From Citizens for Suzanne:
Suzanne Oshinsky, the Democratic candidate for Harford County Council (District B), says that students and teachers are being shortchanged in the way the county invests in education. She spoke to the Route 40 Business Association at their Candidates Forum on September 12th.
“Education currently accounts for only 36 percent of Harford’s total operating budget,” she points out. “This compares unfavorably to nearly 50 percent levels in most other counties and even more in some of Maryland’s highest performing counties.”
“The current administration would have you believe that the figure is actually 46 percent,” says Oshinsky. “It misled tax-paying property owners over the summer by distributing a pie chart in which the education figure miraculously rises 10 percentage points through the removal of some $162 million allocated for items ranging from highway construction to debt service.”
Inadequate funding for education has led to a number of negative results for Harford County, says Oshinsky, including student-to-teacher ratios in classrooms among the highest in Maryland.
“Meanwhile, some of our best and most experienced teachers have moved on to other counties paying higher and more equitable salaries,” she adds. “And those teachers who remain have more on their plates and less time to give individual attention to students who are struggling. Many teachers in our county have to take second jobs to get by.”
This problem is especially close to Oshinsky, who as the mother of an autistic son found it necessary to remove him from the public school system and home-school him because the Harford education system does not provide adequate funds for educating children with special needs.
“The quality of our schools is one of the key factors that families and businesses look at when relocating,” notes the District B candidate. “Unless we re-prioritize toward a greater commitment to education, the county as a whole will suffer.”