The Baltimore Sun

N. Carroll deserves a new high school

My wife and I have three children under age 8. So this new high school issue in the North Carroll community is critical to the future of our children. We live in a community where other families have children of similar ages and are devastated over the potential of not having a new high school built.

Our goal is to have the local senators and the County Commissioners intervene and conduct hearings to decide the matter. This issue deserves the highest level of attention and the rationale for this hearing is clearly outlined.

My wife and I have been watching this drama unfold and have been sickened by the county's lack of commitment to our families, children and future. It is clear that the county has engaged in deceit and chicanery regarding the decision whether to move forward with the Northeast Area High School. FACTS TO CONSIDER

Months of manpower and nearly $1.7 million have been spent on this new high school.

The land has been purchased and plans drawn up.

The business case for the new high school was valid.

The building of homes in the high school district continues unabated. Bob Ward Homes, Hallie Hill Farms, Altieri.

Parcels of land are for sale for commercial purposes which, if sold, and they will be, mean new businesses. Are we to assume that the people who will move into our area to work for these businesses are childless or elderly?

The bypass inevitably will encourage more people to move into our community because of convenience.

The influx of military personnel resulting from downsizing of other barracks; surrounding counties (i.e., Howard, Montgomery) may be too expensive for families to live, so they will search for other counties, such as Carroll, to live.

More affordable housing as the economy slows and housing prices will likely decrease, making more [it] affordable for families to live here.

In 30 years the growth of Hampstead/Manchester has been tremendous, and it is anticipated that it will continue to grow by leaps and bounds based on trends.

The delay or removal of the high school could only lead to no infrastructure coming from developers which leaves the roads, water and sewer bills in the hands of taxpayers. We already pay high taxes and it would become unaffordable if these taxes were to increase even more so.

It is a vicious cycle, building moratoriums will be extended if there are inadequate school facilities and, in turn, businesses in the area will suffer.

When families relocate, their top priority is the schools. What are we portraying when they see the conditions at schools currently? Parents take pride in their children excelling in sports. How disappointing is it for a child, who is a great athlete, to not make it on a high school team because the school is so saturated that they can't get one of the 20 spots at best?

They say in life great things are worth fighting for and it is a crime and a disservice to our community for all involved for the school board, commissioners and local politicians not to reconsider and give this community a new high school.

We decided to stay in Carroll because of everything it had to offer. However, our children's welfare is our top priority and if they decide against this new high school, we will seriously consider relocating to another state or county. They may say, "Oh well," but think about one less taxpayer and less revenue for the town. Consequently, you may find others following as well. Maybe this is why there is such an influx of movement to Pennsylvania. You may be taxed higher up there but at least it goes to a good cause, the schools!

Please speak the truth and tell us parents what the status is on this high school. Are we fighting for something that is still a "live issue" or are we wasting our time and energy on an issue that has already been decided.

Greg and Beth Crawford Manchester

Resident troopers should be kept

I am writing regarding your recent article, "Carroll to replace resident troopers."

Since 1974 the Resident Trooper Program has served as Carroll County's major law enforcement agency, providing outstanding professional law enforcement. The Maryland State Police is one of the best-trained police agencies in the nation.

The current $4.8 million annual cost for 45 troopers is a bargain for our tax payers and has always been a cost-effective program. However, some of our elected county officials have been on a mission for several years to discredit our Resident Trooper Program and create a county police force.

In accordance with the Resident Trooper Agreement, if eight more police employees are assigned to a county or municipal corporation, the county or municipal corporation shall give the department (Maryland State Police) at least five years' notice if the county decides to terminate services under the agreement and phase out over five years. However, the department and county may modify the manner that services are terminated. To my knowledge, the State Police have made no decision to phase out the program at this time or anytime soon.

We have a total of 79 state troopers patrolling in Carroll, five municipalities with 74 police officers and the sheriff's office with 64 deputies. We are also fortunate to have approximately 250 troopers residing in Carroll monitoring the police channel full function command center supporting our strong police presence.

In 2006 Carroll County has been recognized as the safest county in Maryland. With the current population of 172,700 and the quality cost efficient law enforcement agency, and the lowest crime rate in the state of Maryland, it is not an appropriate time to phase out the resident trooper program.

I wholeheartedly support the continuation of the resident trooper program as the major law enforcement agency in Carroll County.

Sen. Larry E. Haines Annapolis

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