By Tonya Wingfield
To Prince George’s County Public Schools
PGCPS has yet to post the school board video of this testimony. The position change mentioned is directly related to policy that allowed that volunteer access to our students.
Good Evening Everyone,
In the County Executive’s budget meeting he made mention of the Governor withholding $20,000,000.00 and how it will hurt our system. As I mentioned to Mr. Baker, the Governor will take our county serious if we do several things:
- Transparency – there was a time when the public had access to the full Strategic Plan (formerly called the Master Plan) The plan provided the public a clearly stated goals for improvement and the strategies proposed to achieve those goals. It helped the public hold the BOE accountable. The public document has now been reduced to a 20-page summarized document consisting of clichés and hyperboles that read like a bill to repeal Obamacare.
- Increase Administrative Salaries – Since 2013 the BOE has increased senior management salaries over $30,000,000.00 for positions with no direct service to the BOE customers: our children, your students. In some cases, existing positions providing full wrap-arounds services were restructured to accommodate the skills of the incumbent rather than the requirements of the position or the service just duplicated.
- For example, we still have a Title 1 Office, yet we pay for a separate Diversity Officer that works under the guidelines and frame work of ESOL.
- The Office of Parent and Community Engagement was headed by an educator that possessed certified clinical experience in order to manage the services that can be part of a student’s academic program or provide family support. Those services: Special Education, Guidance, Pupil Personnel, Student Records and Transfers are now under a Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. I ask the Department of Strategic Planning to audit all senior level position created since 2010 and eliminate the duplicity and replace unqualified incumbents so positions can be consolidated. Considering the overall performance of the system I don’t see how those bonuses were justified and school-based personnel was overlooked.
- Transportation – the BOE has yet to tell the public what was done to address the $184 million in waste identified in a state audit. What I do know is the system’s inefficient routing, staffing, cost recovery practices, non-compliance to the MOU 1998 and bid steering is costing us millions that can be directed to schools.
- Board Expenses – The board’s primary responsibility is to ensure the BOE operates by sound policies and practices. How that justifies the explosive budget of the board is a mystery to the public. I might add, I see no reason why our taxes should pay for medical insurance for part-time elected school board members.
Justice for Whistleblowers – Instead of allowing senior managers to manufacture evidence to fire whistleblowers reporting procurement violations and misconduct costing the BOE millions, protect the whistleblower and fire the violators. And stop trying to drag out their appeal process to protect these unscrupulous individuals that are stealing from our children and hurting the gains we do make.
Cleaning up in these areas will not only allow us to recoup that $20,000,000.00 our elected officials are crying foul about, but it will show the Governor of Maryland the BOE is serious about restoring integrity as our system improves. Should you choose to ignore us as you have done in the past, I ask the Justice Department and IG for the US Department of Education to launch an investigation of our budgeting process and spending to ensure our students receive the adequate school-based funding they deserve.
By Tonya Wingfield