City must retain middle class families

What can Baltimore's mayor do to make middle class couples with kids stay put?

As a Baltimore resident, property owner and taxpayer, I have my fingers crossed that Mayor Catherine Pugh's largesse won't increase what we pay to live here ("In first 'State of the City' speech, Baltimore Mayor Pugh says stressing education, services and jobs will fight crime," March 16). She pointed out crime is symptomatic of "unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, hopelessness and homelessness." As someone who studies history, I understand.

Mayor Pugh wants employment vans and expanding summer jobs for youth. That's great. yet isn't it ironic so many in the city and in city government are doing all in their power to derail the efforts of Kevin Plank and his Port Covington development? And summer jobs are available but thanks to the U.S. Department of State, many go to foreigners who are imported under the Summer Work Travel Program (J-1 visas). It would be wise for Mayor Pugh and City Council members to address this issue with representatives in Washington.

The sad reality that Baltimore schools fail our young people is often cited as the major reason for crime. However, if Mayor Pugh would read what Tricia Bishop wrote in her recent commentary, she'd learn a lot. Ms. Bishop, who is also The Sun's deputy editorial page editor, illustrates the "Catch-22' in the city's K-12 public schools ("The Catch-22 in Baltimore schools," March 16).

It's disgraceful that parents in a "solidly middle-class" neighborhood who want to send their kids to public schools are loath to do so and feel compelled to move elsewhere to secure a decent education. Even our new schools' CEO, Sonja Santelesis, admitted she was sending her eldest child to a private school.

It's time the North Avenue administrators find ways to keep middle-class families in the public school system. Furthermore, this demographic must be brought into the conversation immediately.

R. E. Heid, Baltimore

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