Our family is in shock about the Hammond High School renovation delay (“At two Columbia schools, long-delayed upgrades fuel sense of ‘betrayal,'” Oct. 9). As a proud Hammond Bear parent (of a junior and five exchange students over the years), I am so confused. There is a real “pass the blame” game going on, and, unfortunately, our children are suffering. The renovations have been pushed off for years and years. The importance of the Hammond High renovation and construction of the Talbott Springs Elementary School were part of County Executive Calvin Ball’s presentation of the approved Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Improvement Program for Howard County back in July. The budget “strongly supported” these top priorities.
I must be naïve. I do not understand what has happened since then. I guess there was not strong enough support to make them happen. Maybe I am simplifying this too much and yet, really? Why would they be put in a budget if they could not be paid for? We were given false hope and it is wrong. Who creates a budget on wishes? This is not fiscally responsible and if this has been happening for years.
Thank goodness we have such an amazing staff at Hammond who care so much and make a difference to so many. Looking at the awards and our statistics, it is very apparent our staff is creating miracles. Imagine what they could do with a full toolbox of supplies.
Everyone is blaming someone else, and it is time to stop. I know that everyone wants to see it happen yet who is going to be the hero and make it happen? I would love to see officials from the school system as well and county and state government all come together and meet with our community. I would like to see them in the same room and not pass the blame. Instead, they might tell us the solutions and how this is going to happen in 2023.
As a community, we have led our own advocacy with integrity and honesty as we understand our children and community are watching and learning. These were huge commitments made to many communities and to have them retracted so abruptly and without explanation is incorrigible. Stop the blame games. Stop pointing fingers and find solutions. Our children deserve better from you.
Becky McKirahan, Jessup
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