Schools, chil­dren greatly im­pacted if WCD does not pass

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

We are for­tu­nate to have a very good school sys­tem in Charles County. Our schools are the heart and soul of our com­mu­nity, and the con­sti­tu­tion of our fu­ture.

There has been much heated de­bate about the Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict (WCD) amend­ment, over which some have quickly taken sides with a focal point on prop­erty rights. What is alarm­ing about this de­bate is the lack of dis­cus­sion about the con­se­quences for the school dis­trict if the WCD is voted down.

To il­lus­trate my point, re­cently Charles County Pub­lic Schools had pub­lic hear­ings for the re­dis­trict­ing of the new Billingsley Ele­men­tary School and ren­o­va­tion of Dr. Sa­muel A. Mudd Ele­men­tar y School. This com­pre­hen­sive re­dis­trict­ing will po­ten­tially af­fect ev­ery ele­men­tary school in Charles County. With a cost of nearly $35 mil­lion, Billingsley Ele­men­tary School will be the 22nd ele­men­tary school built in the county.

Many par­ents are not happy about the re­dis­trict­ing and right­fully so. This cur­rent re­dis­trict­ing is not the re­sult of the WCD; how­ever, it gives a very trou­bling pic­ture of the con­se­quences when we don’t man­age our growth well now, and in the fu­ture.

Un­for­tu­nately, the com­mu­nity will have to swal­low a bit­ter pill and make com­pro­mises on the backs of our chil­dren. It is a de­ci­sion I’m sure the school dis­trict will weigh care­fully, but we never should have placed them in the sit­u­a­tion in the first place.

We al­ready know there will be an­other re­dis­trict­ing sched­uled for Ben­jamin Stod­dert and Mil­ton Somers mid­dle schools in the near fu­ture. It, too, will have sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions across sev­eral school zones. Our county school dis­trict has done a won­der­ful job of longterm strate­gic plan­ning as well as act­ing as great stew­ards of tax­payer dol­lars. How much longer can we ex­pect them to make ad­just­ments and sac­ri­fices for overzeal­ous growth?

If the WCD is re­jected and the 17,000 homes pro­jected to be built pro­ceed, then once again we will be plac­ing the bur­den on our fam­i­lies and chil­dren for many years. One pro­jec­tion shows new school con­struc­tion needed to in­clude sev­eral ele­men­tary and mid­dle schools, plus a new high school at a cost of sev­eral hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars. To­day, the school dis­trict and pub­lic safety agen­cies are al­ready placed in a sce­nario of com­pet­ing in the bud­getary process for mil­lions of dol­lars to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively.

Why con­tinue to cre­ate a chaotic en­vi­ron­ment for our fam­i­lies and prob­lems for govern­ment of­fi­cials whose only re­course is to use tax­payer dol­lars to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion?

While the rec­om­men­da­tions made by the Charles County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion are not ideal, they do rep­re­sent a com­pro­mise. That is a valu­able les­son to be shared not only for the chil­dren, but for ev­ery­one con­cerned about qual­ity of life.

Let’s keep our chil­dren a top pri­or­ity in our com­mu­nity and slow growth down by sup­port­ing the WCD.

Tina Wil­son, Port Tobacco

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