The Baltimore Sun

Leopold opposes regressive impact fees

In their cogent article Wednesday regarding the county budget, Sun reporters Ruma Kumar and Susan Gvozdas wrote that County Executive John R. Leopold "reversed his long-held stand against impact fees."

In fact, Mr.Leopold has been an opponent of regressive impact fees; the fee has been the same regardless of the cost of the home, putting a greater burden on low- and moderate-income homeowners.

The impact fee legislation the county executive supports will provide for a progressive, sliding-scale fee schedule based on the amount of square footage.

The county executive also succeeded in having state legislation passed to enable the County to provide impact fee exemptions for nonprofits that construct work force housing.

There is a world of difference between the current, regressive impact fee and the new progressive fee schedule under consideration.

Erik S. Robey

Assistant Chief Administrative officer, Anne Arundel County

Thanks to school of ficials for starting chess club

As state senator, I wanted to publicly thank Principal Toni Carr and school counselor Jan Dineen for their enthusiasm in starting a chess club at Sunset Elementary school this last quarter. Special recognition goes to retired Principal Don Smith for heading up the after-school chess club and encouraging the students to master some of the advanced chess strategies.

During one of my visits to Sunset Elementary school, I mentioned the possibility of having a "Challenge your Senator in Chess" day where I would simultaneously play up to 5 students. The administration was very receptive to the idea and thought it would be a great event for the children. Therefore, they immediately started a chess club, and after two months of meeting, the students were ready and prepared to take on their senator.

While my focus was primarily on helping children gain an appreciation for the game and create an excitement within education, I soon found that the seven children were willing, waiting and ready to take me down. As we configured the seven chess boards, I noticed that the room was surrounded by family members, friends and teachers all excited for their children. This was truly a great community event, and it would not have been possible without the dedicated individuals at Sunset Elementary school.

Again, thank you for your dedication and service to the children of our community.

Sen. Bryan W. Simonaire

The state sentator is a Republican representing District 31 in Northern Anne Arundel County.

Trim budget; don't cut teaching positions

For as long as I can remember, when Kevin Maxwell started at Anne Arundel County Public Schools I supported almost everything. Almost everything that he set in motion I thought was a good idea, and some have proven to have worked quite effectively. I am reading things from both Maxwell and others about the looming cut in teaching positions in county schools. I can positively say that I think you are wrong on this one decision.

You, along with the rest of the school board, need to take a long, hard look at the budget. I am guaranteeing that there is much waste in that budget that can be cut out. Waste is a living organism found in every part of government, and Anne Arundel County Schools is no different. I will help you go over the budget.

And lastly, I am not sure if you have realized this yet, but the real progress in our schools does not come from the money you get from the county, or money you spend per child to learn.

The real progress on our school's children should be made at home, after the day is done at school. The initial school material, yes, must be taught in our schools, by qualified teachers with small class sizes, but should be reinforced at home.

When we finally achieve having fully qualified teachers, small class sizes to enable better learning, and lessons being reinforced at home, we will see our progress move forward.

Victor Henderson Glen Burnie

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