Clarifying the way the school board does its work As...

LETTERS

May 14, 2000

Clarifying the way the school board does its work

As president of the Board of Education of Carroll County, it appears to me that there is some confusion in the community about the organization, role and responsibilities of the board of education.

I would like to clarify some of these issues and provide insight into how the board functions.

In Maryland, board members are either appointed by the governor or elected. Here in Carroll County, we have five board members elected by voters for terms of four years.

Board elections are non-partisan and take place every two years. Terms are staggered such that two seats are vacant for this year's election and three other seats become vacant in 2002.

This assures there won't be five new board members at one time.

All three County Commissioners serve as ex-officio board members, but only one is selected by the Commissioners to attend board meetings as their representative.

There is also a student representative who is elected by the Carroll County Student Government Association for a term of one year beginning in June.

The superintendent of schools serves as the board's executive officer, secretary and treasurer.

The board acts as a body and as a result, individual board members have no authority. Each board member has one vote and, generally, three affirmative votes are required for a motion to pass.

The student representative does not have voting privileges, but is asked to vote to reflect the opinions of the students in Carroll County. The county commissioners and the superintendent do not have voting privileges.

At the regular monthly meeting in January, the board elects one member to serve as president and one member to serve as vice-president for the upcoming year.

The president's duties include scheduling and presiding at meetings, assigning board representation to committees, and executing documents on behalf of the board.

The vice-president performs the same duties as the president in his or her absence and serves as the board's parliamentarian.

The board sets policy for the school system and develops criteria to evaluate the superintendent.

The superintendent oversees the day-to-day operation of the schools and is the only employee who answers directly to the board.

Most, if not all action needs to be brought before the board as a recommendation from the superintendent, who is to be present at all meetings, except those where his or her tenure is discussed.

Through the years, the board has experimented with different times and days for meetings in an effort to be as accessible and accommodating as possible.

For the past few years meetings have been held on the second Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. in December, January, February, June, July and August.

During the months of September, October, November, March, April and May, meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 5:00 p.m.

Time is always provided on the agenda for citizen participation. Any citizen may address the board during this period.

Although members spend many hours attending board meetings and school related activities and events, they are not full-time school system employees.

Board members have other jobs or full-time responsibilities, and therefore, welcome communication from community members at their homes.

Each board member's phone number and e-mail address is published and is also available by accessing the school systems web site at www.carr.ccps or by contacting the Public Information Office at 410-751-3020.

In the lobby of the central office building in Westminster, there is a banner on the wall that states, "We Are Here for the Children."

We try to represent the attitudes, wishes and needs of the citizens of Carroll County. Every action and decision taken by the board should be in the best interest of our students.

C. Scott Stone, Hampstead

The writer is president of the Carroll County Board of Education.

Bloated schools budget undermines county plan

Two years ago the Carroll County Commissioners requested all county departments and the Department of Education to submit their budget requests for the future fiscal years.

Most county deapartments have remained true to their budget request, except the Department of Education.

Their budget increased $10 million -- from $36.2 million to $46.2 million in one year -- or approximately 27.6 percent. This has had a great impact on all other county departments' budget requests.

What about the county's strategic plan? What about water, sewer, roads, fire, police emergency services for 155,000 people in Carroll County?

My father was a CPA and his advice to me was "buyer beware."

I now pass his words to the people of Carroll County: "Taxpayer beware."

Ed Wheatley, Sykesville

Hampstead needs a new school

In regard to The Sun's article "Council enters school fray" (May 9), did anyone drive to Hampstead?

If they had, they would have noticed a great many houses being built in our town. Our town is growing rapidly.

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