Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

June 23, 2013

Commissioners not a bottomless source of money

In reply to Kimi Scott-McGreevy (“We have lots to show for our education dollars,” June 18 Times-News):

Let me explain some simple budgeting facts. Education consumes about 40 percent of the Allegany County budget. You cannot count only the board of commissioners funds allocated directly to the board of education.

There are other education expenses for which the county pays — new high school, teacher pensions, etc., all of which totals about 40 percent of the budget.

 Despite all the money spent on education the BOE wants about $500,000 for security without presenting any detailed plan.

They offered no proof of what has changed from last year to this with school security. All of which makes it sound more like they are just fear-mongering to get more money.

 If the BOE wants the extra money then they need to reduce other areas of their budget like other organizations do. They could eliminate the Chinese Immersion program for elementary school for a start.

They can freeze teacher wages — after all the teachers in Allegany County are better paid than those in many other Maryland counties and don’t need annual raises. Allegany is a poor county.  Above all the BOE should consider merging schools, and dropping courses which have low enrollment. Schools can continue to eliminate positions as people retire.

Generally, nationwide schools are top loaded with administrators, so another area for staff reduction and a freeze of administrators’ salary for five years. After all many people in this county haven’t seen a raise for almost eight years and those on pension aren’t getting raises.

 As for the county reserve fund the BOC needs to start saving now for that time when state assistance funding for the pension system ceases and the entire burden must fall on the county. When you know you have a big expenditure coming down the road, it is only prudent to start saving early and not wait until the last minute.

The BOC is not a bottomless source of money; other areas must be funded in addition to the BOE. Yet all we ever hear from the BOE is a cry for more money. Obviously they and their rabid supporters need to learn how to budget and live with the money they receive.

 Yes, our schools are failing — nationwide. Our public schools fail to lift U.S. public education to the highest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development level. We used to rank at the top, now our public education is near the bottom.

The best education is now available in private and charter school — not the public school system. Despite all the money we spend, public education gets worse. In short we are throwing money down a rat hole.

The new Core Curriculum is just another Washington-mandated failure.

 Public education needs a massive overhaul and a return to basics. Some schools place too much emphasis on sports instead of education. Students need to learn the basics without the aid of a computer. Reliance on computers in schools reduces basic skills. It is too easy for computers to be a crutch.

Manfred Spitzer, the noted German psychologist and author of Digital Dementia, believes that excessive reliance on computer gadgets like I-Pads makes students dumber not smarter.

 The current path we are on will not improve public education but continue its decline.

Judith Weller, PH.D

LaVale

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • If we don’t sell it to them, somebody else will

    The front page article on coal exports by AP writer Dina Cappiello is one of the most asinine and biased “news” articles I’ve read (“Not in my backyard: U.S. sending dirty coal abroad,” July 29 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 30, 2014

  • Research cost of watershed plan before implementing it

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Prayers in the Park’ event slated Aug. 18 in Johnstown

    July 30, 2014

  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other groups get county funds, so should CHCO

    At a recent county commissioner meeting, members of the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, Maryland Delegate LeRoy Myers Jr. and Pastor Alfred Deas of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Cumberland attended to request from the commissioners $5 dollars of marriage license money be permanently allocated to the CHCO (“Cemetery group renews funding request,” July 25 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 29, 2014

  • No public funding for extremist organization

    Once again, the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization has asked the Allegany County commissioners for public funding (“Cemetery group renews funding request,” July 25 Times-News, Page 1A).

    July 29, 2014

  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why are fair officials targeting firefighters?

    The Allegany County Fair has been known for its Demolition Derby for a long time. Several years back the operation of the derby was awarded to the local Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department.

    July 28, 2014

  • Here’s a time when W.Va. law took precedence over Md. law

     There may be an applicable precedent concerning any assumption that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority (PHAA) can choose to ignore West Virginia territorial state laws.

    July 28, 2014

  • Citizens don’t want Terrapin Run; remove it from the plan

    July 28, 2014