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Letter: Youth's Benefit PTA expresses appreciation to Superintendent, BoE

3:40 PM EDT, September 27, 2012

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Editor:

The Youth's Benefit Elementary School PTA, an organization that represents over 760 families with more than 1,000 students, would like to express their appreciation to Superintendent Tomback and the Members of the Board of Education for acknowledging the need for a new school facility for Youth's Benefit Elementary School by making it the first priority for replacement on the FY2014 Capital Project List. 

The PTA and the community based organization, Build it Now, have worked over the last 18 months to bring attention to the many aging building issues, significant failing infrastructure issues and safety and security concerns that our multi-building facilities create for our students. Elementary school students are the most vulnerable and formative of our student population and it is our responsibility to ensure that they attend safe and secure school facilities that provide an optimal learning environment.

The Board listened patiently to our testimony and gave prudent review of our research and data and came to the right conclusion by making Youth's Benefit the first priority for replacement in the County. We acknowledge that this is the first step in a long process, and we are committed to partnering with both state and local agencies to finish this project that has been 16 years in the making.

We recognize that it was a difficult decision for the Board to depart from their prior decision to include major renovation projects in the CIP pending the county-wide evaluation of all capital projects. It is our opinion that we must continue to build schools in Harford County, particularly in light of the fact that there is significant state funding available and funds have been identified by the County Executive and the County Council. While an evaluation of all of our school projects is clearly needed, we cannot halt all projects in the interim. There are simply too many schools that need to be addressed. 

We will continue to partner with Build It Now to advocate for the children of the aging multi-building elementary schools in the County and highlight their need for renovation or replacement. 

Thank you for allowing the community to be a part of the decision making process and for your tireless efforts to improve our school system.

Laura Runyeon, President

Beth Poggioli, Vice President

Amy Lauer, Treasurer

Heather Johnson, Corresponding Secretary

Krissy Flatau, Recording Secretary