Job Losses Highlight lack of Options

It’s official: 80 jobs have been slashed from the Anne Arundel County Public School System:

Schools are starting to feel the pinch from this year’s budget battle.

Eighty jobs – none of them teaching positions – were eliminated last week while the schools brace for another year without new science labs, kindergarten classrooms, playground equipment and other things officials said they badly need.

“It is severely going to impact how we help the media specialists and the children,” said Linda Williams, head of the library department, which is losing 11 of 21 employees. “I’m still overwhelmed by all of this.”

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Now it’s true that the positions eliminated are not the 150 teaching positions that Kevin Maxwell proposed be axed from the budget. But is there a clearer sign of financial mismanagement in the school system than this? In a nearly $1 billion budget, Kevin Maxwell and the majority of the Board of Education could not save 80 positions that have a positive impact on the education of our students. Is Maxwell and the Board saying that the high dollar bureaucratic jobs on Riva Road have a greater importance than jobs that directly impact the lives of students?

The problem with this, naturally, is the fact that parents, teachers, and taxpayers all still have no voice in this process. They do not get to cast a vote that will decide who will get the opportunity to vote on the School System Budget, voice their opinions on staffing, or hire the next superintendent. Instead of getting that choice in a competitive election, the voters will only decide if retread appointee Tricia Johnson and unregistered Democratic lobbyist Teresa Milio Birge stay on the job or not.

Sadly, we already know, through their appointment and selection by Governor O’Malley and his cronies on the School Board Nominating Commission, Johnson and Birge are going to do little more than uphold Maxwell’s status quo and fail to make the tough decisions that are required in order to provide students with a high quality education. And that is of no benefit to our students, our school employees, or taxpayers.


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