Cumberland Times-News

September 29, 2013

Citizens should be involved with school board appointment

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Because of an unexpected vacancy on the Garrett County Board of Education (“Garrett school board member resigning,” Sept. 19 Times-News, Page 1A), within the next three weeks the Garrett County Commissioners will be making a decision that will affect every part of our county.

Individuals interested in being appointed to the BoE must submit letters of interest and credentials by the end of business on Oct. 11, with the commissioners expected to announce their decision on Oct. 15.

Individuals residing in Commissioner District 1 (not just Election District 1 as reported by press releases) are eligible for this appointment.

Every resident and voter should be concerned about this appointment. With the expected shortfalls in both the Garrett County and the Board of Education budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, closure of more elementary schools is again up for discussion.

I believe elementary schools are fundamental to the success of our children.

Not only is this the most important period for children to learn the basics of reading, writing and math, it is also the base for learning good citizenship, learning how to get along with others, for learning good study habits, and is one key to success for a lifetime.

We should expect the appointment to the BoE to have a strong commitment to a quality education but also a commitment to strong community-based schools in our smaller communities.

In addition, we should expect this newly constituted board of education to work with the board of commissioners to have the most efficient and cost effective local education system.

This new board should work for the benefit of all parts of our county and not jockey for a financial advantage. The issues are too important.

I encourage as many interested people from Commissioner District 1 to submit a letter of interest to the commissioners as soon as possible.

This is not the time to hold back.

The future of our county, our communities, and our future economic development demands as much participation — and transparency — as possible.

James “Smokey” Stanton

Oakland