From Ryan Burbey, President, Harford County Education Association:
All citizens of Harford County should be dismayed by County Executive Craig’s proposed FY2014 Budget. It again has flat funding for HCPS. Despite his claims of being a life-long educator, despite Harford County taking in more revenue than ever before, despite having a fund balance which exceeds two hundred million dollars; County Executive Craig has once again shown his misplaced priorities and lack of dedication to our schools. I am disappointed that the County Executive has so little regard for the hardworking HCPS staff, our schools and our students.
In February, over 500 school employees stood up for our schools. Nearly fifty speakers implored County Executive Craig to increase funding for our schools. He has chosen to ignore those voices and abandon our students. What is his response? “I could have lowered school funding but I kept it the same.” Clearly, he is out of touch with the needs of our students, teachers and HCPS as a whole. We must fight for our schools. A flat budget for HCPS in 2014 will result in dramatic cuts. To fund last year’s shortfall of 7 million dollars, HCPS was forced to cut over 60 positions. This year’s shortfall is over $20,000,000. That could mean over 150 position cuts!
Some may say, “It has always been this way.” I say we must support our schools to build a future for the children of Harford County. I say we cannot be deterred. We must raise our voices for our schools, our students and our teachers. We must fight. Make arrangements now. Bring your family. Bring your friends. Bring your neighbors.
Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”
This is our struggle! We need to act.
On Thursday May 16th at 7pm, the Harford County Council will hold a budget hearing at Patterson Mill High School. We need every Harford County Citizen who values the education provided by Harford County Public Schools to speak with their feet. We all must attend. We all must fight to protect public education for our children and to preserve the quality of our schools.