I have held off writing on this subject as I was angry, and wanted to wait until I could be objective. That all changed when I received a form response email Tuesday from County Councilman Jerry Walker.
I had written to all of the County Councilmen with my concerns for delaying the funding of a new Severna Park High School. I included in my letter that I feel our county has out grown our current Property Tax Cap. I am a huge proponent of less government, but if we can truly not afford to meet the bare minimums of properly educating our children (funding for schools and libraries), protecting our citizens (police and firemen) and taking care of our roads, then we need to increase our taxes.
I also cited the 2006 BOE commissioned facility study of all schools in the district by MGT of America. MGT issued a Strategic Facilities Utilization Master Plan which gave SPHS the lowest rating (the worst) of all the County's High Schools in the category of physical condition in that Plan's Final Report. We paid for an independent study of the school systems in order to prioritize needs and prevent personal reasons from affecting the schedule of school maintenance.
So imagine my surprise to hear the following in Councilman Walker's reply, "The council did not cancel the funding for SPHS as has been reported. We simply shifted the process by a couple of years in order to realign the County's construction funding with the original priority list submitted by the Board of Education.
The Board of Education explained that although SPHS is rated as one of the worst in physical structure that this is not the only consideration when issuing their priority list. They also factor in educational suitability, and capacity along with the physical structure. "
"Educational suitability," which in essence (by definition) is educational correctness I take to mean in real speak , that if students are performing well in a school, then it doesn't need to be fixed.
Why did the Board of Education spend money on a study, if they were going to disregard it? Why do we continue to spend money on new programs and Magnet schools and incentives to get children to learn, when we can't provide our well performing students a safe building?
In our household budget, base needs (shelter, food, clothing, transportation) are met before money is spent on extras. I guess that is too hard a concept for the Board of Education and the majority of the current County Council to understand.
I guess I'm going to stay angry for awhile longer.