Another small turnout at second Harford school budget input session

A second public workshop on Harford County Public Schools' new operating budget drew another small turnout at Patterson Mill Middle and High School on Friday afternoon.

Six parents, teachers and community members spoke and asked school system leaders to support funding for school construction projects like Youth's Benefit Elementary School in Fallston, increased technology programs, teacher raises and better transportation for magnet students.

All told, about a dozen people attended the hearing.

Rachel Burbey said she is concerned about bus depots and the new transportation routes that were created over the summer and that have drawn plenty of criticism from parents.

She said her son has to walk 1.77 miles along Route 22 in Aberdeen to get to school, which is "not safe."

She added her son was once approached by a stranger on his walk.

"Luckily he was able to get away from this person," she said.

She noted that the Harford Transit bus passes down that route and suggested the school system pay for students to take public transportation. She said it would cost her about $20 monthly.

Laura Runyeon, president of the Youth's Benefit PTA, asked the school system to provide sufficient funding for the school, noting that funding cuts resulted in the inability to continue certain music programs

Deb Clifford said her son attends Aberdeen High, which is focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) but she has not really seen a commitment to that program.

Roger Spaulding, a teacher at Patterson Mill, said he was not complaining about teachers' salaries but noted teachers have not had a pay raise in a while.

"To me, it's simple. The county executive has to release more money. This is a very affluent county," Spaulding said.

Future public input sessions are set for Jan. 8, 13 and 15.

More information on the budget process is available at

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