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Comment: ‘I think it makes sense to … close some of the schools’

Carroll County readers this week weighed in on the future of Carroll County schools.

This week, Carroll County Superintendent Steve Guthrie said he will present options for cost savings, including school closures, as the county faces declining student enrollment and continuing costs to maintain and improve facilities.

The prospect of school closures sparked conversation among Westminster and Eldersburg Patch readers.

Have an opinion on the debate over schools? Share them in comments.

 “The schools here, while perhaps award-winning, are SO run down. Their technology is years behind - if they are allowed to use it at all (my son attends a school where the administration is anti-technology). Why not redistrict instead of closing? Why is the county losing students when housing is growing?” - Robin Nicole

“Not all schools in the county are run down. Some are very nice and others are in very poor condition, but it varies widely. Personally, I think it makes sense to redistrict and close some of the schools that aren't anywhere close to capacity and need capital improvements. It is better to have schools that are in decent condition and full but not pushing capacity rather than cutting staff positions and certain programs.” CS

“Are you kidding me???? I find it sooo interesting that Commissioner Rothschild continues to ADVOCATE for a school closing, but has not once suggested that the brand new middle school currently under construction in HIS district, be halted! WHAT A POLITICIAN!” Kelli Nelson

“If we want to influence funding, we have to participate in the public meetings and tell the school board and the commissioners what the public wants. If that's not successful, we replace them at the next election. I'm sorry this is not what you're used to. But, it's how it works here. It keeps our taxes low and our education is excellent. It's not perfect, but I'd take it over municipal school districts any day. (I spent decades in one.)” Freedom Mom

“Rothschild spouts these half baked ideas : ‘Let's close a couple of schools!’ but doesn't explain exactly how it will be accomplished. It seems as if he figures the next Board of Commissioners can solve the inevitable fallout from these grandiose plans. Someone is going to have to pay for this mess when Rothschild has moved on and I have a feeling it will be the taxpayers.” newsjunkie

Leadership begins with someone stepping forward to lead when a need arises. A trajectory leading us in the direction of 5,500 empty seats is a compelling metric that warrants investigation, debate, and consideration. Would you prefer a county commissioner that learned of this substantial excess capacity and remained silent? I believe I would be abdicating my responsibilities to the people of Carroll County if I simply ignored this matter. Now, you and others have the opportunity to at least participate in the discussion. Right?” Commissioner R Rothschild

mary ellen October 06, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Tell me - what is funny about people passionate about their schools?
Dana Coury October 06, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Commissioner Rothchild's short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible attitude towards education in Carroll County is shameful, and I hope he will reconsider his position. With our population estimates on the rise within the next 5-10, it is likely that we will need to reopen those same schools that he so causally suggests that we close, and the cost for that would probably be much greater than any savings garnered from closing schools. Or, does he suggest that the County build all-new schools for those same communities whose schools will be bursting at the seams in a matter of 5-10 years? Liberty High School Principal Tom Clowes estimates that it will cost an additional $308,000 to transport LHS students to surrounding schools, if Liberty H.S. were to be closed, for example. All Carroll County residents who support education should email all of our Commissioners, the Board of Education, the BOE Candidates, and Superintendent Guthrie and let them know that ALL Carroll County Schools should remain open.
Buck Harmon October 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM
The thoughts and processes of this Carroll Board of Commissioners seem to cater to, or perhaps promote the very high percentage of public apathy being experienced... When truely good things are being accomplished by government they tend to shine..haven't seen this group begin to shine yet...Apathetic Carroll ~ paving the way...
BC October 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM
At least this Board of Commissioners is looking at how the schools are being utilized. The previous board authorized the building of a high school (Manchester Valley) which was not needed. Today North Carroll and Manchester Valley both are a little over half capacity which is costing the county extra millions every year for debt service and school costs (Administration, maintenance, utilities, etc).
Buck Harmon October 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Commissioner Shoemaker put the hard push on the previous Board of Commissioners while functioning as Mayor of Hampstead to build Manchester Valley High School. He claimed that there was an URGENT NEED for the new High School at the time and actually campaigned boasting of his accomplishments.....Shoemaker owns a good part of the MVHS moneypit ...he is as much to blame as the previous Commissioners. SPEAK TO THE MESS THAT YOU HAVE CREATED HAVEN...fess up and tell the truth about it..!
JoeEldersburg October 07, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Not sure I agree that ALL schools should remain open, but certainly Liberty is unlikely to close under all but the most stupid of scenarios...but perhaps we are giving the school board way too much credit here. This school board and the last Board of Commissioners built MVHS, the Taj Mahal of Carroll Schools at a whopping cost of $74 million without any state funding. We now have 2 high schools (MVHS & N. Carroll) operating at roughly half capacity and they are projected to decline in enrollment over the next 5 or 6 years. Yet it was the Board of Commissioners, not the school board who asked them to look at our schools capacity and the facilities survey was anything but straightforward. Bottom line, we probably cannot trust the school board to eat crow and admit they made a huge financial mistake and close N. Carroll to consolidate the students again under one roof (this time at MVHS). The Commissioners are unlikely to agree on any particular school closings or mass re-districting for fear of the political ramifications within their districts. And Tea Party nut Rothschild (Frazier will be right behind him) is now pushing a voucher alternative, as if we live in Baltimore City. Voucher programs are consistent with the lowest regard for public school systems, so hold on tight, Tea Party politics and our schools should be interesting. We might end up eliminating all sports and sex ed and start instead teach creationism alongside evolution as a competing theory!
Della May October 11, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Leave Liberty Alone. Redistricting our kids in the middle of their high school years will be difficult, demoralizing, and will negatively impact their motivation and sense of self at a time where their emotional and mental development needs to be reinforced to prepare them for adult responsibilities. As a child of a military family, my parents knew this well. When they had to move to a new school district in Maryland, they petitioned Anne Arundel county to let my sister finish her Senior Year at Arundel rather than start over in another High School 17 miles away. They approved the request and my parents made the sacrifice of driving her to and from her High School every day so she could graduate with her school and classmates. It IS that important. If you want to reduce costs, find a dual way to utilize the expensive schools built up North that have under enrollment. Don't involve Liberty in problems we didn't create. When the Freedom District speaks, you will know it. We band together and we will fight for Carroll Schools and any other cause that impacts our County. And we will vote you out. You can count on that. Show alternatives; not a poorly generated questionnaire with questionable results. We elected you to serve our county, and we will hold you to it. Especially when your decisions impact the kids of Carroll.

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