Candidates for Montgomery County Board of Education were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Direction: School board critics say the present board majority has changed the county schools' traditionally liberal philosophy. Should the present direction be changed?
Closings: On the issue of school closings, how much weight should be given to existing guidelines for integration in deciding which schools are affected?
Sex Education: At what grade level should sex education be taught and should the present format be changed?
Michael L. Gudis (D), (Incumbent) 46, of 14809 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, an accountant, has been a member of the County Council since 1978 and has been active in community groups, including service organizations and the Maryland Trust Fund for Independent Living for Disabled Persons.
Funds: Anticipated Losses in federal funding are inevitable. We do not know what programs will be affected or by how much. During the past budget season, the council took into consideration possible federal cuts for fiscal year 1983. In order to provide for these cuts, we eliminated unnecessary overhead costs. I feel that we can cut more overhead costs by consolidating various parts of county government. My 25 years of experience in this fiscal and tax field has provided me with the expertise necessary in order to accomplish this difficult job. We must provide high-quality services to children and to citizens who need our assistance. Unnecessary costs must be eliminated and program evaluation has to be increased. I believe we are moving in the right direction but experienced and qualified elected officials are necessary in order to accomplish the goal of absorbing federal cuts and delivering the services needed by our citizens.
Housing: During the past four years, I have worked on providing more moderate income housing in Montgomery County. The housing policy statement adopted by the council is a step in the right direction. I have personally supported the use of tax-exempt bonds to provide financing for mortgage loans at low interest rates for qualified persons. Proposals which should be considered include the use of county owned land as possible sites, joint use of high-rises in the central business districts, increases in density near large commercial areas and investment of pension funds to provide funding for moderate income housing. We must work with the private sector so that they may provide fringe benefits to employees who need low-interest mortgage loans.
Population: I have supported and will continue to support increased Health Department and Social Services staff to respond to the needs of these groups. I support the use of county resources utilizing Montgomery College and the private sector to train people needing job skills. I support a clearinghouse so that we can find jobs for people needing employment. I believe we must work closer with the private sector in order to be successful in this area.
Views: I believe citizens' views are very important in the decision-making process. We have the most educated citizenry in Montgomery County, and they supply us vital information before, during and after the public hearing process. I have supported the use of public hearings and citizen forums on a number of subjects, including the Laytonsville Landfill, resource recovery, the Wheaton bus bay location and the location of B'nai B'rith elderly housing. Information given to me by citizens is very important as I analyze all of the facts and reach a conclusion.
Carol G. Henry (D), 40, of 18401 Wachs Terr., Olney, has been president of the Greater Olney Civic Association, second vice president of the Montgomery County Civic Federation and on the PTA executive board. She is a member of two county citizen advisory committees.
Funds: Montgomery County should get its priorities in order. Although the exact nature and extent of federal cutbacks is unknown, reassessment of spending programs needs to begin now. I would stress people over expensive capital projects. We cannot shirk from our responsibilities to all our citizens--specifically, health care, nutrition, elderly support services, quality education, sensible transportation programs, police and fire protection and manpower training. Taxes can be kept at a reasonable level by eliminating costly projects with limited or questionable benefits, such as the Executive Office Building, the Corby Mansion or the proposed Interc0unty Connector (Outer Beltway).
Housing: It is essential that a full range of housing stock be available for all, including the young, elderly and those of modest income. Aside from necessary improvement in the existing MPDU program (adequate enforcement and retaining saleable units in the market), I propose rehabilitation of older homes, purchase of moderate ly priced houses in scattered locations, innovative land use concepts to reduce building costs by efficient site layout, affordable mortgage programs to aid first-time home buyers and incentives for private apartment construction.
Population: The county government appears largely to have abandoned the minorities in the "mature urban" areas inside the Belt way. Equal attention should be given to this area's need for capital improvements and school-neighborhood facilities. Expanded employment opportunities in county government would have many important consequences: better delivery or social services, greater community support for the police department and increased sensitivity to neighborhood planning and development. Small-business programs and access to credit are key self-help measures. This diverse population is a valuable resource; we must build on the vitality of these groups as other major cities have.
Views: The call for citizens' views is often too little, too late. The result is a crimonious public hearings rather than a constructive, problem-solving process. Early community involvment is critical for true input and for the building consensus. For example, $6 million had gone into the study of the resource recovery proposal (Shady Grove incinerator) before the creation of a citizen task force which has raised numerous questions of safety. Will these concerns now get an adequate evaluation? The willingness of our citizens to commit time and talents to community issues should be cultivated--it is our county's special asset.
Leonard Teitelbaum (D), 51, of 11805 Auth Ln., Silver Spring, is president of Terminal Data Corp. in Rockville. He is vice chairman of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. He has been active in community organizations, including service groups, Kemp Mill Civic Association and county Democratic Central Committee.
Funds: We should review all existing programs and prioritize them to serve those who most need the assistance of the government. Whereever possible, the private sector should be encouraged to participate in programs to aid the disadvantaged.
Housing: The county must use its bonding authority to provide tax-free or reduced-rate funds for the construction of moderate income housing. This approach will reduce construction costs. The county and its subagencies also can hold mortgages, which enables the county to exert continuous control over the property owners to maintain the moderate income housing levels.
Population: Montgomery County should recognize the needs of all its minority citizens by. facilitating their access to jobs, housing and education throughout the county.
Views: It would be my intention as a member of the County Council to make a decision on any issue only after all citizens' views have been heard.