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The Tentacle


January 14, 2010

Keeping A Watchful Eye…

Joan Marie Aquilino

Do I write yet another article about the Frederick County Board Of Education spending, begging for and wasting our money? Seeing as they still spend, beg, and waste, I’m still writing.

 

Finally, Board of Education planning sessions are being televised. Do you really think that is because they had an epiphany? Nope, you applied pressure; you got it done. You are making inroads and must keep up the pressure. Let them know you mean business.

 

Let this be the year you have your own personal “Ah-Ha” moment. It was all I could do not to rise from my seat and yell out LIAR last year during the budget hearings. My manners were truly tested that day.

 

(For those who don't remember the Oprah “Ah-Ha” moment from Superintendent Linda Burgee’s speech – follow this link to see or refresh your memory)

 

TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2009 – 7:00 P.M @31:20

http://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=1330

 

Ms. Burgee, along with her board of education, her unions, administrators, etc., all painted themselves as poor little victims (many in the $100,000-to-$300,000 paycheck range) of the big bad county and citizens who just don’t care about children. Her statement along with others could not have been further from the truth. Most parents are hard pressed to speak their minds, knowing full well their child may feel the fallout.

 

Seeing as the Board of Education would not support the Board of County Commissioners’ efforts to not overcrowd schools, I’d have to say it appears the school board doesn’t care about children from that action.

 

The public needs absolute transparency and to demand answers from its board of education.

 

*Why can't the vast majority of the system be run from within the school building itself?

 

*How much duplication of service is hidden in its budget?

 

*What can or can’t be contracted outside, or teamed with the county, possibly even with the municipalities, etc.?

 

*Make the school board members themselves, not staff; explain the budget.

 

Why is there such arrogance emanating from Superintendent Burgee, her staff, unions and many of the school board members if there isn't something to hide? Wouldn't they be better served when asked a question to throw open the books and to answer in a tone that doesn't consist of arrogance and condescension toward the public – and other government officials?

 

When it comes time for the budget dance, the innocent-victim cloaks are donned by everyone in the superintendent’s royal party. It’s pathetic! The public is not part of a classroom and we aren’t your students. Speak like adults and stop with the silly stories. Enough!

 

Zero out the budget and start from square one. Clear out cobwebs and hidden costs. While you are at it, get rid of the “Maintenance of Effort” money which is mandated by the state but forced to be paid by the county. No other department or agency gets a financial safety net, so why should they?

 

The problem would not be solved with a new superintendent, either. Mrs. Burgee’s got such a sweetheart deal in her contract that we'll be paying for her in some fashion the rest of our lives whether she's here or not. At least make her earn that $300,000 paycheck. This woman is smart, a negotiator, educator, and actress all rolled into one and could have done great things for our children but she bought into the 'system' instead of buying into the 'children.' How sad for everyone involved. I was such a fan of hers and so happy when she was hired. Boy, was I wrong. Go ahead! Question me about the awards, etc.; that’s another whole article.

 

Just look at a couple skimming-the-surface items. The Central Office building that the school board has spent enormous time justifying..........

 

WHY?

 

. . . they claim the other buildings were falling down around them and not safe.

 

WHY?

 

. . . because they didn't maintain them and allowed them to fall into disrepair thus causing their own desperate situation on purpose.

 

WHY?

 

. . .was the money taken from the students (operating budget) to fund this building; there won't be a child in it?

 

WHY?

 

. . . build new conference rooms with high priced equipment for meetings that are held on average twice a month when there are comparable rooms in nearly every high school in the system?

 

Why?

 

. . . discuss shutting down a school when you are building new buildings to house adults only

 

Why?

 

. . . pay for parking in a garage that is being built because of this building.

 

And last but not least:

 

WHY........... is there always extra money mysteriously found at the end of every single budget year after they have cried poor mouth during the entire process?

 

Government agencies don't just find money; it's ours they are stealing. They are padding the budget. Wouldn't you have liked that last $2 million, along with the $4 – or $1.3 million – returned to you so you could better afford the sport fees that were increased last year and most likely will be again this year?

 

Just in case you want a refresher on the many things I’ve said along with other opinions on both sides, peak back at this article in particular and it’s far reaching tentacles. http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=3197

 

Please stay abreast of all the upcoming budget hearings and attend. If you still have questions feel free to email me at info@TheTentacle.com and it will be forwarded to me.

 

. . . ’til next time

 



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