The Baltimore Sun

Oak Hill Elementary in dire need of walls

An open letter to County Executive John R. Leopold:

I know your time is tight and you have many budgetary issues to consider, so I'll be brief. Oak Hill Elementary School in Severna Park is one of the Anne Arundel County schools that is still in need of walls.

This is a school with Early Childhood Intervention students for the first time this year, so the need is greater than ever. We need walls.

It has been a line item on the county budget for years. As parents, community members and as a PTO, we have waited patiently yet unsuccessfully for approval of this item year after year.

Please pass this budget item this year and build our walls. It's ridiculous and embarrassing. Yours could be the administration that realizes this and does something about it.

Jay and Marilyn Magner Severna Park

DUI checkpoints a waste of time, money

Anne Arundel County police spent a lot of officers' time and taxpayers' money March 16 to arrest just three drunken drivers out of over 800 cars screened at a DUI checkpoint ("830 stopped at Arundel drunken-driving checkpoints," March 17).

In the fight to get drunken drivers off the roads, Maryland law enforcement agencies would likely make far more arrests if they spent patrol time roaming the streets looking for drunken drivers, rather than standing at roadblocks waiting for these drivers to come to them.

Anne Arundel residents and taxpayers would benefit from employing the most effective tactics to catch drunken drivers: roving police patrols.

Sarah Longwell Managing Director American Beverage Institute Washington, DC

Benfield Elementary cuts dismaying

An open letter to County Executive John R. Leopold:

Along with many of our neighbors and friends, we are appalled by the proposed reduction of teachers at Benfield Elementary School. For the life of us, we do not understand the reasoning behind such a drastic move.

We are sure times are tough at the county and our leaders are trying to make ends meet - we can all relate to that feeling. What we do not understand is why they would cut their legs out from underneath themselves.

Please let us explain. We - along with all of the people we know in Severna Park - moved there for two reasons: the convenient location and the superior schools available to our three children. To move there we were willing to and did pay a premium for our home. Because we paid a premium for our home, the property taxes increased and the county received a larger tax payment from us.

We are not complaining. We are happy to pay those taxes to live in a nice neighborhood and have our children receive an adequate education.

So, you may ask, what are we getting at? If the teachers are cut from a school like Benfield and the level of education drops, the next guy is not going to be willing to pay such a premium for his home and the prices will drop and the county will not receive as big a tax payment next time. Because of that, the county will be "forced" to reduce teachers and programs and the level of education will drop, and so on.

To those in charge at the county we say this: Work harder. Don't take the easy way out and just cut teachers. Find a better way. That is why we elected you.

Tucker and Kate Hite Severna Park

Crowded elementary schools bad for kids

A month ago, it was brought to our attention that the Cobblestone neighborhood in Pasadena has asked the board of education to redistrict them, allowing them to send their children to Solley Elementary, George Fox Middle and Northeast High vs. their home school district of Freetown Elementary. As parents, we were concerned because our school is at full capacity and taking on an additional 43 homes is out of the question. At the same time, the Tanyard Springs neighborhood is being built and several homes are under roof already.

As if all of this isn't bad enough, we found out last week that due to budget cuts we are going to lose three of our teachers, making our classroom sizes larger than the state capacity requirement. Elementary school is a very important time in a child's life and having overcrowded classrooms will only hurt our children. I beg Dr. Maxwell and the County Council to reconsider their budget cuts.

Tracey Jackson Pasadena

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