers by appointing two administrative assistants (one imported with her) whose functions appear to overlap the purposes for which she is employed.

I question her motive in recommending further spending in the form of increased salaries for school board members. Why is she so eager to court school board favor? Could it be because board members will name Washington County's next superintendent of schools?

Delegation chairman Bob McKee has stated the delegation "would really be happy to look at (the proposal)." We urge the delegation to do just that - and nothing more.

Paul G.H. Wolber
Hagerstown




Redistricting policy available



To the editor:

A number of inquiries have come to the Blue Ribbon Redistricting Committee (BRRC) concerning the guidelines the committee and the elected board used to consider in making recommendations and decisions on redistricting schools.

The fourteen guidelines are found in board policy in the Redistricting Regulations, File JCB-R. Inquiries are most received about these guidelines:

  • provide space for future growth
  • balance minority enrollments
  • alleviate overcrowding
  • minimalize economic differences between school populations as much as feasible
  • pertinent variables added by the elected board.


A complete copy of JCB-R will be available is available from the Board of Education. Call 301-766-2823. The BRRC did consider these factors and others in our deliberations.

John J. Hull
Co-Chair, BRRC
Hagerstown




Swan treatment is cruel



To the editor:

Regarding your Nov. 22 article about preventing swans from flying: Hey, tell like it is.

Feathers are not removed. The bird is subject to amputation of the end joint of one wing. The procedure is called pinion.

See your dictionary. A bird's wing has three parts. Compare it to the human arm. The procedure is comparable to cutting off your hand, only it's done with no anesthesia - only a needle, a piece of string and cutting shears. It's cruel and deprives a bird of its freedom so a bunch of people who like to view birds in captivity can feel good or feel city pride by looking at them.

I suppose ignorance is bliss for these so-called animal lovers and the Hagerstown City officials.

Robert Ayers
Hagerstown

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