Dear Mr. Haines: Lets Work Together For More Open Discussion
Dear Mr. Haines,
Thank you very much for your response to my open letter.
I appreciate all of your service as both a classroom teacher and as an advocate for education within our County.
As you probably imagined, I do have some disagreements with your response.
I am afraid that you did not understand that my open letter to you contained two separate issues:
- That your opinion piece seemed to be an unfair attack on Governor Hogan’s budget—which at the time, had not yet been released—without recognizing that Maryland’s economic problems were created under someone other than Mr. Hogan.
- That Mr. Maxwell’s salary package—regardless of its total percentage of the County School System’s budget—was finalized behind closed doors, and included several perks which, regardless of the “penny wise” logic that you suggest, still shows to the tax paying public that school funds are being used for unnecessary expenditures when they could be used to better the school system, even in the slightest way.
Unfortunately, you tried to tie the two concerns together and suggest that I was making the argument that Mr. Maxwell’s salary package was comparable to budget cuts that may or may not occur in the future. My purpose in separating these two issues in my initial letter to you was to express my opinion that if you were going to submit an opinion piece to a newspaper attacking Governor Hogan for budget decisions that he had not even made at that point, then you should not overlook poor financial decisions—regardless of their costs—by our County’s School Board.
However, as you know by now, Governor Hogan did release his proposed budget the day after his Inauguration, and is promoting a budget that expends $16.4 billion with revenues of $16.4 billion. He made it a priority at his news conference to point out that it includes record funding for K-12 education, increased spending on higher education, and also fully funds school construction.
There is no doubt that state legislators, county officials from across the State, citizens, and organizations such as yours will review the Governor’s proposed budget.
Mr. Haines, I applaud you for lobbying for education funding. If you think otherwise, then you may have misinterpreted my first letter. However, what did concern me was that your opinion piece appeared to have cast blame on Mr. Hogan for having to make extremely tough budget decisions to get our State back on track, while not mentioning once that it was the O’Malley/Brown administration’s policies and out of control spending that ran our economy into the ground in the first place.
Did the PGCEA write any opinion pieces over the last 8 years calling on Mr. O’Malley to balance the budget and clean up the mess in Annapolis in an attempt to avoid the massive deficit that Mr. Hogan now faces?
I recognize that you may be concerned about the budget decisions facing Governor Hogan at this time. The rest of us Marylanders share that concern, too. We were faced last November with a decision to choose between a continuation of the spending and policies that came out of Government House for the last 8 years, or a new direction that would bring with it a plan to balance Maryland’s budget and an acceptance of the daunting task of fixing our great State.
I hope that the PGCEA will recognize–regardless of any candidate preference–that there is indeed a mess to clean up in Annapolis, and will also recognize that the People of our State hired someone who advocated for change.
While I appreciate the concerns that you did address (though I disagree with your responses), I am more concerned about those points that you did not address.
Sometimes what is left unsaid is the most worrisome.
At the conclusion of my initial letter, I asked you to join me in lobbying the Prince George’s County Board of Education in making their future superintendent contract negotiations part of a more open process, thus allowing us tax payers to see exactly how a portion of our hard earned money is being spent. This effort would have nothing to do with the budget percentage of a Superintendent/CEO’s salary package, but would rather better inform the public of financial decisions made by the Board of Education, which has often lost the trust of the public over the years.
When we live in a County in which the County Executive picks the Superintendent/CEO, appoints his former brother-in-law to be the Chairman of the School Board, and authorizes him to work out the Superintendent’s salary package contract–who then finalizes that contract behind closed doors and says that the final contract will only be made public after it is signed by Mr. Maxwell–we the tax payers have every right to express concern and insist that such practices are not only unethical, but are prime examples of cronyism, the likes of which will derail our County off the “Path of Greatness” that Mr. Baker so eagerly promotes.
And so, Mr. Haines, I again invite you to join me in lobbying the Prince George’s County Board of Education in making future contract decisions more open to the public.
I would be more than honored to meet with you in person, one on one. While we may have different views on some things, I am confident that we can both agree that the tax payers deserve better than closed door contract meetings.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee
*Personal Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to Robert Windley, and may not represent the collective view and opinion of the Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee. In this article, the author speaks for himself.