Notes on the August 25th Board of Education Meeting

by Laura Rammelsberg

To view the agenda for the August 25th Board Meeting in BoardDocs, go here.

 

At 3:33 in the video. Student Board Member Juwan Blocker called for a Motion (Emergency Item) to discuss Head Start; Jacobs seconded the motion to discuss Head Start. Chairman Eubanks said it should be an Agenda Item so that the CEO and Board have time to prepare. Request was denied.

MOTION: At 9:15. Board Member Burroughs requested a Federal & State External Investigation into Head Start Case. Motion required 2/3 majority vote.
Yes – Anderson, Blocker, Burroughs, Epps, Jacobs
No –Boston ?, Eubanks, Hernandez, Quinteros-Grady, Valentine, Chairman Eubanks
Abstain – Roche, Wallace, Williams
Motion failed.

MOTION: At 12: 13. Jacobs requested a public vote on the vote that was taken in the closed-door Executive Session. This vote had been done in closed session due to legal and personnel issues.
Went to 2/3 majority vote: Yes – EVERYONE
MOTION: At 26:26. Motion that was voted on in Executive Session: that PGCPS relinquish its Head Start Grant:
Yes – Anderson, Blocker, Boston, Burroughs, Eubanks, Hernandez, Quinteros-Grady, Roche, Valentine, Wallace, Williams, Chair Eubanks (12)
No – Jacobs (1)
Abstain – Epps (1)

STATEMENT ABOUT HEAD START FROM THE CHAIRMAN: At 29:19. Whether they spoke out or not, whether they talk to media or not, every one of the members of the Board of Education were deeply disturbed by what they found about Head Start. They were troubled by what happened and they acknowledge they need to do to better as a system. They are deeply committed to get this right.

Executive Session (ES) happened tonight due to legal & personnel issues that could discussed only in ES. They felt it was the only way they could ensure the students entering this Head Start year will be served this year. They want to provide uninterrupted services and will work out an interim agreement with County Council. They will continue to investigate the situation. They will deeply examine their policies, processes and culture to gain the trust of the community. They know they need to win back community’s trust. They want to provide the county’s children with a world-class education where they are treated with love, respect and dignity they deserve.

NEW DISTRICT NEWS:
At 35:58. New student Board Member Juwan Blocker.
129,000 students in the School System this year.
1,253 School Buses being used this year.

CEO REPORT:
At 37:45. Dr. Maxwell’s visits to schools during the first few days of school have gone well.
Created a Family Institute – Parents can participate and find out how to help their children to succeed in school. Meeting on Saturday Sept. 10 at Flowers High School. Register at pgcpsfamily.org. (Click here for flyer.)

PUBLIC COMMENTS:
At 41:05. Capital Improvement Program – overcrowding at Accoceek Academy – Board Member Williams has worked with the community and listened to their concerns. Requested a “new” school using an existing school building that would need to be renovated. Also requested renovation at other schools that haven’t been renovated since the 1970s. Would prefer students not be bused to other schools.

At 45:00. School Policy and Lottery Process – Questions the procedures for insuring improvement for student achievement. Questioned denial of access to public Montessori School in their neighborhood. Daughter was home schooled until 7 and was denied access. Local “regular” elementary has poor reputation. It is unclear how students are chosen for lottery and if residential preference is part of the consideration.

At 48:38. Head Start / Title I Programs – Board Members and the Office of the County Executive were required to report abuse to law enforcement agencies. Asked for the resignation of the CEO, the Board Chair and Board Vice Chair. Challenged the County Executive to do the right thing. The impression they are giving is that children’s lives do not matter. She is going to Ombudsman Office.

At 51:44. Another member of the public called for the resignations.
She stated corruption in system continues on.

At 55:10. ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 – Support System of the School District. Employees are being asked to come into fact finding meetings. No official notice to members of these meetings. Rules are hindering staff from being able to help students.

At 58:37. Tulip Grove ES Renovation – Concern over status of the renovation – been over 2 years since they moved to temporary school. It was supposed to be done this year. It has not even started. Why is it so challenging to set realistic schedules and budgets for projects? Seems like a systemic problem. Parents should not have to fight this hard to have good schools.

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS

Consent agenda items at 1:20:18.
Board Passed Motions 4.1-4.8 unanimously.
Board Passed Motions 5.1-5.2 unanimously.**FY15 Tulip Grove Renovation Award of Construction Contract removed from Agenda.
Jacobs asked when Tulip Grove will be added back in / timeline. Looking for another bid – issues with current bid. Jacobs will be sent that information directly by the school district contact who handles that information.
Board Passed Motions 7.1-7.3 unanimously

At 1:13:45. New Student Board Member made statement about Head Start:
900+ students are in Head Start. He received a lot of letters he has received about this issue. He read some of them aloud. All featured the concerns with how this situation was and is being managed.

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