Prince George's County D9 Politico Blog

Keeping politicians accountable and voters informed.

Public Comment to the Prince George’s County School Board

with 5 comments

I made public remarks at the February 8, 2011 budget public hearing of the Prince George’s County School Board. I didn’t get to finish my entire statement, but here’s the summary of what I said for those who may have missed it:

I live in Accokeek, MD. I represent myself here tonight, but more than that, I represent my children who are here with me, Faith, 4, and Joshua, 2, who will be future PGCPS students.

If you are a prospective parent like me, and I’m not sure if any of you are, then you would understand the anxiety I feel about placing my children in the kind of classroom we are now facing. Given the resources and compensation we are providing to our teachers, who do the heavy lifting every day, I’m not sure our budget represents our public commitment to making sure that our children come first, as Dr. Hite has promised. If we are truly linking our budget to our stated goal of putting children first, then that’s where the bulk of our money needs to go. Classrooms come first, and everything else is secondary.

Some of you may have heard I recently did a little research on the salaries of our administrators outside the classroom. Just last week, a speaker stated that 723 of PGCPS staff make more than $100,000, and of that amount, Dr. Hite reported back that just 51 employees are directly involved in educating our children. I dug down even further, requesting individual employee salaries within just one of our four human resources divisions, as noted on pages 167-178 of the school’s budget documents. While I didn’t have time to scour the entire 316 pages, what I discovered within those 11 pages really upset me. We are paying $65,000 to data entry clerks, $90,000 to a secretary, and more than $100,000 to several mid-level bureaucrats. The division employs a director for 41 employees, and three additional supervisors. Meanwhile, my future kindergarten student can expect only one teacher to supervise her class of 30, or more, five-year olds. Her teacher can only hope to make over $100,000 after acquiring a master’s degree and several years of teaching experience. So I ask you, where do our priorities really lie?

I don’t bring this up to shame our hard-working HR employees, but to point out the disparity in spending on administrative salaries versus those of our teachers. I wouldn’t expect our human resources staff to recommend cuts to their own salaries, that requires the courage of our elected officials and the community to make those tough decisions. However, the cuts we do make should not unfairly penalize our teachers. I know that of which I speak, because my husband and I are public servants who, for the past three years, have endured two-week furloughs, increased health care costs, no pay raises, and no cost-of-living increases. We are Ivy-league educated, highly experienced professionals who could certainly work elsewhere, but we chose public service because we love it, and we understand that when times are tight we must all make sacrifices for the greater good of the organization. 

The School Board needs to ask our administrators how much more can they sacrifice for the people who can’t advocate for themselves—our children. How much are they willing to give, to make sure we have the best teachers, who are properly compensated with the right resources, to help our children succeed? We need to make cuts that will not steal our teacher’s joy for serving in the classroom, and rob our children of an education. The time is now to dig deeper and find the answers quickly if we want to get our schools moving in the right direction and restore public confidence in spending limited tax dollars wisely.

Advertisements

Written by pgd9politico

February 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Well said! My hat off to you for making it to the hearing with two small children and waiting for your turn. Interestingly, I was the speaker immediately following you, and I did reference some of the research from your previous post.

    I agree 100% with your sentiments about prioritizing budget expenditures. I also realize that the Board of Education is in no position to raise funds (which, of course, makes budget prioritization their only available tool). I’m sure they don’t enjoy being in this position to make deep budget cuts. We really need to put pressure on our elected officials at the county and state level to ensure adequate funding for our schools. Our budgets show our true priorities. It is easy to make empty campaign promises about education being important.

    RF

    February 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    • I now recall meeting you when I canvassed Accokeek in July! So glad to see you are engaged in the business of our county. It is so important for our residents to do that if we want to move this county forward.

      pgd9politico

      February 10, 2011 at 3:27 am

      • It’s not in my nature not to get involved. I agree with you, people really need to start paying attention and holding their elected local officials responsible if we want to change things around here.

        RF

        February 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

      • Are you planning to attend the County Executive’s budget hearing at Harmony Hall tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 17)? – Not sure if it makes a difference, but I’ll be there.

        RF

        February 17, 2011 at 1:07 am

      • I’ll be there, 6th in the lineup this time, and thank goodness since kids are once again in tow. See you there (I’m sure I won’t be difficult to find)!

        pgd9politico

        February 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: