Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Red Flag

Yesterday, in a 5-2 vote, the Howard County Board of Education voted to accept the Superintentdent's Budget. Yes, the budget that makes cuts to paraeducators and media secretaries. Was this an issue you cared about? Did you write a letter expressing your opinion? Well, there's something you should know.

Board Member Sandra French, in talking about how people used to pack into the George Howard building and show support for the budget, said, "but that hasn't happened in a long time, people take our school system for granted and they are not satisfied, it's always me me me, more more more, I I I, and it has to stop. We have to talk about collective sacrifice, how can we work together to move forward our children who are the most needy and I think that's what the board did." (Paraphrased)

I applaud Board Members Cindy Vaillancourt and Bess Altwerger for casting the nay votes on this budget. I only wish that they had better company on the board--being arrogant and tone-deaf aren't the best qualifications.

It is my opinion that this kind of blatant disrespect for the community that Ms. French's comments represent should be grounds for censure. Something is very wrong in this county if parents and teachers are forming healthy partnerships for the good of children and BOE members are basically sneering at them.

On the other hand, apparently stakeholders have been issued an invitation to pack the George Howard Building. (More like waving a red flag, maybe?) Here is the information on the County Executive's hearing on the budget.

I received an email from newly-re-elected HCEA President Paul Lemle, extending the following invitation to the community:

Dear friends, colleagues, and community members,

The Board of Education voted today to adopt a $780M budget that cuts vital services in media and kindergarten even as enrollment increases by over 1600 students. The discussion now centers on the new Governor, County Executive, and County Council—and we need to keep advocating for our students.

Please join HCEA for an open community meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, 5PM in the Centennial HS cafeteria. We will clarify the impact of the cuts and develop strategy for the next part of the process. RSVP here to give us an idea of how much pizza we need!

If you care about the cuts being made in this budget, and you believe that stakeholder input should be respected and not sneered at, please mark you calendars for this meeting and share this information with others.




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