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As a parent of two Charles County Public Schools students and a product of the same school system myself, I would like to thank our elected board of education members, not only for their service on a daily basis in making decisions that ensure a quality education for all of our county’s students, but also for bringing to light actions taken by our elected county commissioners, who recently disregarded an agreement made between school board officials and themselves less than a year ago [“Allowing the overcrowding of our schools” Maryland Independent, Feb. 15].

It is refreshing to know that even though parents and the board of education don’t always see eye to eye on things, when it comes to overcrowding and safety, we are on the same page.

The commissioners who voted to approve four Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreements applications in areas where schools are already above state-rated capacity have broken their word, not only to the Board of Education but to all the students and families in our county. The School Board cannot keep pace with the ceaseless residential development of our county, development that we’re clearly not collecting enough from the developers to pay for.

The board is forced to do more with less, all while having to take the heat for it from parents (myself included) who stand up for their children’s education and demand better.

When portable classrooms become part of the permanent landscape at a school that is not built to grow into its full capacity and redistricting lines are constantly being redrawn, that clearly shows a lack of planning, and that more capacity in our schools is warranted. The article “Board OKs homes in crowded school zones” in the same issue of the Maryland Independent states that 80.9 students would be estimated to be added to overcrowded schools in the county based just on this round of approvals.

My concern is that although the number is small, the decision will set an important precedent that will allow this type of reckless activity to continue to transpire, unfettered, to the detriment of our students. But when no one demands a better solution or holds anyone accountable, we end up here.

So, I’m demanding a better solution, and I think people should be held accountable. So, to the parents in our community: Be part of the solution by being an active participant in your child’s education, and let your school board or county commissioners hear your concerns if you have any. Their job is to represent us. It is our right and responsibility as citizens to communicate with them and keep them in check. Be your child’s advocate.

To our elected leaders: Stand up for our citizens, specifically for our children — our future — make right the decision you have made and set an example for our children by standing by your word. Next, work with the state to come up with a formula that actually adds up for Charles County students so that we build schools that we can grow into, instead of relying on trailers and maps to fill the need caused by a lack of planning and funding.

And it should take less than a year to do the math and solve the problem.



Vicki Kelly, La Plata