Councilman Guthrie and Edgewood Leader Gear Up for Legal Action Against Harford County Schools’ Pay-to-Play Fees and Cuts to School Bus Service

Gearing up for legal action against Harford County Public Schools, County Councilman Dion Guthrie and Edgewood Community Council Chairman Jansen Robinson held a meeting Tuesday in Edgewood to gather potential testimony from parents harmed by the implementation of pay-to-play fees and cuts to school bus service in the school year just underway. Guthrie and Robinson said they have secured legal counsel with plans for a class action to halt both measures through a petition for preliminary injunction to be filed as early as Friday.

The new fees for students to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities, and system-wide cuts in school bus transportation services were approved by the Harford County Board of Education in June along with other budget-balancing moves for the fiscal year 2014. Together, the two controversial measures saved approximately $1.5 million in an operating budget totaling $424.7 million for the year. The fees will cost parents $50 per sport and $25 per student activity. School Board members have said they approved the savings to prevent additional cuts to teaching positions.

Councilman Guthrie said that he and Robinson were acting “on behalf of the citizens of Harford County”, and further legal steps would be determined following a meeting Thursday with an attorney, whom Guthrie said was working pro bono “for now”, and preferred to remain anonymous until court filings were made. “He told us to have this meeting to gather information,” Guthrie told approximately 60 parents and students assembled Tuesday night, asking speakers to focus on financial harm and threats to student safety.

Helping the crowd along, Guthrie provided a handout of a map showing the locations of sex offenders living in Harford County.

In addition to Guthrie, several other elected officials were in attendance, lending varying degrees of support to the effort. They included Del. Mary-Dulany James, who said that transportation cuts for students in magnet programs, “could jeopardize Maryland’s #1 ranking” in education, and she urged the group to move beyond criticism to find a “path forward.” State Sen. Nancy Jacobs was direct: “I think what’s going on is wrong.” County Councilman Joe Woods said he believed that the School Board’s actions were based on the “political agenda” of some members.

County Council Vice-President Richard Slutzky cautioned that except for special education, the school system was under no legal obligation to provide bus transportation to students. However, Slutzky outlined four legal issues that he said were “worthy of investigation” based on case history and precedent he had gathered from legal counsel, which, he later clarified, was not the attorney working with Guthrie and Robinson:

• Pay-to-play and student activity fees may violate Maryland’s constitutional provision for a free public education. Precedent has been set in states with similar provisions, Slutzky said, specifically in California and Indiana.

• Payment methods for pay-to-play and student activity fees may be discriminatory, because they require both a computer and a credit card. Slutzky said that some people cannot get credit and do not have ready access to a computer. “The argument is that [the requirement] creates classes of people,” he said.

• Established exemptions from pay-to-play and student activity fees may similarly create “classes of people”, Slutzky said. The children of teachers, active military personnel, and students receiving Free and Reduced Meals were exempted from the fees by the Board of Education. “It’s certainly a question,” Slutzky said, adding that cases have been won on similar grounds.

• The transportation cuts may breach a contract with magnet program parents. Even if the contract was only a verbal one, Slutzky said there is a “good case” that magnet program parents had a contract with the school system, providing for transportation from a consolidated bus stop near students’ homes. Such service has long been provided for magnet programs, and has been noted in program application materials, including those published for admission to the current school year. Under the cutbacks, parents are now responsible for student transportation to and from designated depots, typically a student’s home school, which may be beyond walking distance from their residences. “My legal counsel has offered an opinion that the case can be won,” Slutzky said, although he cautioned that other lawyers may have different opinions. “That’s why [these cases] go to trial,” he said.

Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane also appeared along with two of his deputies to review plans for the safety of students walking to and from school or school bus stops. Sgt. Scott Virden, supervisor of the School Policing Team, said that additional crossing guards were being hired, with staff currently filling in when necessary.

Several parents at the meeting expressed concerns about students walking along Willoughby Beach Road leading to Edgewood schools, and crossing MD 924 and Bright Oaks Drive near Patterson Mill Middle/High School.

Sheriff Bane encouraged parents to let his office know about additional intersections where crossing guards were needed, and reminded drivers to mind speed limits and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Other safety measures in the works include reflective gear for crossing guards assisting students walking in the dark, and possible consideration of speed cameras when schools are in operation. Bane concluded, “I don’t think the Board of Education or elected officials realized the impact [of the transportation changes], and the ripple effect.”

A collective list of “harmful effects” presented at the meeting appears below, provided to The Dagger by parents Nancy Hofmann and Andre K. Rush on behalf of an estimated 300 parents:

Aug. 27, 2013

Mr. Jansen Robinson
President, Edgewood Community Council
c/o Harford County Sheriff’s Office (Southern Precinct)
1305 Pulaski Highway
Edgewood, MD 21040

Jansen –

On behalf of all families negatively impacted by the Harford County Board of Education’s decision to impose a depot stop transportation system for students who attend the Science and Math Academy at Aberdeen High School, the Global Science/International Baccalaureate Program at Edgewood High School and the Natural Resources/Agricultural Science Program at North Harford High School, I present our collective list of harmful effects. Please note that while this list reflects input received primarily from magnet program families, many of the harmful effects we’ve identified also apply to students impacted by 4th tier schedules and who once received bus service but no longer qualify this year based on the Board’s changes to the transportation policy.

1) Safety Concerns

• Students forced to walk or ride their bikes to and from depot stops
- in the dark
- in inclement weather (that impedes both pedestrian and driver visibility)
- across major highways
- on roads with limited access to or no sidewalks (causing students to walk on the shoulder of the road)
- increased potential for pedestrian-involved accidents
- in the path of known and unknown sexual predators

• Students forced to drive before they are ready because their parents have no other means to get them to and from the depot stop or magnet program
- Increased numbers of inexperienced drivers on the road
- Increased number of student-driven carpools, potentially putting the driver, other students and pedestrians at risk
- Impact of inclement weather exacerbates potential for accidents or fatalities

• Questions regarding how emergency situations (including unexpected closures) that arise before a child is picked up have gone unaddressed
- Who maintains emergency contact information?
- How are all students accounted for each day to ensure they have safely arrived at the depot stop and/or have been picked up by an authorized adult?
- Who will supervise students until they are picked up?
- Are those who supervising trained in CPR and first aid?

2) Educational Impacts/Academic Concerns

• Students forced to withdraw from the magnet programs they’ve qualified for because they no longer have access to the bus transportation within walking distance from their homes and are unable to get to depot stops and/or arrange alternative transportation. Students pulled out of the magnet programs for this reason and who re-enroll in their home high school may experience a decrease in self-esteem, a desire to excel and most certainly the opportunity to thrive in an environment with other like-minded peers.

• Less time to complete rigorous homework requirements (many of which require access to specialized computer software students have access to only at home or on laptops students hesitate to bring back and forth to school for fear of theft or damage)

• Loss of sleep. Many students are now required to rise a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes earlier so parents can transport them to the depot stop in order to catch the bus to their magnet program. For some families, particularly those with students in two different magnet programs, the impact is even greater. These students are often up late completing rigorous homework requirements. Any degree of sleep deprivation results in a lack of attention, focus and ability to concentrate.

• Unrealized impact of increased applications to Harford Technical High School by students who would otherwise qualify for SMA, GS/IB or NR/AS magnet programs. Those who cannot arrange transportation to depot stop locations and/or the magnet school but will apply to specialized programs at Harford Tech, thereby reducing the likelihood that students who need to be on a “trade” track will be selected.

• Diversity of Magnet Programs in jeopardy. Current enrollment:
- SMA: 219 students (190 students, or 86%, reside out of the AHS attendance area)
- GS/IB: 182 students (88 students, or 48%, reside out of the EHS attendance area)
- NR/AS: 165 students (77 students, or 46%, reside out of the NHHS attendance area)

The student body in all of these magnet programs will most certainly change if the Transportation Policy is not returned to ensure students can be picked up and dropped off at a consolidated stop that is within walking distance from their homes.

• Buses arriving after homeroom begins, depriving students of time needed to calmly prepare for the day

• Negative impact to AHS, EHS, NHHS standardized test scores

• Potential impact to AP class availability and/or enrollment

3) Economic/Environmental Concerns

• Real cost per day per person = More than $53.45 with a cumulative economic impact for the 355 magnet program students impacted of $3,415,242 dollars. This figure takes into account
- Fuel expense
- Vehicle wear and tear
- Lost wages (arriving late and leaving early to transport student to and from school)
- Time spent commuting

This cost per day per person does not take into account additional costs to car insurance for either parents or students driving themselves or the additional CO2 Emissions generated, though these things are worthy of consideration as well.

• Impact to Sheriff’s Department resources
- Police involved when minors waiting at libraries are not picked up by parents before 5 p.m. closing on Fridays
- Unanticipated costs incurred (3 additional crossing guards, lighted arm bands

• Pay to Play fees incurred (Students who might not normally play a sport have signed up as a way to stay later at school). Add this to the cost of AP Exams (averaging $80 per exam, families of some students taking 5 AP classes incur an additional $400 expense)

• Loss of wages for high school students who have responsibly secured jobs but now arrive too late to reasonably work their required shift or who have babysitting jobs in the neighborhood caring for younger students or younger siblings.

4) Impact to the Family

• Divorced parents who may not live near one another required to transport students to and from same depot stop all year.

• Significant logistical challenges for families with children in two different magnet programs

• Child care issues (older siblings not available to watch younger children and in the case of 4th tier, limited child care available in impacted area)

• Increased family stress caused by this situation and resulting economic impact that trickles down to students and negatively impacts school success.

The harmful effects captured here are enormously impactful and are not sustainable. The Board’s decision to change the transportation policy without opportunity for public input and review prior to finalizing the decision sets a dangerous precedent. If the Board of Education is not held accountable and is unwilling to rescind this decision, students will continue to suffer. The imminent danger created by this policy change must be addressed. Failure to do so will most certainly yield tragic results. It is just a matter of time and we again urge the Board to rescind its decision now.

Sincerely,
Nancy Hofmann

Comments

  1. Linda says

    This is ridiculous!!! All over the USA and in other counties of Maryland, families pay a fee for the sports/band/activities. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Now we have to no so bright people who are going to tie this up in court and WASTE valuable resources in this idiotic fight over a pay for play fee and bus routes. Too many kids ride buses that should be WALKING. Why does everyone else have to pay for a few … I have 3 kids….we always paid to play the sports….no big deal. Why should those w/o kids pay for those with kids.
    The reasoning you give are laughable…your charges won’t stand in court because other counties in Maryland and throughout the USA are already charging the fees and kids have to actually walk. Plus…..if a kid chooses to go to a magnet school….that is the families problem to deal with. Parents of kids who go to private schools deal with that everyday of having to take 2-3 kids to 2-3 schools at a distance away. So those magnet school families can do the same. So parents , instead of buying gadgets your kids don’t need, save the money and pay the fee to play a sport/band/activity
    I would rather pay the teachers than pay for someone’s kid to play a sport.

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    • Mike Welsh says

      I always paid for my children to participate in youth sports prior to their being in high school, and for summer sports programs after they were in high school. With regard to the proposed court action, my prediction is it will get nowhere. You are correct, pay to play has already been in effect in Maryland and elsewhere, in some cases for several years. Is it legal to charge such a fee? Yes. Is it fair? Depends on who you ask! If it is fair, everyone should pay….no exceptions.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 26 Thumb down 7
      • Bill says

        But everyone is not paying…teachers kids are exempt, along with kids on FARM. So “everyone” is not paying.

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        • Mike Welsh says

          I know. That’s why, in my opinion, it is not fair. Well intentioned perhaps…. but not fair.

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          • Mike Welsh says

            I agree. For the most part life is what you make it. Fairness is a state of mind. What you may think is fair, many others could see as unfair. I suppose many people would say being treated exactly equal would be the best definition of fair. But then we know how that works…. right?

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        • Uhhhh!!! says

          No one complains when people who work at Target or department store gets a discount because they work there. My God, let the teachers have some kind of employee discount because this horrible county can’t pay their teachers.

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    • Luther Lingus says

      You pay for them to get welfare, pay for them to get healthcare, pay for them to get energy assistance, pay for them to get job training, pay for them to get free cell phones…………….

      Hell………….. why not move them into you house as well, then you can drive their kids to your schools and pay for their kids to play sports.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 22 Thumb down 11
    • Bob H says

      Obviously you live in a bubble and are not very altruistic. There are families that are single parents, not well off financially, or both parents work and have tight schedules. You obviously have none of these concerns or issues or you would understand the issues at hand. I have a young daughter that walks a short distance to her bus stop, yet because of today’s society with such abhorrent individuals preying on vulnerable victims, I watch and wait until she gets safely on the bus. It is all over the news about young girls being abducted and/or kidnapped resulting in sexual crimes or even murder. There are so many bad ideas in this new agenda from the pay to play to the over-extended walks to bus stops, in the dark and opening up our children to vulnerable situations with predators out there. The small percentage of savings from the total budget is ludicrous, anyone even slightly versed in math would see the percentage. Just in case math isn’t your forte, the percentage of the total savings from the overall budget is 1/3 of 1 percent, a laughable amount, as you put things. From a budgetary perspective there is no budgetary perspective. How is this helping the budget for teachers’ salaries? This is a miniscule amount in the big picture. I can appreciate your lack of compassion for others less fortunate than you and can only hope that hard times or bad life situations don’t fall upon you or your family.

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        • Bob H says

          Cdev, $60-75k, a nice sum indeed. I’m sure that is upper-mid range. That would be nice to save that many jobs, but from the track record I’ve seen from the Board of Ed, I doubt the savings would go towards keeping teachers employed. A nice thought, I’m all for keeping teachers on board and giving them good salaries, but not at the expense of our children s’ safety and taking away opportunities from gifted children. A well managed budget is called for IMO.

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          • L says

            Many teachers make considerably less than 60k. Where else would you suggest cutting the budget to save teacher positions?

            Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
          • Bob H says

            L, I did not suggest cut, but rather used the words “well managed”. As I previously mentioned the sum of 1.5 million is 1/3 of 1 percent of the budget. I suggest managing the budget to keep teachers in jobs, not budget cuts. As you mentioned status quo payment is less than the 60-75K, i mentioned that figure as being on the high side. Not having the budget spreadsheet in front of me nor the amount of teachers that were let go, I could not give an accurate response. But common sense tells one that rebalancing the numbers to accommodate 1/3 of 1 percent of the total should not be that difficult, especially if it meant keeping teachers in a job; teachers that are grossly under-paid as it is. I see a trend here that leads me to believe that quite a few here are either in bed with the HCPS or actual members. This is not hard to assess by noting the insight that some posters have to quite a few things that are not common knowledge to the public, but more so to someone that has a direct connection or affiliation with the HCPS. My Family and myself have been residents for Harford County since the early ’60′s and have seen a continual downtrend of the educational system in this County. Some of the concepts and ideas conjured by the HCPS are not very sensible or viable IMO, checks and balances are in order. The public needs to have an input and free reign for a select few to do as they please is not Democracy.

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          • Cdev says

            But in this case it did because they said months before the other option was cutting more teachers!!!!! As any human resources person knows cost is more than salary.

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          • L says

            @Bob H

            “Not having the budget spreadsheet in front of me nor the amount of teachers that were let go, I could not give an accurate response.” Where have you been? This information (teachers cuts and other related information) has been plastered all over the local news and social media sites for months. You have a computer and know how to use it. The budget is on the HCPS website so that is not an excuse that passes muster. If you chose to you could do the research and offer real suggestions instead of making general complaints.

            “I see a trend here that leads me to believe that quite a few here are either in bed with the HCPS or actual members. This is not hard to assess by noting the insight that some posters have to quite a few things that are not common knowledge to the public, but more so to someone that has a direct connection or affiliation with the HCPS.” No doubt there are HCPS employees or relatives that post here but many others are not. The information provided is either common knowledge or easily found though public sources if you really wanted to.

            “Some of the concepts and ideas conjured by the HCPS are not very sensible or viable…” I would suggest that many of the concepts and ideas you question are driven by Federal and State law or regulation over which local school systems have little if any control other than the directive to implement them and usually without any financial contribution to the school system. Please offer some specifics as to which concepts and ideas you oppose.

            Would you please be part of the solution and volunteer some specifics as to how HCPS can “better manage” its budget? I am sure the editors of the local newspaper, this news source, the County Executive, County Council, BOE, and HCPS staff would be willing to listen to any reasonable suggestions you can offer. When can we expect to see your report?

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          • L says

            @Bob H

            “The public needs to have an input and free reign for a select few to do as they please is not Democracy.” You did and do have an opportunity for input. It is called the ballot box and the freedom to communicate with your elected and appointed officials during the very public input sessions offered by the County Executive, County Council, Superintendent, and BOE. Did you attend or sent correspondence offering your opinion?

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        • Cdev says

          Bob I have been upfront about the fact my wife works for HCPS but the information I pull is availible on the HCPS website. The budget documents are availible for you to look at. So stop dodging the question. What expense, which can be legally cut, would you cut to not charge the fees and keep teachers?

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          • teacher says

            Get a grip! Average salary for instructures $50,114. Assistant professor $55,143, associate professor $67,757. And guess what that is what HC community college pays. So, why do hcps teachers believe that they should earn more with less education? With all class materials handed to them? Open your eyes to the real world and not ask every time for more money from your neighbors!

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          • Cdev says

            What world do you live in where “all materials are handed to them” to make 67 K as a teacher you have a MAsters plus 45 graduate credits!!!!!!

            Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
          • Bob H says

            Thanks for the candor and the insight CDEV, I’m not dodging the question. I’ll say it again, IMO, it is a matter of balancing the numbers to accommodate the salaries and fees. 1/3 of 1%. I am new to this board and thought I would visit to see if I could gain any insight on the issues. You provided me with a source to review the budget and I will take a look. As to the entirety of that source, I would have to take a look and do due diligence. But I’m certain a balancing of funds would resolve the issue at hand. To be frank, I am busy putting in 12 hour days every day and time is a commodity to me. But you make a valid point, due diligence is certainly in order before making any assessment of a situation. Let me visit the numbers and I’ll give you my thoughts. Thanks.

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          • Bob H says

            Cdev, I went to HCPS site and briefly reviewed the PDF for the budget summary for fiscal 2013. It wasn’t quite as itemized or detailed as I would have liked. I’m referring to funds/income itemization versus spending. Anyway, from what I saw the HVAC/roof improvement projects and technology infrastructure upgrades were the biggest expenses. The 2013 budget for these projects was 12 million and the total was 15 million for the life of the HVAC/roof projects and almost 80 million for the life of the technology upgrades. It may be feasible the funds could be revisited for the technology upgrades program alone and redistributed over the span of the project. I am unclear on the summary for the funding from all the respective sources, the “other” category alone is 15 million, curious what the “other” consists of, I would imagine development fees would be inclusive in the “other” category. Looking at the data and the format used actually raises more questions than answers. From what I have read, there appears to be quite a few sources for the funding of the Board of ED. I will have to do some DD on this in order to familiarize myself with the data and the format that is used. If legal counsel is pursued for the issue at hand, I’m sure the budget and fund sources will be looked at as well, any missing blanks could be filled in with a FOIA request. For now, I’m going to study what is readily available and see what conclusions can be assessed. Guess you won’t hear from me for a bit, I’m going to immerse myself in getting answers.

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          • Cdev says

            Bob those funds are capital projects. The short fall is the operational budget! Not sure if you knew funds can not be mixed

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          • Bob H says

            That explains a lot. Not familiar with the protocol used in the finance of HCPS. Sounds like things are set in stone and change may not be well received. I have not been in the shoes of those handling the financial end of the budgeting, but I’m sure they have their reasons lines aren’t crossed. I would think problem solving may involve thinking out of the box to save jobs for real people. I’ll take a look at the site again and navigate to the operational budget. From what I am taking away from this is the operational budget is predominantly the budget for salaries. I’ll take a look, but without an in-depth analysis of head count and who is truly needed and what their role and productivity quota is, I would not be able to assess the situation accurately; again the need for due diligence. This is something that needs to be handled by the finance/logistics folks at HCPS, but because my curiosity is piqued, I do plan on taking a look and researching things from a staffing perspective. IMO, the last thing the HCPS would want to do is take away teaching positions. Clerical, administrative and duplication of duties and positions should be looked at. I wonder how the head count for the day to day tasks that need to be done were formulated. Again, IMO, if any trimming should be done, perhaps visiting the head count versus workload should be visited in the clerical/administrative positions. Many corporations are turning to contract staffing to replace their employees, that may be an option. There is something to be said for this train of thought, expenses are less for contract work than full time employees, no medical benefits, pensions, etc. But, we should not be cutting jobs that truly are the core of education – teachers.

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          • Seriously says

            I’m not sure why “teacher says” believes that HCPS teachers are less educated than HCC professors. That’s ignorant and inaccurate. I am a teacher who has a master’s degree, my Ed.S and am working on a second masters. Who are you to judge!!!

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          • teacher says

            Easy. It is someone who has a M.S. in Computer Science and knows not to compare himself to someone who has a phd. And certainly, I would never waste my money to get a physics, biology or chemistry 400 level course tought by someone who has a master in Ed S. Oh, boy. Not to talk about that courses offered for future teachers are watered down so that they can pass the class. Just check the course offers at TU.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
          • teacher says

            I agree that different teaching styles should be tought and tools to reach kids you want to reach. But for your information math does not change depending on hormon levels, so does not the study of solid materials or plant studies or the properties of light. All those xx5 number courses do not cover as much of content or have the same depth as the regular classes every other student is taking. Btw, maybe you should stick your head out of your door sometime. If you compare the the material covered in the 11th and12th school year in Europe, that is taught in the AP classes or are equivalent to the 100 level college classes. College professors are complaining more and more that students are coming less prepared out of high schools. I am not teaching at a college. The teacher unions are pushing for higher and higher standards only so that they think they can ask for higher and higher salary.

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        • teacher says

          Just search TU catalog 2013-2014, page 79. That is just one page for major in middle school education. Those are specific classes designed for e.s.

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          • abingdonteacher says

            The middle school mind is extremely complex, and anyone wanting to be successful teaching on that level needs to have a very specific skill set. Having a middle school education major is definitely not a “watered down” set of course. It’s a great idea, especially as certification trends are moving toward middle grades certification, not k-8 or 7-12, but 5-8 or 6-8th. This major will create teaching candidates that have a competitive advantage in the job market, making them much more marketable to middle school principals.

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          • Cdev says

            You think that teaching pre pubecent teenagers requires no special training on how to reach them????? I am guessing you have not had kids that age or have forgotten about the way hormones affect the brain!

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          • Cdev says

            Also if that was an attempt to answer my question you would need a syllabus to show me how watered down something is!!!!!

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    • HCPSTeacher10 says

      @teacher says:
      “Average salary for instructures $50,114. Assistant professor $55,143, associate professor $67,757. And guess what that is what HC community college pays. So, why do hcps teachers believe that they should earn more with less education? With all class materials handed to them?”

      If all class materials are “handed to them” why am I still supplementing the things I need and haven’t had handed to me out of my own pocket? Starting with my Bachelor’s degree and the mandated master’s by 10 years and recertification requirements I have over 200 credit hours under my belt through my teaching careeer so don’t talk to me about less education! No I don’t have a requirement to publish, but if I only taught 3-5 classes A WEEK with assistants and secretaries to pick up the paperwork load for me I might be able to find the time…but why bother? As several colleagues found out, HCPS doesn’t support it anyway….when asked to present a Master’s degree paper at a conference in Miami, the Board denied permission for the teacher to attend.
      Harford County has a history of hating it’s teachers and treating them like second class citizens and then complaining about the quality of their child’s education. I’m not sure what it would take to get our county on a better track but obviously the same ol’, same ol’ isn’t working.

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    • Kharn says

      Is there even a crossing guard at 543? Except for the one development (which IIRC is gigantic) directly behind the school, every other walking student would have to cross or walk along 543 for some distance.

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      • The Money Tree says

        Spare me the phoney crocodile tears Kharn. Gosh…think there might be a correlation between developement and busy roads? You’re the big champion of crowding and last I checked we’re not all parachuting to where we need to go so that means development brings traffic and traffic brings busy roads. Waaa…waaa. I’m just hoping your house is right next to a road somebody decides needs to be converted to a highway.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
        • Kharn says

          The Money Tree:
          I don’t agree with every bus route being cut, especially for elementary kids that must cross a busy road if there is no guard and given kids hatred of any clothing that is retroreflective. High school and middle school students are old enough to ride a bike or walk to school. Traffic is inevitable, if HCPS is going to make students walk to school they should provide a retroreflective vest or belt for each walking student (plus mandate their use) and provide crossing guards at important locations.

          And parachuting is problematic on the return trip.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Someone who openly has zero sympathy for the traffic related safety concerns of residents in some areas should ought butt out in almost any case that involves traffic safety concerns in other areas. I’m guessing we can assume you live in the “other area” because otherwise your hand-wringing is slightly inconsistent.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Speed has little to do with congestion, driver frustration, road rage, limited sight distance, lack of adequate pedestrian signage, etc., and if you do recall there was a child killed in that same area that you have little sympathy for perhaps just over a year or so ago. Are the kids in your neck of the woods more important?

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          • Kharn says

            Every accidental death is a tragedy, and every tragedy should be used as a teaching moment so the same fate does not befall another child.

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          • The Money Tree says

            If you really feel that way then you should care equally about the safety concerns of people in the county who may not live in your neighborhood.

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          • Bob H says

            George I commend you, my wife is active in school activities and funding as well. As a family we contribute both capital and time. So many are outside looking in and don’t know the various expenses involved for teachers and parents that actually get involved. I am aware of a lot of time and money that teachers spend out of their own pockets. Thanks to all the teachers in the public school system that have helped my daughters along the way. One is straight A student and the other is studying scholar curriculum. The Board of Ed could really do a better job of budgeting their funds.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
        • The Money Tree says

          Dagger – not sure how you can set it up so that only one screen name can be used by anyone posting. Other public sites do it so I know it’s possible. It’s being done by folks with nothing valuable to add and used to taunt and mislead other posters. The comment about driving on the sidewalk perhaps meant to be funny wasn’t made by me.

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          • Common Sense says

            @The Money Tree

            Yes the Dagger Press could require registration before anyone could post.

            They could require login with LinkedIn, G+ or Facebook.

            They could require everyone use their real name.

            Huffington Post is ending anonymous posters later this year.

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          • noble says

            I think there’s a place and a reasonable argument to be made for anonymous posting, but it requires that the site uses active moderation of the comments, which is complicated.

            I think requiring registration, but not requiring the use of real names is the happy compromise. This would solve the imposter scenario.

            I have stated here before that I don’t recommend anyone use their name in a wide open public website for any reason, and personally, I would cease to comment here if it were required.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
          • The Money Tree says

            At minimum no one should be able to “impersonate” another even if just using an identical screen name. As far as the HP take on it – the idea of making folks use their real names would surely be the end of almost all internet blogs at least opposing viewpoints would just leave in droves.

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          • Common Sense says

            @The Money Tree

            I agree that impersonating posters should be ended by the Dagger.

            Banning anonymity might be the dell knell for the Dagger.

            Huffington Post will be interesting in what happens. They have a lot of traffic and getting rid of the anonymous people will improve their discussion threads.

            Some proposed Cyberbullying laws will prohibit anonymous comments.

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          • noble says

            There are also kinda two different versions of anonymous. There’s anonymous to the public via a screen name, but not the service provider by verified email/identity. Then there’s 100% anonymous by unverified email addresses, etc. The Dagger is basically at the lowest form of control right now, and unfortunately some people abuse it.

            I’d also be fine with having the provider (Dagger) have verified information, so long as a screen name can be used.

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          • The Money Tree says

            I agree Noble. I think dagger or any website should require a limited amount of personal information other than a simple email address for the privilege of public communication, but I think requiring the use of your real name would very quickly end honest communication. There are some scary folks out there that would surely arrive in your driveway if they disagree with you.

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    • ALEX R says

      “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
    • George Willbury says

      This is hardly a special handout for teachers – nearly all of us buy well over $50 of classroom materials for our students each year (I generally spend over $300, and I am not in the least bit alone) – a ‘perk’ of having our own kids be exempt from ‘pay to play’ does not even begin to address the lack of contractual steps that have been kept for us, nor does it begin to address the funds we put out of our own pockets to educate your children. It is also the case that most teachers I talk with do not support ‘Pay to Play’. That being said, if Pay to Play is here to stay, then this ‘kid of teacher’ exemption is a fair decision.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5
    • Cdev says

      To be fair who has been at county council meetings pulling for more school funds in the greatest numbers? Teachers!!!!!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
  2. Luther Lingus says

    “Dion Guthrie ” I want a hamburger, a cheeseburger, I want a hot dog………………

    “Working People of Harford County” you’ll get nothing and like it……………………

    If you can’t afford to live here in Harford County then move.

    I refuse to pay ONE CENT more to give you and your leeches anything else.

    Maybe Guthrie can stand outside of Dicks Sporting Goods on weekends and beg for our spare change to help his cause.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 9
  3. Phil in Bel Air says

    Suing over pay to play? Come off it – we pay to play for Harf Rec Sports, other counties already pay to play. We’re supposed to be such a rich county – why are so many families squawking over this – most Harford families – 2 pay checks and living in McMansions. Get a Grip. Subsidize low income if need be but this is mostly c-r-a-p. Councilman Guthrie – you’re letting Common Core into the county without any stink but you’re getting all “fired up” over p to p? Please get priorities straight. The socialists in DC march on and Harford is in a tither about $50?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8
    • Kharn says

      The pay-to-play fee push-back is more the feeling that no money should be required, and not about the dollar value in question.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7
    • HCPS spectator says

      Yes, let’s give lawyers thousands of dollars to fight for $50 of fees. No one complains when they have to shell out money to play rec’ sports.

      I WOULD LOVE TO SEE HCPS CANCEL MAGNET SCHOOLS AND SOME HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS TO MAKE UP THE COSTS FOR THEIR LAWYER FEES!!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7
  4. HYDESMANN says

    As usual everybody wants free stuff. The whole country wants free stuff, that’s why we voted for Obama. Just think, for one less pair of Nikes or Levies the kids could play any sport they wanted. Or they could get a part time job, cut grass, shovel snow, wash cars, shop for neighbors, etc. but they’re probably too busy talking on their parents free cell phone to have the time.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 20 Thumb down 13
    • Kharn says

      The kids shoveling snow to pay for baseball would’ve been down on their luck last year.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7
    • Fed up says

      Again – missing the point here. Nobody’s asking for free – we’re asking that the County manage their budget and spend within their budget!! That’s it – line up all the fees in this State and County and they exist for one reason – the politicians have squandered OUR tax dollars and they are too coward to make the right choices in cuts to meet the finite dollars that constitute their budget.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6
  5. Sam Adams says

    Talk about politics. Guthrie, Woods and Slutzky are now the champions for the poor-oppressed parents who have to pay more out of their pockets because Guthrie, Woods and Slutzky voted to give less to the schools then they asked for. Never let a crisis that you helped to create go to waste by posing as the savior, right? I cannot fathom how these people put up with their own hypocrisy.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 22 Thumb down 7
    • TR says

      They gave the school system $1.5 million more than they got last year despite the fact that there are fewer students. The school system has never received “what they asked for,” because they always ask for more than they need and more than the county can provide.

      The problem is that there is no accountability for how the school system spends the money that the county and state (by way of the taxpayers) give them. The county just writes a big fat check every year and the school system is free to spend/waste however they want.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 7
      • Cdev says

        The school system was still short 20 Million from what it needed!!!!! It also does not need the new wrestling room Mr. Sltuzky wanted them to have!!!!!

        Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 9
        • TR says

          What it “needed” and what it “asked for” are two very different numbers.

          The way I see it, there are two ways the situation can be changed. Either the state needs to give local school boards taxing authority like they have in Pennsylvania, or the state should turn operational control of school systems over to county governments. Neither is likely to happen though.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
        • agreed says

          The 1.6 million being spent on Aberdeen’s new weight room and stadium upgrades (aside from the 1 million being spent on the new turf field) would have covered the cost of pay to play/activity fees and the transportation changing so many are upset about.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
        • ALEX R says

          No, CDev, the school system was short $20 million from what if WANTED.

          But I do agree that the new wrestling room was an appalling waste of money. Anyone who can force the system to waste that kind of money as a sop to their ego needs to be voted out office. But let’s not forget that the BOE could have made an issue of it publicly if they had any cojones.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
      • the whole story says

        That 1.5 million extra from the county only covered added pension costs to the school system. So it was a wash in the end. The county provided no additional funding support to cover the raising cost of doing business. As a result, fewer teachers/staff, elimination of academic programs and course offerings, other internal cuts and reductions to staff development, student fees and transportation changes.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
  6. Cdev says

    Also transportation is not required at all except for certian groups. I imagine transportation fees are not to far off if this level of underfunding occurs!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8
  7. Bad Move says

    Charging for sports and after school activities and using the money for the general fund to pay teacher salaries is setting a bad precident. What stops the school board in the future from charging more students higher fees so they can fund whatever program and costs they want. Maybe every student will have to pay $1,000 to graduate or for school books/supplies, then $2,000 and more. The school board should spend what the state and county give them and that is it. This policy needs to be stopped now before it gets out of hand.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 9
    • Fed up says

      Amen Bad Move – this law suit should be directed at defunding the poorly managed schools if the HCPS system cannot manage a budget. Give us our money in its entirety. Sure, that’s an extreme swipe at them, but your point is valid. Pay here, pay there. The nickel and dime fee scheme has no end and it highlights the school district’s failure to manage the money they are given by the taxpayers. In the end, they should be beholden to US, not viceversa. It is our money and they are our children. None of us have heard any meaningful discussion on real cuts due to decreased enrollment around the county – all on the heals of a massive re-districting just a few years ago when we were told that enrollment was bursting our schools at the seams. The cash cow is running out of milk!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5
    • Cdev says

      The money from pay to play does not even cover half of the cost of running those activities. It is not going to fund teacher salaries. All that did was prevent them from cutting more teachers instead or just cutting all activities and sports and having more teachers!!!!!

      Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
    • lets keep perspective says

      While the fee money technically goes to the general fund what is at the root of this issue is the need to pay for programs that are not required of the school system. The fees are being charged to offset the expenses incurred by the school system to offer athletics and activities programs. The fees come nowhere close to covering the actual cost to support these programs. If fees were set to cover total cost to the system the fees would be in the multiple of hundreds of dollars. That is exactly what has happened in other parts of the country or these programs have been eliminated completely because the school system could not support these programs at the expense of their primary mission which is to provide academic/classroom education to students.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
  8. Careful What you Wish For says

    Be careful what you wish for. HCPS are not compelled to offer sports. Go ahead and sue them, and when they decide to cancel school sports altogether to save money and not deal with pay to play at all, you’ll be really happy. Right?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2
    • something to think about says

      You could be right and I don’t think Guthrie and Robinson are thinking this through. Next years budget will very likely be similar to this year and if forced to choose between with cutting another couple of hundred teachers positions and athletics/activities programs the lights at football stadiums and in gymnasiums might be very dark next year.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
  9. ALEX R says

    In the end the question that must be answered is “Are the schools going to bend to the will of the taxpayers/parents or are the taxpayers/parents going to be ruled by the school?” The answer to that question is at the root of all of the issues including funding, cutting waste, budgeting, transportation, fees, budgeting, organizational structure, etc.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5
    • JC says

      The will of the taxpayers/parents is to have their kids academically educated so they can be productive and successful. We shouldn’t dismiss the issues that some families may face over the recent changes but how many students/families are being affected? The school system has over 37,000 students to think about which in the bigger picture has to be considered against what is a relatively small number.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5
  10. Joe Aberdeen says

    Pay to Play, mmm?
    $50 to play …. pay for socks and a shirt …. do a fund raiser …. volunteer at concession stand …. do you want us to become the teacher and coach also?
    Free for Farm students …. free for active military (what about us that already served?) …. free for teacher’s children …. undue burden on the middle income families!
    Maryland My Maryland …. Land of the Fee !

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8
    • Jaguar Judy says

      Joe Aberdeen,

      Land of the Fee and Home of the Grave because they are killing us with taxes and they are going to bury us in fees.

      I ask the question that others have asked and no one wants to answer – where is all of the extra money the state has collected in the past year for gambling which they promised was going to education and have said that they are realizing record levels of income? HCPS and BOE, where s it? Mr. O’Malley, where is it? HCEA and MSTA, you guys lobbied hard for this legislation and you got what you spent your lobbying money on, so where is it? Teachers, you allowed your union to spend your dues on lobbying expenses for this legislation. You got what you wanted. Happy now?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6
        • Jaguar Judy says

          Then they better call their buddies in Annapolis and tell them to send a check because I know Annapolis got the funds. So this is between the Lib/Dems in Annapolis and the HCPS/HCEA/MSTA and teachers who allowed/encouraged their union and Mr. Burbey to spend money lobbying for it.

          Teachers, your unions and professional organizations spent your dues to lobby for more gambling revenue so you would get more money. The revenue came in at record levels so you better go back to those folks and ask them to send your share to you. Don’t ask me for more, I already gave at the “office”.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
          • because says

            Lets not forget that half of the school system budget is already funded by the State. The fact that the gambling money never made it (and will never make it) to Harford County does nothing to address the increased cost of operating our school system and the gap in needed funding. The gambling money is not coming no matter how much you complain about O’Malley, Burbey, and the rest. We are left to deal with the reality of a deteriorating school system because of budget constraints. Harford County citizens will have to decide what kind of school system they are willing to accept for our kids. The best way to do that is through the ballot box.

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      • Brianc says

        Got this from Wbal:

        “Maryland’s four casinos generated $284.3 million for the state, money that is designated in law for the Education Trust Fund. That’s an increase of nearly $190 million over the last fiscal year.

        The increase is due mostly to the opening of Maryland Live! in Hanover. It opened in June 2012 with 3,200 slot machines, just weeks before the start of the last fiscal year, which begins July 1. The casino added about 1,500 slot machines not long after it opened.

        “The numbers on the casino side are largely powered by the monthly performance of Maryland Live! with their slot machines and now that they’ve opened table games,” Martino said.

        To MD government-all levels: DO NOT BUDGET PROGRAMS BASED ON THIS AMOUNT!! The novelty of gambling will wear off and the proceeds from gambling will decrease over time…. That, in a nutshell, is the whole problem with government budgeting as a whole. They budget using the best estimated income/revenue numbers; and then when those numbers are not achieved(via multiple reasons); we have problems.

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        • ALEX R says

          Since the record levels of increased income for education have been realized I assume the teachers are going to get their increase. Right? I mean, after all, they and their unions pressed very hard for this law and the money is going for education. Right? I mean, that is what they told us.

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          • Brianc says

            Alex, notice, even with the facts that I presented I was NOT able to answer Jag judy’s questions: Where is the money?

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          • ALEX R says

            Brian C,

            What? You mean we have been lied to again? Woe is me! Isn’t anyone else tired of being – wait – let me insert a euphemism here – the government having sex with us against our consent.

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          • ALEX R says

            CDev, I know where about all of the budget comes from – taxpayers/parents/citizens via taxes and fees. Which have increased by record amounts. You guys in local education better figure out why your buddies in Annapolis and Washington aren’t sending you your fair share. Stop whining at the taxpayers and parents. As Jaguar says, we already gave more.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
          • question says

            @ALEX R and Jaguar Judy
            Do you have children attending public schools in Harford County?

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      • coach says

        LOL…you want to coach go ahead. Summer weight room, optional running/conditional, summer leagues and then the real season going until Nov. for most Fall sports. Most coaches make less than 10.00 an hour once the season is over (not even talking about Nov through summer stuff). So please…take your one or two nights working concession and shut up. You’re coach is making pennies for coaching this Fall season.

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  11. none says

    34 elementary schools, 9 middle schools and 10 high schools only four have magnet programs. Look at the map. Several of thes elementary schools are only a stones throw away from each other. The county could have built larger school buildings and saved money in the long run by not having to pay utilities on all the extra buildings.

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        • not here says

          You did indirectly (if you lived in Harford County for the last 10 years) by voting for either previous or current members of Harford County government and those elected to Annapolis.

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  12. Luther Lingus says

    How about this thought…………………….

    If you cannot afford an extra $50 a year per child then maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have kids in the first place. Especially when these people think nothing of buying a $120 pair of shoes and $50 fake Louis Vuitton bags.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
  13. PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

    There is a direct correlation between services a government provides and funding: if you deprive a government of funds, don’t be surprised if you also deprive yourself of services. Ever heard the old saying that “you get out of life what you put into it?” You can also say “you get out of government what you put into it.”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
    • ALEX R says

      Great! Excellent! That is exactly what I am looking for. Less money to the government and, in turn, they spend less. Perfect. Then we can concentrate on the amount of waste and the items that the government spends money on.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
    • Brianc says

      There is not a direct correlation, As a family of 3; we do not use the same amount of govt services that a family(or I should use the word household) of seven use. However, since I happened to take a risk 18 years ago and became owner of a company, I earn more; therefore, I am taxed more than said family of seven. Where is the direct correlation?

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      • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

        You are complaining that you make more money than most people? Well, you see the way it works is thus; the more you make the more you pay. That is the American way unless, of course, you are a billionaire and then you pay much LESS than you do and that is the Tea Party way.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7
        • Common Sense says

          @Proud to be Liberal

          You wrote –

          “You are complaining that you make more money than most people? Well, you see the way it works is thus; the more you make the more you pay. That is the American way unless, of course, you are a billionaire and then you pay much LESS than you do and that is the Tea Party way.”

          Your comments are foolish & stupid. No other way to describe them. And no point in saying anything else, since your misguided thinking can’t be fixed.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5
          • Because says

            Only someone with a severe asocial disorder fails to see the logic in contributing to the well being of other human beings and participating in a society as much as possible for the greater good. I suggest you reserve your criticism about foolish and stupid for the folks that feel they can withdraw their support from these issues in order to save themselves at the expense of our nation. You are little more than an opportunist living off how the country has progressed after the hard work of others has been invested. All you want is what is yours. And what is yours is so very little in comparison to what is ours. The best words that come to mind after foolish and stupid are petty and selfish. Carry on with your criticism – it highlights your dysfunction.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
          • Common Sense says

            Because you too are anti-responsibility and anti-accountability.

            Because you want to take the fruit of the labor of your fellow citizens who pay income taxes and transfer it to those who don’t contribute.

            Because you are a collectivist.

            Because you hate individual success and want to rob even the recognition of success from others.

            Because Mr. Porter you are the worst kind progressive who takes no shame in promoting fleecing of the productive participants in society and rewarding the wastrels.

            Porter have you no sense of your utter depravity?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
          • says

            Regardless what the “Common Sense” says, no one became successful on their own. If an Entrepreneur started a successful company “…You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your business….”

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          • Jack Rabbit says

            Yes because that’s all it takes to be a successful entrepreneur……

            Being a liberal must be so liberating not having to personally responsible foe anything…..

            I couldn’t imagine.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
          • Common Sense says

            @Proud to be Liberal

            You are for the redistribution of other people’s money.

            You don’t make any consideration for people who risk their capital.

            If a business owner invests their money in a business venture and it fails they lose their money and the government doesn’t make them whole by giving it back.

            When people invest their capital in the stock market and they lose their investment the government doesn’t help them out by saying here’s your money back.

            You are financially and economically illiterate.

            You cannot be helped because you believe in taking other people’s wealth.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
      • Because says

        I was just visiting a friend in Arizona that used to work at a firm in Private Industry and chose to leave to make his own business. His income dropped to half of what he was making in at the the firm but now claims his actual take home pay remains the same. His house sits on a hill overlooking Tucson and since it was Monsoon season there we got to see the fabulous light show that can be the thunder and Lightning that pass through the basin. He had it built 9 years ago and it surrounded by Saguaro Cacti and all the other variations of life the desert southwest has to offer. The fascinating thing about listening to him, is the stark contrast he has in the outlook on society with respect to you. He watches and supports PBS, he is environmentally aware and supports the local nature societies and even hikes mountains with his partner and travels the world to see it’s wonders. He has no qualms about the taxes he pays and never whines about paying for public education even though he has no children himself. What exactly are you missing that he is enjoying?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
        • Mike Welsh says

          “What exactly are you missing that he is enjoying?”

          The fruits of my labor. I’m missing it, and he is enjoying it!

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
        • Brianc says

          Wow Because!! It is awesome that you can afford a trip all the way to Arizona. You really shouldn’t “waste” that money on travel. Instead, (to use your words), you should use it to: “contributing to the well being of other human beings and participating in a society as much as possible for the greater good.

          OR do you not like other people to tell you how to spend the money you were blessed with?

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    • Jack Rabbit says

      There is no correlation, just take a tour of Guthries district and you will find they take way more then they give back in funding.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
      • PROUD TO BE LIBERAL says

        It’s ironic that you should mention that since the Southern Red states have nine of the ten of the nation’s poorest states yet are rabidly opposed to government spending. However, every one of these states get far more in government subsides than they give back in taxes. In short, the GOP / Tea Party states are welfare queens that benefit from the tax-paying Blue states. As it turns out, we liberals have been supporting baggers this whole time and not the other way around even while they accuse us of being lazy. res ipsa loquitur

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        • Jack Rabbit says

          I’m sure you are trying to make some sort of point, but I seriously doubt edgewood is a republican stronghold….

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        • Bill H says

          PTBL let me try to explain how your reasoning does not work. If I put you in a room of 100 people, 99 of them are on welfare you are not. 99 of them do not vote, you vote republican. Your logic says that 99% of the republicans are on welfare.

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          • says

            Bill you have a long way to go before you grasp logic. You will have to use data and facts to rebut my claim and not a cutesy saying that makes no sense and does not even address my statement. You are trying to change the subject which is that Red states are takers and Blue states are providers.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9
      • Because says

        Of course Jack. There are all those employees at Edgewood Area of the Aberdeen Proving Ground that love to live off the great DoD teet. Heck I know one that lives there that commutes to Washington to work at Homeland Security. Ah, the convenience of the MARC Train, serving Edgewood and Aberdeen.

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  14. Michelle U says

    Why wasn’t Alt. Ed. transportation cut? And when exactly does the budget get passed?
    Is there a reason that Harford Tech still gets picked up and doesn’t have to go to a depot stop?

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
  15. Why argue says

    Lost in this are the positions cut at schools. Programs have been cut at schools. I know that my kids go to Fallston Middle and five positions have been cut the past 2 years yet the enrollment has not changed in the past five years. I’d pay 25 dollars to have some of the teachers back.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
    • because says

      And if the funding situation does not change next year expect even more staff cuts and program reductions/eliminations to take place. New schools are nice but if you do not have adequate or quality staff to fill them or valuable programs to offer students what is the point? An election year is coming up – the primary election is only 10 months away in June. Make it a priority to remind the funding authorities of this and that you will vote accordingly.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  16. hank says

    I think most parents are less concerned with the pay to play than the transportation issues. For those who think we all live in Mayberry this may not seem like it’s a problem; that kids need exercise any way so just walk. The reality is that some of these roads don’t have sidewalks, there are registered sex offenders they have to walk by and have you ever walked anywhere at 6:30? It’s pretty dark in the winter. Drivers are too busy texting to watch out for high schoolers in the dark.
    Magnet parents were told repeatedly they would have transportation that would be no more than a mile from their homes. So now these kids are dumped at 2:30 in a school that’s not theirs with limited supervision and probably not all the materials they need to do their homework. People said that magnet parents should have been expecting this but how? They said magnet students were guaranteed transportation up until the time they said they wouldn’t. And why Harford Tech is immune to this is crazy. It makes no sense. I know it’s a separate school but it also requires students be picked up and taken to a school that’s not their “home” school. Once again Hazzard County penalizes the kids who worked hard enough to get into these programs. HCPS motto should be we aim for mediocrity.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7
    • HCPSTeacher10 says

      While Harford Tech may be a magnet school with specialized programs, for the students attending it…it is their home school and has been run that way since the 90′s. The other programs were added to existing high schools in more recent times as magnet programs became the latest educational trend

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  17. Mr Pilkington says

    A. Walking is good for people of all ages.

    B. Registered sex offenders are all mapped out and you can have your children avoid them on their walk to school.

    C. Families can carpool or hire livery service for their children to use for transportation.

    D. It’s against the law to text and drive.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6
  18. really??? says

    How is it that every freakin kid in Harford County high schools have a smart phone and a data plan…but parents are bi!ching about 50.00 pay to play? Really???

    Well-loved. Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6
    • Because says

      Did you see the commercial for possibly Sprint that shows a supposedly average family with a family plan that costs $400 a month? It’s clear Americans have way too much money to blow on things that we suddenly decided we want and not really need. The question that you should ask yourselves is: is our love of vanity technology or larger homes and more expensive cars so great that we are willing to pay a higher price for our wants and sacrifice what we are willing to pay for our needs?

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      • because says

        Unfortunately there is much truth in what you say. The wants of many parents have become more important than the needs of their children.

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  19. tugboat says

    So a cheesewagon stopped and picked up a kid, closed its door, drove no more than 20 feet and picked up another kid on the same side of the road.

    How about we review some of this dumbass shit first?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  20. EyeConcur says

    Tugboat–I couldn’t agree more. We’ve been behind HCPS buses nearly every day since school began, and I’m not seeing much difference between this year and all the other years. The buses in the Fallston, Bel Air and North Harford areas are STILL stopping at individual driveways. I must be missing something.

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  21. He who says says

    Unfortunately, scenarios described as such; bus picks up one kid, then picks up another less than 20 feet away could easily be fixed if everyone had some personal accountability, responsibility, and common sense. A little conversation goes pretty far… but who’s the one to initiate it?

    The Bus Driver isn’t interested in telling 1 kid he should stand in the other kids driveway to eliminate a minute worth of wasted time for an additional stop, the parents aren’t smart enough to figure out obviously. Same side of the road, a kid could easily walk towards the bus as it’s stopped picking up the first kid and be as safe as they are just waiting in their driveway.

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      • Harford County Mom says

        I have to disagree on this one Cdev. Driving down the 500 block of Trimble Road (the side with sidewalks) a middle school student gets on the bus (the student lives on the side with sidewalks). The bus driver then proceeds down Trimble Road six houses and picks up about 10 kids at Trimble and Emmerick. Why can’t this child walk past 6 houses, while the 10 other kids come from two to three streets away in the neighborhood? Investigated the transportation’s site and the child’s house is not listed as a specific stop. In the “e” neighborhood there is listed two stops. I am sure I am not the only one who has seen this throughout the county.

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  22. sirdock homes says

    No shit, Sherlock. The idea of consolidation with common sense keeps the smallest issues from contributing. Really? A bus stopping and picking up students within super short distances multiple times is a good idea?

    For instance, The unnecessary prolonged wear and tear of a bus stop and go’ing every 20 feet to each individual driveway is absurd.

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  23. RU Kidding says

    Can’t believe there aren’t non-teaching positions that couldn’t be eliminated in the system, especially at Central. Why at some schools are there four assistant principals for a total of 55 assistant principals in high schools and middle schools? And could someone explain what exactly does an Instructional Facilitator do? Does HCPS post publicly salaries of all employees?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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