I’m sure the Howard County Public School System budget issues are real, but the solution should not be borne by third-grade string players and their teachers. Among them are national board-certified teachers who have put their hearts and souls into creating a program that should make any Howard County resident proud.

Among those kids are the future scholars and creative thinkers who will change the world and make Howard County the envy of the nation. A different solution must be found other than cutting the HCPSS third-grade strings program. Additionally, teachers in gifted-and-talented programs, librarians, resource teachers, paraeducators and more are facing cuts. These are all programs that set Howard County schools apart.

My husband and I are the proud parents of three Centennial High School graduates (2016, 2018, 2019). When we moved to Maryland from Indiana, the most important thing for us in identifying a place to live was a school with a good music program and strong academics. We wanted to make sure our kids were nurtured artistically in addition to academically. We soon directed our focus on Howard County and bought a house in Ellicott City. Our children enrolled in the music programs and gifted-and-talented programs immediately. I would not underestimate the intensity of importance these programs have for many, many families in Howard County. Our real estate agent tried to talk us into areas where home prices were lower, but we wouldn’t even consider it.

My fear is, if we don’t fight for the things that make the Howard County Public School System special, what will attract people to pay for the higher costs of housing here? As our schools become less desirable to young families, property values will go down. In the end, perhaps it would be more worthwhile to raise taxes a small amount to fund the schools adequately and continue to attract new people to Howard County rather than seeing such a decline.

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We need arts and music education more than ever. If anything, we should be boosting the school music programs. Children need to be nurtured at all levels.

After hearing about so many wasteful expenditures by the school system these past few years, it is very disturbing to imagine that we’re paying for expensive Zum buses, artificial turf fields and golden parachutes for unwanted employees by getting rid of educational programs such as third-grade strings. I hope everyone responsible for such a disastrous proposal will quickly rethink their educational values.

Nana Vaughn, Ellicott City

The Baltimore Banner welcomes opinion pieces and letters to the editor. Please send submissions to communityvoices@thebaltimorebanner.com or letters@thebaltimorebanner.com.

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