Protest rally draws families to the streets


ANNAPOLIS -- When schoolteacher Jim Moore decided to be part the largest State House demonstration in years, it quickly turned into a family affair.

After all, 13-year-old Jessica, a student at General Smallwood Middle School in Charles County, felt she had as much at stake as her father -- possibly more.

"They cut archery, track, volleyball, basketball," said Jessica, who had participated in all four sports.

So the family of six marched down Rowe Boulevard toward the State House, a dual-lane highway closed because of the size of )) the rally.

"The teachers are always telling us we have to conserve paper, turn out the lights," Jessica said.

The same goes for Lackey High School, said 14-year-old Adriana and Mr. Moore, who teaches senior English there and oversees the student newspaper. Last month, the school board cut the newspaper budget by a third, Mr. Moore said, but the students decided they could keep publishing if they sold more ads and started running personals.

Clara Moore, active in parents' organizations, said she felt the pinch, too. So do 7-year-old Rachel and 4-year-old Matthew, their parents said, although they seemed more interested in the spectacle of the rally than the issues.

Did the Moores ever envision a day when they would ask to pay more in taxes?

"No," Mr. Moore said, "but this is not the first time. We've gone to our county commissioners and said the same thing."

Angela M. Richards, an Annapolis mother of three, agreed. "I'd rather see the taxes raised for education," she said.

Donna and Lloyd Robertson, school employees from Calvert County, said they did not want legislators to cut more education money, but they didn't want to pay more taxes either.

Their solution: cut out waste. The couple said the Calvert County school system does not waste money, but they believe government in general does.

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