Community needs answers about AACPS principal reassignments; state retirees feeling abandoned | READER COMMENTARIES (2024)

What is the rationale behind school system moves?

The Anne Arundel County Public School system families have witnessed an upheaval of their schools and administration, with 24 high school level principals and assistant principals reassigned across the county, effective June 26, 2024. However, the rationale behind these changes remains unclear, as no quantitative nor qualitative justification has been shared to support such a significant overhaul.

One notable reassignment is that of Principal Lindsay Abruzzo from Severna Park High School (SPHS), who has made remarkable strides in transforming the school’s culture in less than one full year in her post.

Her leadership style, blending respect, nurturing, passion, collaboration and growth, has been overwhelmingly well-received by students and staff. Her focus on inclusivity and mental health has demonstrated her ability to understand our students and provide the right level of support for them. What a shame we will now lose that.

Beyond SPHS, the impact of these reassignments is felt across the county, as talented leaders are being removed from schools where they have fostered strong relationships with students and families. Students, like those at Old Mill High School, are heartbroken over losing their principal — described by one student as “the only person who cares about me” at a recent Board of Education meeting.

I have emailed Dr. Mark Bedell on three separate occasions regarding the reassignment of Abruzzo, respectfully requesting a response; I have received nothing. This lack of communication contradicts Bedell’s stated goal of “establishing community trust and confidence” by listening to and involving stakeholders.

The reassignments have put schools at risk, and the community is left questioning whether these changes truly serve the best interests of our children. Without rationale and intended outcomes, this is a “change for the sake of change” maneuver that needs to be walked back immediately.

Jen Whitlock, Millersville

Safe Harbor Marina change causes problems

I am opposed to changing Safe Harbor Marina from an MA3 Yacht Club to an MA2 Light Commercial Marina (Bill 28-24). Podickory Point is a small residential neighboring bordering Sandy Point State Park and the Corcoran Environmental Study Area.

There are no sidewalks. Deer and foxes and pedestrians walk freely. Currently Safe Harbor can not adequately accommodate parking for its existing usage. Gas is available nearby at Sandy Point and Deep Creek. Restaurants are plentiful in the area.

Already Safe Harbor has been having charter boats and fueling rental boats in violation of the current zoning. The additional traffic, parking issues and fire threat already exist. Emergency vehicles have already had difficulty accessing our narrow streets.

Kathleen K. Polk, Annapolis

State retirees need prescription benefits

Finally, The Capital exposed those who made the decision to take away the prescription benefits that retirees thought they earned by working for the State of Maryland with so many years of service.

Lawmakers made the decision affecting more than 55,000 older retirees. As the article stated, many of us went to work for the state even though the pay grades were lower than private industry because the benefits were beneficial.

Most state retirees did not make large salaries and their pensions reflected your earnings. I doubt, if at the time this decision was made, that it would have affected those in the General Assembly.

After 46 years of combined service, to lose our earned prescription benefits is more than a slap in the face, it is abandonment. At a time when we need these benefits the most, they are taking them away.

Forewarn current state employees, how do they know whether their benefits will remain for them? Dumping us into a federal program is not right. We were state employees.

Gov. Wes Moore, can you help us?

Sandra Anderson, Annapolis

It’s time a national park honored a Jewish American

As one who worked closely with leaders of the Freetown community in Glen Burnie to assist their efforts regarding the restoration of their Rosenwald School, I was pleased to read the May 19 story about the Camp Parole Rosenwald School in Annapolis.

The story noted the unique, inspirational partnership between Booker T. Washington, head of Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who helped finance the construction of more than 5,300 schools in 15 southern states including Maryland.

While there are more than 420 sites in our National Park System, there has never been a national park honoring a Jewish American. The current campaign to establish a Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools’ National Historical Park in Chicago would be the first.

Recognizing the Rosenwald legacy will be a testament to the power of education as the most effective way to fight injustice.

John R. Leopold, Stoney Beach

The writer, a Republican, served as Anne Arundel County Executive from 2006 to 2013.

Replacing Bay Bridge should also be a concern

Congratulations to the entire team of professionals that cleared the wreckage after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. The efforts of all those involved were nothing short of herculean.

The bridge collapse was another in a series of reminders about our nation’s vulnerability to supply-chain disruptions. Its collapse closed a vital waterway for our nation’s commerce. We also quickly saw the impact to the Baltimore economy.

Last year the Port of Baltimore handled a record amount of international cargo — worth more than $80 billion. The port ranks ninth in both dollar value and tonnage in the U.S.

However, as efforts now focus on the replacement bridge, we must not forget to also think about the Bay Bridge replacement. The Key Bridge collapse and its aftermath serves as a good example of why a tunnel would be a better replacement than a bridge over the Chesapeake Bay. More costly? Yes, but strategically far better.

As a retired naval officer, I served on ships that lost power. Fortunately, all my experiences have been on the open seas. Unfortunately, the Dali’s hitting the Key Bridge was not a one-off.

The Washington Post did research that found 424 cargo ships longer than 600 feet reported losing propulsion in U.S. waters over the past three years. About a quarter of the incidents occurred near a port, bridge or other infrastructure.

Around Baltimore alone, ships lost propulsion nearly two dozen times in the last three years.

These statistics are not very comforting, but they should send a strong message to our political leadership as a replacement for the Bay Bridge moves along. A ship’s hitting the Bay Bridge would be catastrophic not just for our area but for our entire nation.

Rear Adm. Tom Jurkowsky, USN (Ret.), Annapolis

‘Us vs. them’ mentality threatens democracy

I read with dismay County Executive Steuart Pittman’s weekly letter (5/16/2024): “The three candidates I backed … were up against big money … a fellow county executive came from behind to win handily against a billionaire’s personal investment of some $60 million … makes me feel a little better about Nov. 5, when voters will face a choice between decency and deceit, between democracy and doom.”

I recognize he’s a politician, and our entrenched two-party system rewards those who boil elections down to “us vs. them.”

I didn’t vote for Jessica Haire for county executive, but I don’t believe the 99,004 county voters who did are the “them” who want, or are blind to their unwitting support for, the demise of democracy.

I also think it is wrong to demonize a billionaire with identical policy positions as the far less experienced winning candidate, simply because he put his own money where his mouth is.

Pittman has expressed concern about polarization in society, once suggesting county government partner with Braver Angels, an organization working to moderate the degree of polarization (5/25/2023). As a Democrat and supporter of Braver Angels, I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen. We must recognize the tendency of those in power to use government resources to manipulate public opinion.

Reforming our election processes (winner take all) that “mathematically ensure” the existence of a two-party system will not be championed by those in power, it must be led and carried out by “We the people.”

Kurt Svendsen, Arnold

Do we trust Hogan’s words or his actions?

Does Larry Hogan think Maryland voters are stupid? All of a sudden, he claims, “I support restoring Roe as the law of the land?” How convenient — and political.

We certainly remember that some of his last acts as governor were to veto three bills: to expand the number of health professionals who can provide abortion care; to require more insurance coverage for health care; and to authorize the money that the state legislature had set aside to train medical providers in abortion care.

And now he’s claiming to be pro-choice and supports restoring Roe as the law of the land? Do we trust his words or his actions? They are contradictory.

In this election, there is clearly only one candidate who believes in, and will support, a woman’s right to choose her own health care. And that is Angela Alsobrooks. Don’t let Hogan’s political, and dishonest, rhetoric fool you. That is what he is hoping for.

Patrick Fleeharty, Annapolis

‘I approve this message’ insults our intelligence

It’s disturbing to me when these politicians finish communicating a message to the public and say “I approve this message.”

Anyone with any common sense would know that the politician sits down with staff members and decides what message they’re going to communicate to gain votes. Then they find a media outlet to air their ad to the audience they are pinpointing.

Then they insult the intelligence of the all people by saying “I approve this message,” when instead I feel they should say, “If you agree with this message I just communicated to you, I’d appreciate your vote.”

James Standiford, Millersville

It was inappropriate for Republicans to attend trial

Once again it falls on the shoulders of U.S. citizens to support our democracy. Again our Republican leaders have chosen to act like spoiled children having temper tantrums instead of adults.

I believe they need a reminder of the value of our three separate but equal branches of government. It was totally inappropriate for the Republicans to attend the trial of a twice-impeached former president. They abandoned their work in Washington, which required the remaining committee members to return to work when these undisciplined members returned.

The Judicial Branch of our government is strong — although our Supreme Court members might also need a lesson — and is doing its job to uphold the rule of law and protect U.S. citizens.

Christine Kortas, Lothian

Community needs answers about AACPS principal reassignments; state retirees feeling abandoned | READER COMMENTARIES (2024)
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