Schools, children greatly impacted if WCD does not pass
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