Is EAI using tax funds wisely in city schools?
As an educator and a taxpayer in Baltimore City, I am deeply concerned about whether my education tax dollars are spent wisely. I would like to recommend some budget-cutting measures to take effect immediately.
First, the contract with Education Alternatives Inc. should be terminated. Privatization of public schools is questionable on its face. Moreover, our tax dollars are leaving the city and going to Minneapolis.
EAI seems reluctant to give the city budget or test data or a report on whether the education of Baltimore City students is improving. The only information we can get is that the building are clean.
The company was not in a good financial situation when it it was hired by the city, which raises serious questions. It appears that tax dollars are being used to bail it out, and the company refuses to report to us on how they spend our money.
The company is costing us money we cannot afford. The University of Maryland Baltimore County has to be paid to analyze their test data.
Secondly, the hiring of Sylvan Learning Systems for tutorials in our schools is questionable, since we have teachers who can tutor more cost-effectively and efficiently.
The privatization money could better be used to pay for health suites in the schools, art and music teachers, band instruments, supplies, equipment and maintenance, all of which are needed for a well-rounded education.
There are schools in Baltimore City doing excellent jobs without EAI and Sylvan. Let us use them as models and concentrate on educating, not experimenting on, our children so we can prepare them for productive lives.
Let's not continue to throw good money after bad. Everything that is new or innovative is not necessarily good. Change simply for the sake of change is not in the best interest of anyone.
We need to get rid of the people and programs that do not bode well for students. Too many cooks spoil the broth. We cannot afford any more waste of our tax dollars.
Phyllis C. Green
Regarding your story "Vacant properties continue to vex city" (May 30):
Since there are an estimated 27,000 vacant houses and 25,000 families waiting for a house, why not investigate the properties and declare most of them to be abandoned?
Then give the houses outright to the families, who would take pride in fixing up their own residences.
NB People do not normally harbor a desire to destroy what belongs
to them. If the families were free to buy or sell their houses, they would have a vested interest in making sure their nest egg rose in value.
That would beautify and invigorate the city at no cost to its coffers.
Then it could use that $300 million allocated ($12,000 per family) in vouchers toward removing lead paint or buying building supplies.
John G. Gruver
No liquor allowed
This letter concerns the unfortunate incidents at two recent proms in which the students chose to use buses for transportation and drinking.
I am glad that police were called to the scene by Carolyn J. Nelson, president of the Association of Limousine Operators. Her action may have saved some young lives.
However, I am disappointed that she only called because some of her association members lost business to buses.
The limo drivers did sign a no-alcohol pledge and are to be congratulated for sticking to the prom promise.
But maybe this association also needs to sign a reduced-rate pledge for prom night. The cost to use a limo for a few hours is outrageous -- anywhere from $450 to $600 for two to six seniors.
When you add this to the other necessary expenses of a prom (tickets, dress, tux, flowers, pictures, food,) you are talking about $600 to $700 per couple for four to six hours on prom night.
When you consider that these seniors will also be graduating in two weeks, you can add a couple hundred dollars more for those expenses.
My point is that maybe it is time for the limo association to show that it really is concerned about our young people and offer a reduced rate for prom night.
If they did this, they could rent out more limos and protect more of our young people.
Many parents work very hard to provide a safe prom night by sponsoring an after-prom party. These events have become popular because they are fun, and they are held after the prom until early morning hours.
My PTSA, at Eastern Technical High School, held its first after-prom party this year, and we were very pleased with the response.
We will do it next year and hope more parents and students realize what a good time it can be. In the meantime, I hope the limousine companies will reduce rates for prom nights.
Mary Ann Slomba
Elderly not selfish
Dr. Willard F. Smith's letter in the Forum on May 27 was enlightening. The doctor posits the question: Does living to be an octogenarian make one a better person, or perhaps just more selfish?
The doctor, who stated that he had dedicated 41 years to the medical profession, appears more concerned, not with the well-being of the elderly, but that of future generations.
As parents and grandparents, my husband and I are also concerned about the "burden" that could be placed upon future generations so that human lives could be prolonged.
Nevertheless, if the good doctor had aged parents, many of whom fought bravely in wars, and had scrimped to finance a son or daughter through medical school, but were now frail and surviving on a limited income, desperately requiring medical care, would he feel the public should abandon them and, instead, worry about future generations?
Who, one wonders, is truly selfish? It is gratifying that most thoughtful citizens still view our elderly as one of America's greatest living treasures.
everly K. Fine