Red Maryland Candidate Survey: Christine Delmont-Small for Howard County Board of Education
BA Political Science and Economics, Boston College
Stay at Home Mother
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I’ve served on the executive boards of Howard County PTAs and filled leadership roles for the PTA Council of Howard County (PTACHC), including three terms as PTACHC president.
I’ve represented PTACHC on the Board of Education Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC) during its review of the FY13, FY14 and FY15 operating budgets (OBRC co-chair in FY14 and FY15), School Nutrition Advisory Committee, and the Joint Task Force on School Security, Physical Security Subcommittee.
I served on the Maryland PTA Legislative Committee, and on the Maryland PTA Board of Directors throughout my tenure as PTACHC president.
Member, Board of Education of Howard County 2016 – 2020
I served on the Board of Education’s Legislative Committee (2 terms), Board of Education’s Redistricting Committee (1 term) and currently serve as the chair of the Board of Education’s Audit Committee (3 terms), and represented the Board of Education on the County Executive’s Spending Affordability Advisory Committee (3 terms).
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Why are you running for office?
I’m running for re-election because there’s still much work to be done to improve the transparency, oversight and accountability of the BOE/HCPSS. I bring a much needed common sense approach to the BOE and make decisions based on listening to the community and stakeholders, data and facts, not emotions.
I’ve been involved in addressing school system issues for years through my involvement at the local PTA level, the county level as president of the PTA Council of Howard County (3 terms), as a member and co-chair of the Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC), and the Citizen’s Operating Budget Review Committee when a previous BOE eliminated the OBRC. I’ve always strived to make things better and want to make improvements for students because I’m deeply invested in our community and the success of all of our students. I’m not running because of one issue – I’ve been a long-standing advocate for students since my children entered HCPSS. My approach is to look at all aspects/processes of the school system and address where we fall short so improvements can be made. I’ve been criticized for asking too many questions, but to me that is the job of a member of the BOE and our community
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
President Ronald Reagan because he was relatable, respectful to those he did not agree with and was able to get along with those who had differing views, for example, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, with whom he developed a friendship.
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
The Federalist Papers because it provides insight into the intent behind our Constitution.
What is your favorite book about education, and why?
The Maryland School Laws & Regulations Annotated because it provides the framework for my work as a member of the BOE.
What will be your top priority on the Board of Education?
Reinforce the BOE as a check and balance on the superintendent/school system by providing clear expectations and guidance to the superintendent and holding the superintendent accountable to those expectations.
What is the biggest issue facing your county schools?
In relation to the operating budget, a $39.2 million deficit in the health fund; in relation to the capital budget, increasing enrollment, limited capacity, and $500,000,000 in deferred maintenance.
What is your position on the Kirwan Commission recommendations?
The amount of funding that’s necessary to implement and sustain the recommendations is beyond what the taxpayers can afford. Accountability is paramount when spending taxpayer dollars, however, creating an additional bureaucracy that weakens the control of local boards of education will limit the influence parents will have over their child’s public education, is government overreach. Due to the estimated cost to implement and sustain the recommendations, it’s likely that many recommendations will come in the form of unfunded mandates, requiring school systems to divert funds away from what makes their students successful to other initiatives that may not be appropriate for their students.
What are the three biggest issues facing Maryland schools?
The continuing erosion of local control over education by the General Assembly, State Board of Education, and the Maryland State Department of Education.
Funding formulas that have not been re-evaluated based on the changing landscape of our counties and local school systems.
Unfunded mandates that prevent local school systems from meeting the specific needs of their students.
Have you read your county schools curriculum? If so, which parts do you like and which parts do you dislike?
I like that there’s a variety of subjects, especially at the high school level, that engage all types of learners and their interests, whether they are planning to enter college or go right into a career after they graduate. I really like that we offer centralized academy programs at the Application Research Laboratory (our career and technical high school) where students earn industry certification. I’d like to see more opportunities for students who choose a career path after high school.
What is your position on school spending?
The Board of Education is a steward of taxpayer dollars and should spend them in a responsible manner that creates a sustainable school system to meet the needs of current and future students. One of my goals is to continue to push for and institute responsible budgeting and spending of tax dollars that takes into account current and future needs, and linking funding decisions to evaluated, data-driven student outcomes.
Please identify the three areas which you believe should be prioritized when it comes to school funding
New School Construction
What is your position on teacher tenure?
As long as the school system is able to address teachers who are not meeting the expectations of the school system, tenure can benefit both the educator and the school system. During my tenure on the BOE this has not been an issue.
What is your position on standardized testing?
I believe teachers, not a standardized test, are better at determining if their students understand the subject matter and have mastered it.
What is your position on classroom size?
The appropriate class size depends on the needs of the students in the class. Research shows that smaller class sizes are most beneficial to student achievement and well-being for K-2. Students who need additional supports would also benefit from smaller class sizes, as would their teachers.
Do you believe the Board of Education should have taxation authority?
No. If this were ever to be proposed, the decision should be made by the citizens of Howard County through a referendum.