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Letter to the Editor

The Baltimore Sun

All should care about schools

In response to coverage of the debate over whether the Harford County school board should be appointed or elected ["School Board Under Fire," June 10, 2007], the work of the public school system is the most important service that county government provides. Nothing else affects the quality of life more than schools; they affect us all, whether or not we have - or ever have had - children in the system. The volunteer members who comprise the school board have more responsibility and burden than we observers can imagine.

All of us went to school somewhere, so we all think we know what's best for our schools. Anyone who has participated in a Parent-Teacher Association knows how generous parents will be in giving time, skills and resources to their school while their children are in school. The school superintendent must run the system and the school board must make policy and be responsible for it.

Whether to elect the members of the board should not be the issue. The issue should be improving the system for recruiting, evaluating and selecting volunteers to become members of the board (I personally know only one of the present board members, but based on the rude treatment they receive from some in this community, I am amazed that the system can attract people who are willing, capable, and available to take on such a burden). These people are parents who have jobs and donate their time and skills without financial compensation. It is a wonder that such people exist and are willing to do this vital work.

A thorough and respectable caucus system is a better method than switching to an elected board. We can improve the present caucus system, making it more representative of the people in this county and even more effectual, not by making it part of party and ideological politics, but by enlisting more qualified and generous persons to serve.

David P. Miller Churchville

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