I attended the annual fundraiser last night, "Evening in the Stacks". It was, as always, a fun event. I made some new friends-- discovered fans of this blog-- but unfortunately, did not see some folks who I normally see there. One of whom was State Senator Ed Kasemeyer. I was hoping Senator Kasemeyer would've been there, because I wanted to ask him about his lack of support for the local state-level legislation that would have enabled the Howard County Board of Education to fire the HCPSS Superintendent. But since he wasn't there I'll just have to share my comments here.
In my last post I lambasted State Senator Gail Bates for opposing this legislation, and I can do no less than to share that viewpoint as it pertains to Senator Kasemeyer. Now, on the whole, I am supportive of Senator Kasemeyer and I believe he has done many wonderful things for Howard County, and Maryland, over the years. For example, he was one of the architects of what's now the Maryland Higher Education Investment Program-- Maryland's prepaid tuition savings plans. That's visionary leadership for Maryland, and frankly, much more than Gail Bates has ever done or will do.
But, Senator Kasemeyer's continued support for the mismanagement of the Howard County Public School System is nothing short of baffling. He did change his views on the election of School Board members by district, over time. And I'm still not sure what I think of the solution, by which five members are elected by Council district and two at large. But I do believe it's better than the current system and I'll go with that.
But doesn't logic surely dictate that if the Howard County Board of Education has the power to hire-- in this case, appoint-- and retain-- a Superintendent, shouldn't it also have the power to fire that person? I believe it does, and logic would dictate this. So, why he doesn't support this-- I don't know.
Spartan Considerations, the Grelber of the Howard County blogoverse, offered this post recently about Senator Kasemeyer's prospects in a contested 2018 Democratic primary. I still am of the mind that Senator Kasemeyer is not intending to seek reelection in 2018, and even should he do so, I don't see a candidate rising up to defeat him. Unfortunately-- and this is a critique of Maryland Democratic politics much more than this particular situation-- sitting Delegates or local elected officials do not run against sitting State Senators of their own party in primaries. Frankly, I think the blue party could benefit from more internal competition. Builds out the base and makes the product better. But that's me.
But if you hold the premise in the post, you will acknowledge that Howard County holds the cards in a Democratic primary in District 12, and if voters in District 12 are upset about the HCPSS in 2018-- as I expect them to be-- there could, and likely will, be strong repercussions in other races up and down the ballot. Senator Kasemeyer would do well to recognize the populist views held in his District.
A two-topic post today, because it's Sunday.
I haven't written much about my experiences on the County Council's HCPSS Budget Review Committee recently. The committee has issued a preliminary list of recommendations to the Council and during it's remaining time together as a committee for the next several months, it's going to be looking at the FY2018 HCPSS Operating Budget process, as it proceeds. But as always, you can follow the committee's goings-on here.
One item from the most recent meeting last Thursday night. The two former Board of Education members who are on the committee are none too in favor of the current Board of Education's decision to add 140 paraeducator positions back into the HCPSS budget. In fact, one of them produced a chart, created with the assistance of an HCPSS staff person, showing how many paraeducators are employed in various local school systems, along with the enrollment totals of students in those systems.
Of course, those former BOE members are former BOE members for reasons, and one of them being the former BOE's decisions to cut the number of paraeducators. So, while I expect that these two former BOE members will attempt to influence the committee to criticize the current BOE's decisions, this committee member will perceive such a move to be purely politically motivated, and will not stand for it. So they had better come with better justifications than what was shown Thursday night.
And I'm sure one of the former BOE members will have her logical analysis and her numbers and her broad historical knowledge to share. If she'd have done that two years ago, as I had told her and many others close to her, she'd still be on the BOE. And as to the other former BOE member-- her outrage knows no bounds. If she's not careful, she's going to wind up getting skewered on that "Howard County Hate Watch" page!
Let's be careful out there.
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