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Letters to the editor 8/14

August 14, 2002

Board doesn't endorse development



To the editor:


In the Tuesday, Aug. 6, Herald-Mail article "Shaool touts handsome plan" regarding a revised plan for a 599-unit housing complex the project engineer, Willis E. Weikert, is quoted as saying that the "Washington County Board of Education endorsed the complex because it is planning an elementary school near the site, close to Eastern Elementary School." Weikert is further quoted that the Board "embraced this subdivision because that will make it more attractive to put another elementary school there."

After reading these statements I feel compelled to set the record straight. The elected Board of Education of Washington County is not in the business of embracing or endorsing any housing development in the county. The elected board has in no way endorsed this proposal and no discussion of building a new school to accommodate this plan has occurred.

It is important that the citizens of Washington County know that the Superintendent's staff regularly monitors and reports to the board about county growth and development trends.

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Additionally, a standing committee of the board comprised of stakeholders monitor enrollment trends and the possible need for redistricting. As an example, several months ago the board approved a recommendation by the superintendent to change the attendance boundaries for the newly approved housing complex to be located behind The Centre at Hagerstown before ground was broken on a single new residence.

Finally, despite the redistricting plan approved by the board, which will reduce the enrollment at Eastern Elementary by approximately 75 students, the school remains very near capacity. The board is acutely aware of the increased growth in the eastern portion of the county and for the potential for overcrowding at Eastern Elementary. As growth changes occur in any area of the county, the board may respond as necessary to balance enrollment through redistricting, consolidation, additions to existing facilities or new buildings.

W. Edward Forrest,

President

Washington County Board of Education

Hagerstown




Magnet schools ignore lower rungs



To the editor:


I was disturbed to learn that in these times of massive budget shortfalls there are some who believe that now is a good time to create Washington County's first magnet school.

First I should like to point out that magnet schools were originally the creation of urban and suburban jurisdictions that sought to use magnet schools as a way to get around forced busing and integration. They were designed to get parents from affluent majority population neighborhoods to ship their children off to minority neighborhoods by creating superior schools in inferior areas. What a classic "politically correct" and morally questionable move that was.

OK, so why do we need magnet schools in our county? I honestly cannot imagine the reason. However I do know who we are hurting by this misallocation of resources.

We are hurting the bottom rung of students. The students who truly come from disadvantaged homes. The students who have no books at home and no one who cares to read to them.

I believe that if we have extra money to improve some areas of our county educational system that those monies should be used to uplift our poorest and least performing students, not used to give additional advantages to those students who are already most advantaged and most likely to succeed in our educational system and in their lives after school.

Additionally, I believe that any extra money at this time should be used to compensate teachers and to purchase books and supplies, not to create magnet schools or remodel buildings!

Teachers teach not buildings. Perhaps some of the very best learning and progress that was ever made in the United States Of America was done before air-conditioned buildings with all of the frills. I went to such a place, and I believe that I learned my lessons very well in that environment. We need to develop our teacher corps. Our youth is our future and our teachers are our bridge to our youth. Let us fail neither.

Really! Is there anyone out there who truly believes that spending money to create specialized magnet schools is fair to the average and below average students and their families?

Let us use any extra resources during these lean times to reach out to the least among us, those students and families who most need a caring society and local government to see to their needs and to nourish their aspirations. As a society we have a duty and an obligation to look after the best interests of everyone, not just a chosen few.

Rodney T. Pearson Sr.

Keedysville




Let the fee apply to all



To the editor:


If your heat goes off on a cold winter's night, who do you call so you don't shiver until morning? I guess the city rental inspector.

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