Another Day, More Reasons

One of the best reasons for an elected school board in Anne Arundel County are encapsulated in this article regarding school budgeting:

Angry County Council members yesterday accused the Anne Arundel County school system of vilifying the county government for the superintendent’s proposal to leave 200 teaching positions unfilled, with the council chairwoman blasting school officials for running “one hell of a PR [public relations] scam.”

“Whoever’s doing your PR over there is doing one heck of a job, not a fair one, but a good job,” Council Chairwoman Cathleen M. Vitale scolded the district’s top business and human resources officials. “I’m wondering when I will see the press release that says the superintendent cut 200 positions … so [he] can move forward with other non-core programs and initiatives.”

Kudos to Councilwoman Vitale for calling a spade a spade on this one. Something Councilman Ed Reilly also echoed:

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Council members insisted they funded 294 new teaching positions last year, and it was the school district’s decision to use the money in other ways and pull the funding from such a controversial area as classroom teachers.

“So, even though we told you we want you to use [funding] for teachers, you used it for other things?” Councilman Edward R. Reilly asked the school system’s assistant superintendent Gregory V. Nourse, budget director Susan Bowen and human resources director Florie Bozzella.

“We have gotten very little from the school board, which I’m not very happy about,” continued Reilly, who called the meeting. “Wish we would’ve gotten some of the numbers before the news outlets.”

The budget battle has everything to do with the call for an elected school board. Let’s face it, a School Board appointed by the O’Malley/Leopold Commission is not going to be any more proactive that the current Board in adopting responsible spending that focuses on educating students first and foremost. I have argued for some time that Kevin Maxwell’s spending priorities are out of whack with what is necessary in order to properly educate students in core classes and subject matters. The County Council understands this, and is taking steps to address these concerns with the budget. The Board appointed by the O’Malley/Leopold Commission is merely going to gives us more of the same, particularly when one considers that it has been suggested by the Commission that Board members should give the Superintendent carte blanche when it comes to School System Operations.

Kevin Maxwell’s fiscal irresponsibility has been tolerated by a majority of the current members of the school Board, and more than likely will also be tolerated by the appointees coming from O’Malley and Leopold’s liberal commission. Until we make sure that this Board is elected by the voters of Anne Arundel County, taxpayers will not have their interests represented in School System policymaking and we will see a continuation of recklessly misguided spending from the Board and the Superintendent.


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