Commentary: Isn’t there a better way to spend $17.4 million in Baltimore County Schools?
by Laurie Taylor-Mitchell
... BCPS has presented how they wish to spend the "Race to the Top" funds in the school system. ...
Within one category of $5 million dollars, the BCPS proposals include another major expenditure on virtual learning at Chesapeake High School. Didn't this school receive a multi-million dollar virtual learning center last year? ...
Why are thousands of other dollars being spent on developing a virtual high school and games? ...
Part of the $5 million would be spent to develop a data tracking system. Data tracking systems exist all over the country - why are they spending millions on this at the local level? Who is going to get this huge amount of money -- what BCPS department or office? ...What stakeholders were included in the process by BCPS? On page 11, Exhibit N from the Board meeting states that the projects were devised with "input from the community." Who exactly within the "community" gave input? Were they parents, students, or teachers? What did they say?
Finally, given the wording for the two positions described on page 19 of Exhibit N, it appears that BCPS is proposing to spend $460,000 to pay a Director and Fiscal Assistant to manage spending these funds.
According to Ms. Bowie, not a single Board member asked a question about how these funds were to be spent at the meeting.
Parents of children in County public schools ... should consider calling BCPS and ask if any funds are slated for their school ... These proposals will be submitted to the State Department of Education on November 3. Please consider contacting Mr. Earnest E. Hines, President of the Baltimore County Board of Education, if you are concerned about the proposals for Race to the Top funds in Baltimore County, at 410-887-4126. The Project Manager for the Race to the Top funds is Dr. James Foran, Maryland State Department of Education, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, Phone: 410-767-0589.
It sure looks like AIM all over again.