A Slap in the Face

This feels like one giant smack coming from the Anne Arundel County Board of Education:

The Anne Arundel County school board unanimously approved a $5,000 bonus last night for Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell.

Several board members prefaced the vote by noting the recent economic downturn and the fiscal challenges facing the state and county, but added that Maxwell deserved to be well-compensated.

“The superintendent deserves, in my opinion, much more than $5,000, but this is a tough economic time,” said board member Eugene Peterson.

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Referring to the possibility of layoffs or furloughs for school employees, he added, “We are going to fight for every single employee in the school system.”

Now don’t get caught on the fact that the bonus was “only” $5,000. But look at the symbolism of this award. A Superintendent who complains about budgets incessantly, a Superintendent who cut classroom jobs instead of reducing overhead, a Superintendent who wastes money on dumb projects, a Superintendent who has doubled the number of high-dollar employees, and a Superintendent who refuses who would rather raise the piggyback tax than do a thorough review of the effectiveness of School System programs, got a bonus for good performance.

I am stunned.

All we have seen from Kevin Maxwell is the inability to get the job done. An inability to plan to spend money within the means of our county budget. An inability to review program effectiveness before demanding more money be spent on unproven project. An inability to make schools a better value for our teachers, parents, students and taxpayers. Frankly, Kevin Maxwell should be reimbursing the county for some of his failures, not receiving a bonus for work not well done.

This is a slap in the face to everybody who pays attention to schools in Anne Arundel County. But it is the symbolism, not the dollar amount, that is most damning to members of the School Board, and just another reason by members of the School Board should face the public in competitive elections every four years.


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