The Worcester County Education Foundation is one of the better ideas to come along in years and could make a huge difference in a county that is both blessed and cursed with a wonderful tax base, since the county also has a population that is not as well off overall as its property tax potential suggests.
The foundation, which formally presented itself to the public this week at a gathering of business people, educators and political office holders, aims to address one of the bigger problems school districts face everywhere: tight government budgets versus the never-ending need for better schools.
Here in Worcester, that problem is exacerbated by the state’s faulty school funding formula, the basis of which is the tax base in dollars divided by the number of year-round residents.
Obviously, Worcester’s ratio of potential tax dollars to people is one of the best in Maryland, except that it doesn’t allow for the fact that most of these properties are owned by people who don’t live here and that a substantial portion of the year-round population struggles with the same sour economic factors found elsewhere on the lower Eastern Shore.
Consequently, the county’s public schools, unlike those in neighboring counties, get little in the way of state aid to education, leaving the county government to cover almost three-quarters of the bill.
County government officials, meanwhile, know what their constituents can or are willing to afford, just as they know what will happen to them politically if they fail to act accordingly.
The result is school funding that doesn’t really cut it in an ever-changing technological world.
The foundation hopes to change that by encouraging residents and businesses to invest in the future of the area by contributing to the effort to bring local students up to speed in the digital communications era.
Although some people will probably argue that they have no children in school, or that the taxes they pay should suffice, that’s just not the case. Society in general would be better off and more prosperous if every person had the opportunity to work up to his or her best level.
The Worcester County Education Foundation is working to see that happen and supporting that effort is the right thing to do.
We didn’t mean to do it, but we did a disservice to local attorney Heather Stansbury just before the Ocean City election.
In the course of editorializing on the October legal battle over whether a candidate was a resident, we praised City Solicitor Guy Ayres for putting an end to the campaign to oust potential City Council candidates in the second of two hearings on the matter.
What the opinion piece neglected to say was that Stansbury had offered similar advice to the council in the first hearing on another would-be candidate earlier in the month.
As a result, the unintended implication of the editorial giving credit to Ayres was that he did the job, while she did not. The fact is she did do her job but the council chose to ignore her advice.
Again, our apologies.