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Hoco Taxpayers are Paying for SNOW

It may be unseasonably warm lately, but did you know you are paying to be snowed? When our school system, which uses the majority of the HoCo budget, has to pay a PR firm to help them look good, we need to question priorities. I’ve been told by multiple sources that they are trying to blame the teacher’s union for inappropriate decisions. There may be some disagreements between these entities, but the current tide of complaints about the actions of the HCPSS cannot be placed on an external scapegoat. At the Howard County Delegation Town Hall, many people shared tales of woe in dealing with the HCPSS. As part of my testimony, I promised to ask the Board of Education (BOE) to form a policy tha

So, this is their Response?

Many extremely important and shocking experiences were brought up by teachers, parents and concerned citizens at the Town Hall held at the Community College, hosted by the HoCo Delegation. They heard about bullying being ignored (even life-threatening bullying), mishandled responses to suicide and lack of assistance prior, refusals to comply with the law regarding public documents, and attacking those who seek our legal system's help in appealing the misdeeds. The list was longer, from dozens experiencing bad relations and policies with the Board of Education (BOE) and Superintendent Foose. The mold hiding issue has been in the press a lot as well, and HCPSS responded by saying they learned

NO, It IS Broken and We DO Need to Fix It

On Tuesday, 12/1/15, the Howard County Delegation held a public hearing on new legislation. There was much testimony regarding two proposed Bills affecting the School System. One changes the way the Board of Education elections are held (to Councilmanic districts plus 2 at-large versus all countywide) and the other places stronger compliance requirements on the HCPSS to Public Information Act (PIA) requests. An eloquent lady opposing the districting bill said that it was a drastic measure, and asked what was the drastic problem that required fixing. Much touting was done regarding our world-class educational system in HoCo - a sort of "it isn’t broken so don’t fix it" mentality. However - re

Barb Krupiarz's Testimony at 12/1/15 Howard County Delegation Hearing (12-16)

Position: Support My name is Barb Krupiarz and I am the mother of 2 boys in Howard County Public Schools. I am also the Chair of the Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee which is chartered by state law to advise the school system on the needs of children with disabilities. In June of 2014, HCPSS paid $300,000 for a sole source contract to audit special education. The Superintendent talked about the preliminary report from this audit in a public Board of Education meeting. The previous Director of Special Ed stated in an email that “[t]he Superintendent, Linda Wise, Judy Pattik and I worked with the preliminary report.” The official HCPSS response to a MPIA for this report was

Joanne Heckman's Testimony at 12/1/15 Howard County Delegation Hearing (9-16)

Position: Support The People’s Voice, LLC is an advocacy group promoting accountable and transparent government in Howard County. The People’s Voice supports the proposal to safeguard the Maryland Public Information Act with regard to school system information. The Howard County Public School System is regulated by an elected Board, and is funded by our elected county officials using our tax dollars. We, the people, own the schools. We own every action, every document, every expenditure. Through our oversight of our schools, through our votes for responsible regulation of the system’s budget and its operating policies, we are accountable. Every citizen is accountable for the success of the

Joanne Heckman's Testimony at 12/1/15 Howard County Delegation Hearing (12-16)

Position: Support The People’s Voice, LLC is an advocacy group promoting accountable and transparent government in Howard County. The People’s Voice supports the proposal to change the election of the Board of Education members from a county-wide vote to a district vote, so that one Board of Ed member will be elected from each of the five Councilmanic districts. Two additional Board members would be elected as at-large members with a county-wide vote. District elections offer the same advantages to the Board of Ed members as to the County Council members. Of course it is understood that all these elected officials serve the county as a whole, and all of its citizens equally. But a specializ

Leslie Kornreich's Testimony at 12/1/15 Howard County Delegation Hearing (12-16)

Position: Support Electing our Board of Education members by district will lead to better and more complete representation for all the voters of Howard County. It will allow individual district representatives to bring attention to the needs of their individual school communities while continuing to serve the county school system as a whole. Howard County has 5 council districts and 7 Board of Education seats. The bill before you provides for 5 of those seats to be aligned with the council districts already in place, and the remaining 2 seats elected at large. All members of the Board of Education would still be elected; all citizens of Howard County would still get their say. Many here ton