Letters to the Editor - Sept. 19

September 19, 2012

School construction should be high quality

To the editor:

This letter is in response to several statements that were made by Deputy School Superintendent Boyd Michael concerning the new Bester Elementary School.

Michael stated that prevailing wages are higher than nonprevailing wages. That’s a real shocker! He goes on to state that the State of Maryland sets the prevailing wage rate for all construction crafts that perform work in Washington County. The reason for prevailing wage is so that construction workers on a state project will receive a livable wage.

Why would the citizens of Washington County not want the highest skilled construction workers available to construct a school where their children will spend a great deal of time in the coming years? If this school is constructed using nonprevailing wages I can assure you that most of the construction workers will be less skilled and most will come from out of state or even out of this country. What good will workers who don’t pay taxes in this state or even this country do for the State of Maryland concerning future projects for our state?

In closing, I would like to ask Michael if he thinks the teachers of Washington County are over paid? If not, why do you think that the men and women who have served a four or five year apprenticeship in their trade are not entitled to make a livable wage?

Michael Adams
Cumberland, Md.

Confidence in local leaders is diminishing

To the editor:

I was outraged when I read the article regarding the County Commissioners not funding maintenance for the county schools because of lack of funds. 

I am a life-long resident of this county and have sometimes been disappointed in elected officials in the past, but nothing compares to the current activity in both the county and the city.  I do not live inside the city, but as most county residents, I feel like I am part of the city.  I work there, eat there frequently, shopped inside the city when it was available, and conduct various other business inside the city limits. 

Maintenance of the schools can go by the wayside, but money can be found to help fund a ball stadium that, from reading the newspaper and listening to conversations throughout the area, is not wanted by the majority of the people.  

And why would you put a ball stadium in the middle of town, beside two residential buildings for the elderly and displace successful businesses? Why not the site of the old hospital? There is already a parking garage and it is closer to the interstate, as well as other major roads. 

All of the long established businesses have vacated and empty storefronts are left behind. A new stadium is not going to bring them back or give new “shopping friendly” businesses impetus to open. I noticed in a recent article that the city was giving some rent relief to second-floor rentals or first-floor nonstorefront businesses. That will really give a business an incentive to locate there.  Shopping is what will bring the inner city back to life. You can’t do that without giving incentives to store front rentals.

Since the multi-use stadium is such a fly in the ointment, why not let the voters decide if they wish to have their taxes spent on such an endeavor. Perhaps you could raise the price of admission to all the games so that the 400 or so people that attend would  pay as least a fair share.  

To our esteemed county commissioners, you should hang your heads as you read the article about not funding school maintenance. I mistakenly thought that intelligent, reasonable people were guiding our county and city, but it seems that the public agenda has taken a back seat to the personal agenda of our elected officials.  I hope all the voters see where your priorities lie and vote accordingly.

Barbara Caton-Miles
Big Pool

People make the school — and community

To the editor:

Almost every day I read a story about options for revitalizing our community (downtown Hagerstown specifically) and it is almost always about businesses, buildings, stadiums, street beautification, etc. No one is talking about the people, the kids who live there. People are what make a community not objects.

I am a parent of a kindergartener at Bester Elementary. My oldest daughter just started the magnet program at Williamsport Elementary in 2nd grade but was at Bester before that. Bester Elementary is the primary school for that community and it needs help. Yes, we are getting a new building, but a new building is not going to solve our problems.

One of the criteria that most families look at when choosing where to live is the schools in the area and with Bester Elementary’s undeserved bad reputation our community will always be an undesirable place.

Bester has the best teachers. Teachers alone, however, cannot help our children succeed. The schools funds are mostly for what is known as Common Core. The rest is supplemented by funds raised by the PTA and the community. The one thing that is lacking at Bester is extensive parent and community support. I am already noticing a huge difference in parent/community involvement between the two schools that my daughters attend. For example: the PTA at Williamsport is expecting to make at least $25,000 this year just on a walk-a-thon (and I was told that they would make that if not more), Bester on the other hand made $5,000 last year. There is a difference in the parent/student participation in events as well.

I volunteer as much as I can because I believe that every moment I spend helping my daughter’s school will be a benefit to her. I have ideas about partnerships that we can form between government, businesses, schools, arts and citizens in our community that can better us all. The best part is — it can be done with very little funds.

For questions and comments please contact me at Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kostadinka “Kay” Papeskov

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