After school audit, better oversight must be enacted
Some of us have spent years trying to alert the public, the school board and the county commissioners to the mismanagement and excesses of the Carroll County Department of Education (DOE).
Our intent was to point out that a lot of taxpayers' money -- in the millions of dollars -- was being spent unwisely.
In light of the Bennett report, there is no pleasure in saying "I told you so," because the wasted funds cannot be recovered and even more tax dollars will be needed before adequate corrective measures have been completed ("Carroll commissioners hire outside auditor for schools," April 5).
No one can deny -- not even the board of education -- that Carroll County's school administrators are well-paid and rewarded with exceptional benefits, but unfortunately these positions have been traditionally filled with cronies rather than competent applicants.
Some board members are quick to point out that "qualified" people have been appointed, but there is a great difference between "qualified" and "competent."
We are learning this at great expense.
School administrators and rubber stamp board members are not the only ones to blame for the mismanagement of school funds.
One person who stands out, for being not only a county commissioner during all of the DOE mismanagement but the liaison between the two boards until last year, is Commissioner Donald Dell.
Why didn't he ever alert the other commissioners about the mismanagement and waste and advise a halt to forward funding?
Julia Gouge, during her previous term as commissioner, was the lone voice trying to alert the other county commissioners and the public to the DOE's excesses. But she was was always ridiculed and then outvoted.
I hope Ms. Gouge and Robin Frazier can now halt the impending financial disaster brought on by the high taxes and bonded debt used to finance the DOE's blunders.
The DOE operating budget is larger than the rest of the county departments' budgets combined. For years we begged the commissioners to create a position for an analyst who would focus exclusively on DOE funding and expenditures and answer solely to the commissioners.
I hope the commissioners now see why this is needed.
John Gary, former county executive of Anne Arundel County, and his assistant, Alan Levy, recently met with representatives of Carroll County and our commissioners to explain how Anne Arundel County successfully corrected the same problems we are experiencing with our DOE.
Are we ready now to learn from their experience?
I believe there is a fiduciary responsibility on the part of public officials, especially elected ones, to exercise greater wisdom over the expenditures of public funds.
If the county commissioners allocate millions of dollars of public money to any department, they should also exercise oversight over those funds to assure the money isn't misused or wasted.
This has not been the case so far. What measures will now be taken to correct this?
Everyone needs to get a copy of the Bennett Report from the DOE (they're free for the asking) and read its shocking findings.
Will the new Westminster high school be another "school without children" like Cranberry Station Elementary?
We learned the expensive way that we cannot trust the DOE to project honestly the student population.
So do we need a second Westminster high school or not?
Or will we spend another $38 million to find out we built a school we didn't need or built it in the wrong place?
Do we have two commissioners out of three who are willing to represent the electorate rather than rule on behalf of a dysfunctional school hierarchy?
Jerry L. Brunst, Westminster
Leave wild animals where they belong
I could not believe the article about circus lions eating a 6-year-old boy ("Circus lions eat visiting circus in Brazil," April 11).
It said the lions had not been fed for almost a week. What do the trainers expect?
When you take a wild animal out of its natural habitat and beat it into submission so it will do tricks to entertain the public, whose fault is it when the animal somehow goes back to being wild?
Yet four of the the five lions were shot to death.
When will we wake up, have a circus that doesn't have animals in it and let the animals live back where they belong.
We should all boycott the circus from now on.
Donna Wissinger, Westminster
Polish code-breakers deserve the credit
The Sun's article "Enigma variation to baffle experts" (April 8) gave no recognition to Polish accomplishments in breaking the German Enigma code.
In truth, three Poles, Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Rozycki solved the Enigma code several years before the outbreak of World War II. They also made a model of the Enigma machine.
The Polish government shared the information it intercepted with their British and French allies during the years leading up to the war.
After Poland fell to the Germans in1939, Rejewski and Zygalski made their way to England, where they assisted British cryptologists working to break the Enigma code (Rozycki was killed during the fighting).
But for unknown reasons the British have been reluctant to give the Poles credit for breaking the Enigma code.
Perhaps someday the Poles will be given the credit they deserve for their efforts combatting the Nazis during World War II.
Anthony Miller, Westminster