Notes on the May 11 Board of Education Meeting

by Laura Rammelsberg

To view the agenda for the meeting as a PDF file, go here . To view in BoardDocs, go here.

Board members Raaheela Ahmed, Edward Burroughs, Patricia Eubanks, Sinora Hernandez, David Murray, Lupi Quinteros-Grady, Curtis Valentine, K. Alexander Wallace, Sonia Williams, and Chair Segun Eubanks were in attendance.

At the beginning of the video of the meeting, Report of the CEO.

On this day, 93 graduating seniors were honored who have worked through Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection at their senior celebration. He thanked entire staff at Hillside for expanding these students’ education opportunities.

He also visited the 2017 student-built house, which was built and designed by PGCPS students. Thanked the partners who helped make this opportunity a success.  This was the 41st house the students built. Every house on the cul-de-sac was built by PGCPS students. They have secured 5 more lots nearby so the work will continue going forward. The house is for sale for $459,000.

He recognized all outstanding students and employees for employee recognition dinner. May 25 at Martin Crosswinds in Greenbelt. Tickets are available at deadline to register is May 19.

Please thank a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week. National School Nurses day was also celebrated.

Special Olympics had 600 PGCPS students participate in the spring games at the Sports and Learning Complex this year. Students trained for twelve weeks, coached by special education program motor development staff.

Prom and Graduation season is here. The 2017 graduation dates are on the PGCPS website here. Parents please speak to children about celebrating in a responsible manner.

At 4:52 in the video, Newsbreak.

Declarations of Independence (Senior Signing Day) at Oxon Hill and Flowers HS:

Dr. Eubanks’s comment about video: Exciting time for our seniors. The speaker at Flowers HS was Dr. John King, former U.S. Secretary of Education. We are attracting some of the greatest minds in the U.S. to celebrate with us.

At 10:21, Legislative Report — Demetria Tobias, Associate General Counsel, Legislative Programs

There is a report in April 25 posted with details about Maryland state budget, local bills and state bills. She is highlighting a few things this evening.

Local Bills — Took many positions, based on Board of Education’s legislative platform.

*HB 1568 Work Group on Transportation for Middle and High School Students in PG County — Look at overlaps in bus routes, look at systems used to transport students, cost savings for transporting middle and high school students. Report due by August.

*Bill that Impacted BOE structure — Bill as amended sought to change election of vice chair, override votes for recommendations by CEO. This bill did not pass. Law as written is what remains. Final report from school system, CEO and BOE due by Dec. 2017. BOE can provide feedback at that point.

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List of 72 Potential Cell Tower Locations at Prince George’s County Schools

Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools takes no official position on the controversial issue of cell tower construction on school property. The purpose of this post is solely informational.

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Photo Credit: Theodora Scarato

The wireless tower developer Milestone Communications has an agreement with PGCPS that allows the company to build cell towers on school grounds in exchange for financial compensation. Below is the list of 72 Prince George’s County school sites approved for wireless towers. Information is gathered from Milestone Communications’s website.

Most of the locations are listed as “Rawland sites,” meaning that they are approved as possible future locations for wireless towers, but do not have an existing structure on site. For more information, go to Milestone Communications’s website to view the interactive map or download the list of sites.

Sites with Existing Structures

Carroll Middle School, New Carrollton
Flowers High School , Upper Marlboro
Green Valley Academy, Temple Hills
Kenmoor Middle School, Landover
Oxon Hill Middle School, Ft. Washington

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A Local Parent Raises Questions about Cell Tower Deal

This piece is contributed by Theodora Scarato, a Prince George’s County parent who has helped to organize Safe Schools for Prince George’s County, an advocacy group that opposes cell towers on school grounds. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince George’s County Advcoates for Better Schools.

The Prince George’s County School Cell Tower Deal

Seventy-three Prince George’s County Schools are now available as cell tower sites by the Board of Education. Several towers are in the process of permitting and construction. Many parents hear about this plan and instinctively think that it’s a bad idea.

Over the last year, I have worked with parents, homeowner asociations, and community organizations that are opposed to these towers. Here is what I learned. I have more questions than answers.

The cell tower agreement is a no-bid deal. A Virginia-based company (not minority-owned), Milestone Communications, is the only company that has a leasing deal for towers with Prince George’s County Schools. This agreement was made without bids or RfPs for the best price. There was no competition considered. Why does only Milestone get the leases? How was this no-bid deal hatched?

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Board of Education Violates Open Meetings Act

From the Sentinel, by reporter Holden Wilen, published on April 15, 2015.

For the complete story, go here.

UPPER MARLBORO – The Prince George’s County Board of Education will announce at its next meeting it violated the Open Meetings Act after the Open Meetings Compliance Board (OMCB) ruled the Board’s staff failed to provide copies of minutes to a county resident.

Thea Scarato, an activist who opposes cell phone towers, said she was attempting to track the history of the school system’s cell phone tower policy by making open records requests and looking through minutes of meetings by the school board and its subsidiary committees.

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