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The Baltimore Sun

Letter: Fallston encouraged to support Youth's Benefit Elementary replacement project

Editor: 

On behalf of the Greater Fallston Association, I respectfully invite the greater Fallston community to  come out and support the children of Youth's Benefit at the Board of Education Public Input Hearing on Monday, Aug. 20, from 6-8 p.m. In accordance with its charter, the Greater Fallston Association is charged with encouraging the improvement of schools in the Fallston community. In this regard, the GFA fully supports the efforts of the Youth's Benefit Elementary PTA, the Fallston Community Council and Build It Now to ask that Youth's Benefit be the top priority for replacement in Harford County.

Youth's Benefit is one of the largest elementary schools in the state and enrolls more than 1,000 elementary students from Baldwin to Joppa along the route 152 corridor. The Fallston community is home to some of the highest performing schools in the county.

Previous Boards of Education placed Youth's Benefit on the capital improvement list more than 16 years ago beginning in 1996. A SCOPE study was completed in 2007 for Youth's Benefit and as a result the project is shovel ready, meaning that the project is 95 percent complete with regard to the design and development phase of construction. The challenges of Youth's Benefit have been documented and the facility has received no major upgrades because it was to be replaced with one, single, safe structure.

The GFA agrees with County Executive David R. Craig, that all multi-building elementary schools should be prioritized for replacement and are pleased that the county's bond rating is secure and will retain its triple A status. We understand that Harford County has chosen not to forward fund schools, but we are aware that the state will be including a significant amount of money for school construction, in the state budget. In May of this year, the Harford County Council expressed support for this project in next year's county capital budget.

The time is right for this project now. Please come out to support your community at the August 20th Board of Education public input hearing and wear your Gator Green.

Our children deserve the right to attend school in a safe, secure, healthy learning environment.

Beth Poggioli, President

Greater Fallston Association

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