Editor:

During County Executive Craig's final State of the County Address, he extolled the accomplishments of his administration. Most notable among these were many construction projects, including a new sheriff's office, emergency operations center, new schools, etc. Presumably, Mr. Craig believes that these edifices alone fulfill his commitment to public safety and education. While Mr. Craig's commitment to development and construction cannot be questioned, his commitment to both public safety and education are suspect.

County Executive Craig contends that public safety and education are two of the six "pillars" of his administration. Why then has he failed to provide the funding necessary for either the Harford County Sheriff's Office or Harford County Public Schools to honor their contracts and commitments to their staff? If Mr. Craig is so committed to providing academic and technical programs, why has he persistently criticized the staffing levels, which HCPS requires to expand programming to meet the demands of a competitive 21st century education, which includes increased access to availability of academic and technical programs?

In typical fashion, County Executive Craig blames the State of Maryland for all of his funding woes.

Mr. Craig's failure to adequately fund our schools is further complicated by his extensive public development program. Not only do these projects bleed necessary funding from the operational budgets for both education and public safety; but his copious public improvement projects have caused a dramatic increase in Harford County's wealth factor, which is used for calculating state aid to public education. No one in the Craig Administration seems to have paid any heed to the impact that his extravagant spending on development would have on the funding provided to Harford County Public Schools by the State of Maryland.

Over the course of the last nine years, Mr. Craig has consistently underfunded both public safety and public education. Likewise, he has repeatedly blamed others for his shortcomings and failure to fulfill his promises. Whether he is blaming the State of Maryland or the Harford County Board of Education or the Harford County Council or the Governor or even the Harford County Delegation, it seems someone else is always to blame for Mr. Craig's failures. I will not question Mr. Craig's, "Love of this county." However, his lack of accountability and inability to compromise, or collaborate with his fellow elected officials and stakeholders have not "positioned" our county for a better future. Tragically, by failing to adequately fund our schools, Mr. Craig has put the quality of our schools, the value of our properties and most importantly, our children's futures at risk.

Ryan Burbey

President, Harford County Education Association