Text of Rita Misra’s Comments at the Budget Hearing, May 12

Thank you Rita for continuing to fight for our children.

Good evening. My name is Rita Misra. I am not a teacher, county employee, or union member. I am a mother, I work, I pay taxes, I support adequate funding for essential public services, and I vote.
Ever since my children entered Carroll County Public Schools 15 years ago, I have tried my best to follow the local budget process and what happens in my community and our schools. I used to believe that Carroll County was doing pretty well on all counts. But over the past four years, things have gone from bad to worse. Quite frankly, I am alarmed.

Relative to other areas of MD, wealth in Carroll has been increasing. Yet the percentage of overall revenue to support public education has declined. This strategy has provided very little money to individual families, failed to promote economic development, and taken a heavy toll on our communities and kids. Across Carroll, morale is at an all time low, infrastructure is crumbling, and our best teachers are leaving. The FY15 budget and out-year plan will do nothing to reverse that trend.

The FACT is, since 2010, inflation has continued to drive up the costs of fuel, electricity, health care, and instructional supplies. Yet funding for public school operations will effectively drop $5.7M and $6.4M, from the County and State, respectively. Simply put, the level of funding has fallen way below what’s necessary to attract, train, and retain qualified teachers and deliver curricula that will prepare our children to meet the challenges of college and career.

Carroll needs economic development to offset the inevitable costs of maintaining good facilities and services. Countless studies have shown that high-paying businesses locate where they can find qualified employees, and qualified employees want to live in areas with good public schools. It is crazy to think CCPS can improve student performance without increasing teacher pay and instructional support.

But you already know that. Some of you just don’t care.

Mr. Rothschild and Ms. Frazier, the idea that “communists, liberals and foreigners” are co-opting our way of life and our childrens’ minds, and that you must save us from ourselves, is destructive, divisive, and not grounded in reality. We need better representatives, representatives who truly understand the limits of their own power, who appreciate the expertise of others, and who will put the best interests of Carroll County citizens first.

Our founding fathers laid the foundation for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The generations that followed made that a reality for millions of Americans by, among other things, building a system of great public schools that serve as a model for the rest of the world to follow. Commissioners, we have come a long way; and the mothers (and fathers) of Carroll County are not going to let you hold our children or our communities back. Thank you.

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