Tag Archives: Kevin Maxwell

Kevin Maxwell, PGCPS CEO, gets four more years in Suspicious Circumstances

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Kevin Maxwell, Prince George’s County schools chief executive officer, speaks at a 2016 press conference regarding an abuse case. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, left, seen with Board of Education Chairman Segun C. Eubanks, extended Maxwell’s contract Friday. (Mark Gail/For The Washington Post)

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) announced Friday he was extending the contract for Kevin Maxwell, the schools chief executive officer, giving the educator another four years to continue reform efforts despite recent abuse scandals that led to calls for Maxwell’s resignation.

It is the first time in nearly 25 years that a superintendent in Prince George’s County will get a second term. Before Maxwell, the state’s second-largest school system had seven superintendents in less than two decades.

Maxwell is paid just under $300,000 a year. He was appointed by Baker in 2013, shortly after the state legislature awarded the county executive broad new power over school-system governance.

His leadership is a central part of Baker’s plan to overhaul and stabilize the system after years of scandal, poor performance and dwindling public trust.

Maxwell, who grew up in and began his career in Prince George’s County, has seen graduation rates reach record highs at some schools. Enrollment and some test scores also have increased.

 He expanded full-day prekindergarten and language-immersion offerings, and increased participation in dual-enrollment programs that allow high school students to take college-level courses.

But the system faced sexual-abuse and child-abuse cases last year involving school personnel, including a one-time aide who now faces decades in prison. The allegations led to a federal investigation and the loss of control by the school system of millions of dollars in Head Start funding.

Maxwell cited letters he has received from grateful students, the number of strategic business and philanthropic partnerships that school officials have brokered and a more than $44 million increase in the value of scholarships offered to county graduates in 2016.

More than three dozen business, government, philanthropic leaders and school board members attended the announcement, giving Maxwell a standing ovation as he ticked off his administration’s accomplishments.

Absent were at least three elected members of the Board of Education, including Edward Burroughs III, one of Maxwell’s most strident critics. He led calls for Maxwell to step down following revelations that a Head Start worker forced a child to mop up their own urine and texted a photo to the child’s mother.

Amid the fallout, Maxwell asked his chief of staff to resign over an email that appeared to suggest that school administrators tried to keep the Head Start scandal quiet.

There were separate allegations of abuse, involving a school bus aide accused of molesting students.

Baker, who is term-limited in 2018, said he “never lost confidence” in Maxwell through all the “bumps and stumbles.”

“Have we had problems? Yes,” Baker said. “The question is how we react. . . . I want him to continue the work he is doing.”

via Washington Post 

OPINION

There has been a complete lack of accountability under County Executive Rushern Baker III that extends to CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell. Mr. Baker came in with promises of an Inspector General (IG) style oversight program because of all the illegal and ethics issues within the county leadership. He also said judge him by school performance but he has been failing and only being protected by Maryland politicians.

Maxwell and the Board of Education for Prince George’s county were among the first people notified by the mother when the teacher forced the son to mop up urine. There have been scapegoats but no accountability at the highest levels for the loss of 6 million dollars. What they have done is “study” the issue with the strategy of waiting for the news cycle to shift away from the rampant abuse in schools and loss of funds. The County also lost over a million dollars in state funds when Maxwell started his tenure. He said things like that would never happen under his watch, but it has gotten worse. Many of us in the reform movement are disappointed, not on the concept, but on the disrespect to the democratic process, violation of rights, unjust enrichments, conspiracy involving well connected political leaders advancing corruption, the tortious interference of legal process and counsels in prince George’s county inter alia #HB1107

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Pr. George’s schools programs trimmed to fit scaled-back budget

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A divided Prince George’s County Board of Education adopted a downsized $1.8 billion budget Thursday night, cutting programs that would have been funded by a proposed property-tax increase rejected by the County Council.

Schools chief Kevin Maxwell presented a revised budget to the board last week after County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) failed to generate the support needed for his ambitious plan to raise the tax rate 15 percent and increase school spending by $133 million.

The council instead approved a smaller tax increase that would produce about a quarter of the funding Maxwell says he needs to expand programs and boost student achievement.

Maxwell’s latest plan was approved by the school board on a 7-to-3 vote, with two abstentions. It maintains existing programs but does not include the rapid expansion he had sought for several initiatives. These included universal pre-kindergarten, dual-enrollment in high school and college courses, talented and gifted programs, digital literacy and the hiring of parent-school liaisons.

In addition, teachers will not receive increased retention pay or stipends for national board certification. Arts and foreign language programs will also not spread to all county schools, and an effort to provide free breakfast to all students will not come to fruition. >>> See changes here >>>(bbe491_8d2b4f2cb1e043f991186593dc93bca5)

“This is our best recommendation of how we move forward,” Maxwell said.

Board Chair Segun Eubanks said he was “satisfied, given our limitations, that we made the best choices we could make.”

But the cuts infuriated some board members, ratcheting up a controversy about funding schools designed specifically for first- and second-generation immigrants.

The budget preserves funding for two international high schools that would cater to English-language learners who are struggling in traditional classes. One would operate at a separate Bladensburg facility and the other within Largo High School.

The NAACP has criticized the schools, calling the initiatives segregation. Immigrant advocacy organizations such as CASA of Maryland say such schools exist across the country and provide options for a challenged population. PGCPS is not performing well because the work has not been about the students’ success, but rather it is about adults and their political agenda. Ejecting several staff members well connected to Mr. Rushern Baker III and Dr. Kevin Maxwell to “eat” from students reserve fund is not the answer!

Report was compiled By Arelis R. Hernández of the Washington Post and Reform Sasscer Movement contributed.  

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Firm recommends closure of 29 county schools

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UPPER MARLBORO – A presentation by a firm helping the school system develop its master plan turned into a debate between members Prince George’s County Board of Education and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell about the vision for the future of the school system’s infrastructure after the firm recommended the closure of 29 schools.

Prince George’s County Public Schools hired Brailsford & Dunlavey, a national project management firm, in October 2014 to help the school system in prioritizing capital projects for its master plan. Representatives from the firm gave a presentation to the Board at a June11 meeting, suggesting a 20-year plan, which includes 140 total projects and will cost the school system $8.5 billion.

Erika Lethman of Perkins Eastman, an international planning, design and consulting firm working with Brailsfor & Dunlavey, said the focus of the project was school buildings built before 1999, but that more than 50 percent of schools are more than 40 years old. She emphasized the school system has not spent enough money to fully fund the number of projects in its capital improvements program.

“We’re not going to clear the backlogs of projects in 20 years’ time,” she said.

The presentation raised numerous questions from school board members about the equity of the distribution of funds in different areas of the county and determining which schools to close.

Board member Beverly Anderson raised concerns about the suggest plan spending most of the funds in the northern part of the county.

“I just need to get some clarity on why if the facilities with the greatest need for construction based on the physical plans appear in South County, why would the smallest percentage be used in South County?” Anderson said.

The firm made suggestions based on eight months of research, which included visiting schools, into how to better utilize the county’s schools, while also acknowledging needs of the separate areas of the county.

According to the presentation, utilization analyzes the total capacity of the school against the total enrollment. The Board set a utilization of 80 percent to 95 percent of the school capacity. The firm’s study revealed 50 percent of district schools were underutilized and 31 percent were over utilized.

The findings suggested 29 school closures—13 in the southern region of the county, 14 in the central area and two in the north. Brailsford & Dunlavey also recommended eight new construction projects, with five in the north and one in the central. If the school system follows the recommendations, Brailsford & Dunlavey estimated the county could save about $616 million savings from the projected closures over 20 years.

But some Board members, including Edward Burroughs, said they fear the recommendations would have an unfavorable impact on the southern region of the county and create significant public reaction to the announcement of school closings.

The southern part of the county has historically received less investment from the school system, and thinks the proposal “further perpetuates” the problem.

“My initial reaction is that I have some real concerns, equity questions about this. As someone who represents South County,” he said. “I take issue with building with two new elementary schools in the north, three new middles schools in the north, two new high schools in the north and closing two high schools in the south, closing 11 elementary schools in the south and there are some equity issues here.”

Maxwell said the report was only meant to help the school system make informed decisions when developing its master plan and future budget proposals, but he acknowledged the district may have to close some of its schools.

“We will have as we do every year, we will have some boundaries redrawn and I’m not sure whether 29 is the right number of closures overall but I think most people I hear from think we should be closings some schools and I think that, I don’t think that you’ll see a recommendation next year, for example, to close 29 schools,” Maxwell said. “We may have some conversation and close some schools as we look for inefficiencies, especially in this under-resourced environment we find ourselves in, but the only short-term decisions we have to make is for the CIP in the fall.”

Burroughs said he will fight to make sure the southern county sees an equal process.

“At the end of the day I feel like, you know, this is my role to protect and support the schools that I represent and equity is very important in South County. They’ve been fighting for it for years and we will continue to fight for it and I don’t want that to be jeopardized in any way.”

The school system will gather community feedback and recommendations in the fall and winter. Maxwell said he expects to present a final draft of the master plan to the Board in early 2016.

rroughs said he will fight to make sure the southern county sees an equal process.

“At the end of the day I feel like, you know, this is my role to protect and support the schools that I represent and equity is very important in South County. They’ve been fighting for it for years and we will continue to fight for it and I don’t want that to be jeopardized in any way.”

The school system will gather community feedback and recommendations in the fall and winter. Maxwell said he expects to present a final draft of the master plan to the Board in early 2016.

This presentation was given at the June 11, 2015 meeting, and is just now hitting the papers. Please watch the entire 4 hour board meeting – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zy8rzxyrW0 – to figure out if any of our questions were answered. The county citizenry needs to get involved in these issues to make sure that everything is being done in a transparent manner and then ask tough questions. Remember that, once the schools are closed and sold to the highest bidder, you will need those same facilities as the population continues to grow.

via Prince George’s County sentinel  – Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County contributed to the report.

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County Council wants more assurances from school system before approving increased budget

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UPPER MARLBORO – Although Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) officials have promised to hold themselves accountable if County Executive Rushern Baker III’s budget proposal passes, some members of the County Council remain unconvinced.

At a council worksession last Wednesday to discuss the school system’s budget, schools officials promised accountability in the form of annual report cards. The school system is slated to receive $1.93 billion in Baker’s proposed budget, which includes a $133 million increase from the county. In order to fund the increase, Baker has proposed raising the real property tax rate by 15 percent—above the charter limit. He also proposed raising the county’s personal property tax rate from $2.40 to $2.78 per $100 of assessed value. Telecommunication taxes will be raised from 8 percent to 12 percent on top of those increases.

But Councilwoman Mary Lehman said the school system has not done a good job of convincing the council and constituents that the increases are necessary. She said the school system and the Board of Education have done a lackluster job when discussing the budget with residents at town hall meetings. She also criticized school system officials’ time commitment after PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell left a worksession early a couple weeks before, which angered Councilwoman Karen Toles at the time.

“We need you to stay here when you come here for as long as you possibly can and if we need you to come back then you need to come back,” Lehman said. “I was the first councilmember to have a town hall meeting on this and Mr. (Segun) Eubanks came. And, frankly, I don’t think he was a good emissary for this. He came with no formal presentation.”

Constituents were really annoyed with Eubanks being unprepared, Lehman said, and were not sold on Maxwell’s plan with no presentation.

Toles agreed that the school system and Maxwell need to be held accountable because the council is not asking for money from the school system.

“We’re not asking for $2 billion dollars—you are,” Toles said. “Be here. Be accountable. We all have late nights. Some of us even get sick. This is an important topic and an important discussion. We have to balance the budget for the tax payers and make sure we’re using their money right.”

During the worksession, Toles said she wants to make sure that each and every school in the county gets the same benefits and that the increased funding would not just reach schools in certain areas of the county. Toles questioned officials on why they have not implemented International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) programs at the feeder schools for Suitland High School, even though Suitland has an IB program.

There is a “major problem” with Maxwell’s strategic plan. Toles said, because it does not improve the schools in her district.

“What I’m concerned about is improving my community,” Toles said. “You have Suitland High School that has been an IB school for a long time but you do not extend IB programs to elementary and middle schools there.”

While she is supportive of language-immersion programs, Toles said students need opportunities to develop in educational programs that can help them succeed.

“I feel like we are dumbing down my community by not giving them a chance with those programs,” Toles said.

Maxwell said before he arrived in the school system, there were no IB programs. It is the school system’s intention to develop a support structure for every high school program they have, he said, through middle and elementary school education.

“It takes funding and training to do those things,” Maxwell said. “The expansion of IB programs, over time, will take place.”

Toles said it is not fair to some programs and services in certain parts of the county and not others. She requested information from the school system about when it would place an IB program in her elementary and middle schools. Monica Goldson, the chief operating officer of PGCPS, said the county has slated to put IB programs at Suitland Elementary school and William Hall Academy and could provide Toles with a list of other schools slated to get IB programs. However, as of Tuesday Toles said she had not received any information from the school system.

Along with report cards, County Council members said they want to ensure the school system spends money where it says it will. While the County Council approves the school system’s budget allocation, it cannot determine how the school system spends its money.

The school system will send out an annual report card to parents to notify them about how the schools are improving, Maxwell said. The school system has promised to improve its standardized test scores, graduation rate and dropout rate. The school system’s goal is to get into the state’s top 10 by 2020.

“We actually have thought about sending that out with the kids when they get their report cards. We are trying to get a handle on how long it will take to get data back from the state for this,” Maxwell said. “Different accountability pieces come at different times.”

The school system must wait for the state to certify some of their performance numbers before they are put out to the public, Maxwell said, and that can be a potential issue.

Councilman Obie Patterson asked for the school system to clearly identify what numbers it will use to audit its performance. Everyone has different performance standards, Patterson said, but the performance standards for the school system are not clear. Patterson’s constituents are saying the school system has gotten money before, he said, but they have not seen any results.

The accountability for the school system will come through council and the county government, said Monique Davis, deputy superintendent. Because the council approves additional funding, Davis said, councilmembers will be the ones who will hold the school system accountable.

“It comes through our partnerships. Through our partnership with the county council, you guys are going to hold us accountable. I think that’s what you can tell your constituents,” Davis said.

Councilwoman Andrea Harrison said the school system has put council members in a tough position by balancing education needs with increasing taxes on residents without any insurances for positive results.

“You have asked us to put a significant tax increase on the residents in this county. In my opinion, and I think in the opinion of the people of this county, we have not proven that we are making progress,” Harrison said.

The school system will not stop asking for increases, Harrison said, but if there are no results, she said, it will be difficult to continue to give increases if there are no results to show any progress.

“Your children can’t come to you and ask for increases in their allowance if they are not doing something that you can see is worth them getting an increase in their allowance,” Harrison said.

via Prince George’s county Sentinelpgcps_logoPRINCE-large

Councilmember gets upset after Maxwell leaves worksession.

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UPPER MARLBORO – Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell decision to leave a county council budget work session early in order to attend a gala has caused one councilmember to signal she may vote “no” to tax increases next month.

County Councilmember Karen Toles asked Maxwell about how the additional funding the school system is asking for would help raise graduation rates around the county, but Maxwell said he would leave it up to Ray Brown, the school system’s chief financial officer, to answer Toles’ questions.

“I’m more troubled by your boss leaving because it shows the council doesn’t get respect,” Toles said. “I’m not the one asking for $1.9 billion – he is. And that just, really, it increases my no even further.”

Toles said she felt disrespected by Maxwell leaving the work session before it adjourned because she and her colleagues had been meeting with various departments since 10 a.m. She said her colleagues had previous engagements as well, and she understands that, but the budget must be done.

“We’re all in this together, and sometimes our schedules will run together. We’re all having schedules run together. I wanted him to stick around for the discussion – it probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer,” Toles said.

The council and other officials are at a heightened stress level with what is going on, Toles said, and emotions can run high. Toles said their discussions were important and she did not want to feel like Maxwell was walking out when the stakes were high.

“When you’re talking about laying off county employees, that is important to me. These are people who make the government run,” Toles said. “And these are also budgets that we don’t really control. Once we give the money, they can say what they are going to do with the money, but we have to make sure that we stay the course and we have these conversations because this is an unprecedented amount of money.”

Should this funding not go through, Maxwell said, the school system will not have the means necessary to meet the goals of its strategic plan. He said they will have to reprioritize as a school system, even if the state is granted the rest of the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funding from the governor’s office.

The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 183, which says the governor should fully grant GCEI funding to all jurisdictions in Maryland instead of cutting the funding at 50 percent as originally proposed in his state budget.

“Pretty much none of this is going to happen (if we aren’t funded) and the expansion of some of the programs that we already have in place is not going to happen,” Maxwell said. “If we achieve half then we’ll have to go back and reprioritize that. It’s going to affect the outcome that we were asked to produce – that’s the bottom line.”

Deputy Superintendant Monique Davis said the school system will use the money it has requested to help improve graduation rates in the county and bring them to a high level according to the school system’s new strategic plan, which has a goal of making PGCPS a top 10 school system in the state by the year 2020.

“We have a target of 3 to 5 percent in graduation rate for most of our high schools. Most of our high schools made that 3 percent last year and that is how we got the increase for the county,” Davis said.

Davis said graduation rates are on the radar; the school board is looking to use state help to continue to increase graduation rates.

The school system has been funded more than $300 million in increases over the last four years, Toles said, and needs to have results to show for it. Toles said the council talks with public safety about staying under on their overtime pay expenses at $20 million, but crime has dramatically reduced and the county is seeing results.

“We know public safety crime has gone down. The numbers reflect it. We can see what they have done, we see the results of them doing more with less,” Toles said. “But if we’re getting on them for doing more with less, I want to know what (the school system) is doing with their money.”

The previous night, in a town listening session at Dwight Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel, Dr. Alvin Thornton, Chairman of the Commission on Education Finance, Equity and Excellence, said citizens need to write letters to the governor’s office granting the jurisdiction the rest of the GCEI funding.

“The legislature has ended, but the governor still has to make a decision. He should give in to you as citizens and release those funds,” Thornton said.

via Prince George’s county sentinel

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Prince George’s school board approves $1.93 billion budget request.

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Segun Eubanks – Brother in Law to County Executive Baker and the board have requested biggest budget to date without accountability initiatives as part of the matrix to the State and the County Council. 

The Prince George’s County school board has doubled down on CEO Kevin Maxwell’s education reforms, approving on Tuesday a $1.93 billion budget for the next fiscal year, which includes expansion of prekindergarten and career academies, despite the possibility of cuts in state funding.

“In order for us to significantly improve as a school district, we can’t just keep pace with everyone else,” said school board chairman Segun Eubanks. “We have to outpace our neighboring counties. If we’re second to last, the only way to get out of second to last is to outpace everyone else, and that requires a significant investment.”

The budget is a 7.6 percent increase over the current year’s $1.8 billion budget.

Eubanks said it was conversations with Maxwell over the budget cuts that led to the increase.

“We had this discussion, and we were asking, what are we going to cut? Jeez, We don’t even have what we need. Why don’t we ask for what we really think would significantly accelerate the pace of improvement?” Eubanks said. “So we said, ‘Let’s ask for it.’”

Maxwell’s original budget froze the rollout of arts integration programs, career academies, full-day prekindergarten and peer teacher review programs, but those programs are included in the new budget, which Maxwell presented to the board the day before it was scheduled to vote on the budget.

>>> Read more 

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pgcps District system has recently become a cash cow for some corrupt county leadership because of lack of proper oversight. rushern-baker-head-111010wCounty Executive Rushern Baker III

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Two Prince George’s County Schools to Close Next Year.

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Thursday night, the Prince George’s County Board of Education approved to close two elementary schools as part of Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell’s changing boundaries and grade structures plan.

The board voted 7-2 to close Kenmoor Elementary and Thomas Claggett Elementary schools at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

The board also approved the remainder of Woodmore Elementary School’s sixth grade students continue their education at Benjamin Tasker Middle School and Ernest Everett Just Middle School.

William Paca Elementary School’s sixth graders will go to Kenmoor Middle School.

>>> Read more NBC 4


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