Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Council Report: Whites accounted for 76% of all MCPS school-based professionals in 2012-13

Read the full Montgomery County Council Report released today

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity of MCPS Students and Staff

at the link below:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/OLO/Resources/Files/OLO%20Report%202015-1Final.pdf

Whitman HS to get an Addition

...Whitman High School was remodeled in 1992 and has an existing capacity of 1,882 students. It’s already overcapacity, with a projected 1,910 students this school year and 1,921 students last school year....


http://www.bethesdanow.com/2014/09/29/mcps-exploring-options-for-whitman-high-school-addition/

MD State Superintendent to Join BOE Members at Ocean City Vacay!

Public Schedule of Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery

For Immediate Release                    Contact: William Reinhard, 410-767-0486

Baltimore, MD (September 26, 2014)

The week ahead: September 29-October 3(Information and schedule are subject to change)

Monday, September 29-Tuesday, September 30
No Public Schedule.

Wednesday, October 1
1:30 p.m., Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel,
1001 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD  21842
Dr. Lowery will address MABE’s annual meeting.

It's BOE Party Week in Ocean City!!! .@MABE_News #allnightlong

2013 MABE Vacation in Ocean City
 Superintendent Joshua Starr, BOE Shirley Brandman,
Laura Steinberg (BOE staff) and BOE Phil Kauffman
 
 
Grab your MCPS credit cards and fill out your expense account forms and head to Ocean City this week to join Board of Education members from every single Maryland public school system!  This is how we spend "education dollars" in Maryland!  


 


   http://www.scribd.com/doc/241369015/2014-Conf-Brochure-Website"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >2014 Conf Brochure Website
by http://www.scribd.com/Parents Coalition of MC"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland

Monday, September 29, 2014

Breaking News: 1 BOE Candidate Does Not Support Cell Towers on School Property


Off Camera on Sept 30th - County Council and Board of Education













September 30, 2014
9:00 AM Montgomery County Council MEETING with Board of Education (6th floor Council
Conference Room)

Previous County Council and Board of Education
Lunch/Meeting
No Agenda for this meeting.

No clue what will be discussed.

No television or web coverage of this meeting.

Stop by if you want to find out what your elected Board of Education and County Council members are up to tomorrow!

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/resources/files/agenda/col/current_agenda.pdf

UPDATE:  Video of this event provided to the public by the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, MD

Walter Johnson HS principal used student funds to pay for staff smartphone service

MCPS internal auditors are reporting that the Walter Johnson High School principal used student activity funds to pay for additional smartphone service for eight staff members. 


The Independent Activity Fund, or IAF, is comprised of money that has been collected from students.

The complete audit report can be found at:
http://audits.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/school/wjhs 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Investigations into teacher misconduct can take more than a year

By Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie. Read the full story here.

Many area school systems send those teachers to warehouses during the investigation.

While Baltimore County officials were deciding whether Michael Williams was fit to continue teaching, he was assigned to a dusty, windowless room at a Pulaski Highway warehouse that held old textbooks, surplus computers and other materials. He, along with a dozen or so employees, sat at a long table reading detective novels and playing Trivial Pursuit.

Sometimes they would fall asleep until supervisors, watching from a security camera, came in to wake them up.

Williams, who had been accused of touching a girl on the cheek with a yardstick, was paid his full salary plus benefits for more than a year to show up at the warehouse when school was in session. At his school, Woodlawn Middle, a substitute was hired to teach his class.

"The county doesn't move on anything quickly. They let people sit there and rot," said Williams, who denies having touched the girl. He made $67,000 a year as a teacher.

Every year, hundreds of school system employees are immediately escorted out of Baltimore-area schools when they are accused of misconduct and are told they can't return to the school until an investigation is completed. Those investigations can take more than a year to be concluded, and in the meantime taxpayers pay the bill for both their salaries and the substitute teachers'.

Why a leading professor of new media just banned technology use in class

...This problem is especially acute with social media, because on top of the general incentive for any service to be verbose about its value, social information is immediately and emotionally engaging. Both the form and the content of a Facebook update are almost irresistibly distracting, especially compared with the hard slog of coursework. (“Your former lover tagged a photo you are in” vs. “The Crimean War was the first conflict significantly affected by use of the telegraph.” Spot the difference?)
Worse, the designers of operating systems have every incentive to be arms dealers to the social media firms. Beeps and pings and pop-ups and icons, contemporary interfaces provide an extraordinary array of attention-getting devices, emphasis on “getting.” Humans are incapable of ignoring surprising new information in our visual field, an effect that is strongest when the visual cue is slightly above and beside the area we’re focusing on. (Does that sound like the upper-right corner of a screen near you?)...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/09/25/why-a-leading-professor-of-new-media-just-banned-technology-use-in-class/?tid=sm_fb

Friday, September 26, 2014

BOE President on how $140,000 Legal Bill was needed to defend "expenses incurred during official business"

Board of Education President Phil Kauffman attempting to re-write history with a letter to The Washington Post explaining why the $140,000 bill from the Board of Education's lawyers on retainer was acceptable.  Mr. Kauffman says the $140,000 was needed to defend "expenses incurred during official business." 

No, Mr. Kauffman, actually the issue was, and still is, expenses that in no way, shape or form had anything to do with official business!

The public was easily able to review Board of Education and select MCPS administrators use of MCPS credit cards to see the numerous charges that were unrelated to official business.  The Parents' Coalition requested and made public those documents.  

Apparently, Mr. Kauffman would like the public to forget about those charges and pay the $140,000 bill without question. 


  Why the Montgomery County Board of Education hired outside lawyers

Phil is so phunny

Phil Kaufman, President of the Montgomery County Board of Education, still doesn't get it.  In the Washington Post, Phil once again defends his use of outside counsel to review the allegations of credit card misuse by Board of Education Members.

Its not the review that gives us heartburn.  Its the approximately $140,000 charge for Venable and Karl Racine.  

From the article:
When concerns were raised last spring about Montgomery County Board of Education member expenses and credit card usage, the board and I knew it was important that we undergo a swift and thorough process to understand the scope of the issue and look for ways to improve our procedures. We also knew that an external review would be needed to assure the community that the board was taking this matter seriously.
Some are questioning the cost of hiring lawyers to conduct this external review, but I believed then — and I believe now — that it was the right thing to do.

Did you really need fancy lawyers to tell you to tear up the cards?

Did you really need fancy lawyers to tell you to get real policies in place?

What on earth could a $500 per hour lawyer do to run up a charge of $140,000?

Do the math - at an average rate of $500 per hour that is 280 lawyer hours.

You've got to be kidding if you think that anyone believes that this took seven weeks of lawyers to review this mess.

Some more questions for Phil.

Will Venable continue to rack up oops, I mean, monitor the BOE members continued use of their expense accounts?

What about the other credit card holders in MCPS?  A while back, we estimated that over 1000 MCPS employees have school system credit cards.  Who is watching them?

Wait - we have the Maryland Association of Boards of Education meeting coming up this week in Ocean City.

You'll have a great opportunity to demonstrate your fiscal responsibility at that meeting.

Note to our readers:  Stay tuned for a blog posting once the expense logs are submitted.


MCPS Teacher Lawrence Joynes in Court Today 1:30 PM

Docket Date: 09/17/2014 Docket Number: 38
Docket Description: DATE CONFIRMED
Docket Type: Docket Filed By: Court
Docket Text: COURT (BAIR, J.) CONFIRMS A MOTIONS HEARING DATE OF SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 AT 1:30 P.M. FOR TWO (2) HOURS.

Docket Date: 09/17/2014 Docket Number: 39
Docket Description: COURT ORDERS/DIRECTS/DETERMINES
Docket Type: Docket Filed By: Court
Docket Text: COURT (BAIR, J.) ORDERS DEFENDANT BE TRANSPORTED FOR MOTIONS HEARING ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 AT 1:30 P.M.

Docket Date: 09/19/2014 Docket Number: 40
Docket Description: SAO NOTIFIED VICTIM(S) OF UPCOMING HEARING
Docket Type: Docket Filed By: Court
Docket Text: STATE'S ATTORNEY NOTIFIED 1 VICTIMS OF THE FOLLOWING EVENT (S): EVENT #0001 RULE 4-252 HEARING 09/26/2014 at 01:30 pm, EVENT #0002 MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER 09/26/2014 at 01:30 pm, EVENT #0003 TRIAL - JURY 10/06/2014 at 09:30 am. REFER TO THE STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

Wootton HS: Should students be permitted to access Wi-Fi?

Yes and No from Wootton High School students:

http://woottonnews.com/should-students-be-permitted-to-access-wi-fi/

Petition: Support Safe Internet Access at Montgomery County Public Schools

by Laura Simon

I recently learned of The Strategic Technology Plan for all MCPS schools which is well in motion:  robust Wi-Fi through the schools and a lap top or similar device for every child.  I couldn't believe that our schools could be blanketed with radiation without parents knowing and signing off on it.  There is mounting evidence that we are harming our children, especially their brains.  No one can assure you that the radiation level today in schools is safe: the Internal Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) explicitly stated, " the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the FCC continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today."  While we are increasing our use of wireless devices in the school, countries all around the world have realizing the danger to our children and have banned Wi-Fi at the schools along with other measures. 

I started this petition because I believe that our children and the staff have the right to go to school in a safe environment.  It is better to err on the side of caution until we know more.  As Peter Limbrick of Team Around the Child wrote in February of 2014 "My heart, head, and all my instincts, my education in science and my past experiences as teacher and parent of young children tell me that we should not subject children to microwave radiation unless for a very good medical reason...This is not the first environmental threat to children's welfare but it is probably the biggest on yet."

If you agree that we need to explore this issue further and that Wi-Fi in the schools may not be in our kids best interest, please sign my petition to the Montgomery Count Public Schools Board of Education:

Click link for Petition:  MoveOn.org Petitions

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A question about a possible age requirement to buy condoms has a Howard County BOE member facing discipline from her colleagues

Howard BOE member Vaillancourt accused of sexual harassment


VIDEO of Ms.Vaillancourt's statement and more information about the actual incident from the BOE President.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1SkDkQcvMs&list=UUe0tEnIynI_9Hv0yFAgEWvQ

Springbrook High School football players suffer chemical burns from cleaning products | WJLA.com

Springbrook High School football players suffer chemical burns from cleaning products | WJLA.com

Springbrook High School football players mistakenly burned by di - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Springbrook High School football players mistakenly burned by di - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Unprecedented Move, D-11 Board Votes Yes on Plan to Opt Out of Standardized Testing | KOAA.com |

A school district that takes action, unlike MCPS that just Tweets.

Unprecedented Move, D-11 Board Votes Yes on Plan to Opt Out of Standardized Testing | KOAA.com |

Board of Appeals approves hearing for cell tower next to Nix Elementary School


Montgomery Board of Appeals approves hearing for Silver Spring cell tower facility

...Susan Present of Silver Spring, who asked for the hearing, said she first wants, in part, to see the pool property in better condition if changes are going to be considered.
Among other reasons for her request, Present said she thinks the changes “do not constitute minor modifications” and are rather “substantial.”
“They deserve public notice and a public hearing,” she said.
Present said she also thinks Cellco incorrectly interpreted federal law to say it supported the company’s request to add equipment and expand the compound. She is concerned the board’s approval of this interpretation could result in changes to other cell towers and compounds on or at area schools, such as higher monopoles and larger compounds.
~~~

Previous Parents' Coalition posting on this issue.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Schools Get Invoice for Fake School Supplies

When oversight of spending is not in place its easy to miss getting ripped off by vendors.  




The Better Business Bureau issued a warning about school systems getting invoices for fake school supplies.  


From the article:
September 11, 2014

Better Business Bureau is warning schools and school districts across the country about possible fake invoices for educational supplies. In the past few weeks, there has been a rush of complaints filed with BBB against “Scholastic School Supply,” which claim either a Nevada or New Jersey address that turn out to be mail drops.BBB Serving Southern Nevada received its first complaint against Scholastic School Supply on August 20, 2014, and since then has received nearly 70 complaints from schools across the country. The company’s online BBB Business Review has also received more than 3,000 inquiries; there is an Alert posted there so that visitors are able to confirm the suspicious nature of the invoice. The company maintains a mail drop in Sewell, New Jersey, as well as Las Vegas, and BBB New Jersey has received more than 20 complaints so far.The bogus invoices have been for $647.50 for the bulk purchase of “English-Language Arts Practice Books” or $388.50 for math workbooks (although the amounts and products could change at any time). Complainants say they cannot reach the company to inquire about the products or amounts allegedly owed, and all have denied ever doing business with the company previously. . . . 

So far, none of the complainants have sent money; however, BBB has no way of knowing if any schools have unknowingly paid the invoice, since they would not have filed a complaint.

The question for our lovely Montgomery County Board of Education is -

  • Have we received one of these fake invoices?

A better question is

  • Would our accounting systems be able to detect a fraudulent invoice?

I have my own thoughts on this, but I'd love to get an assurance from the MCPS Board of Education and its financial gurus that they are taking their responsibilities seriously and protecting precious and limited taxpayer dollars.

Care to comment, Phil?

Parents, activists fight construction of cell phone towers at Prince George’s County schools | WJLA.com

Parents, activists fight construction of cell phone towers at Prince George’s County schools | WJLA.com

WPost: Springbrook HS football parents fuming after misused disinfectant causes player burns

When the Springbrook High football coaches suspected one of the team’s players had come down with a staph infection last week, they acted quickly. Worried that it might spread through the team, the trainer ordered the locker room to be sprayed with a disinfectant.
Halfway through practice later that day, there was a new problem. Junior defensive lineman Matthew Robinson started to feel something burning on his chest and back. Other players were in pain, too, and it became difficult for them to focus on football.
By the next morning, the Silver Spring school and coaching staff were flooded with calls about players suffering from first- and second-degree burns that forced them to seek medical attention. Robinson spent three days in the hospital when his burns became infected...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/highschools/springbrook-football-parents-fuming-after-misused-disinfectant-causes-player-burns/2014/09/23/57d7468e-4337-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html?hpid=z3

In 8 Days All Boards of Education will be in Ocean City with Milestone Communications

 
Prince George's BOE President and Superintendent
at 2013 MABE reception.
 
On October 1st through 3rd all Maryland Boards of Education will be in Ocean City, MD at the annual Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) meeting. One of the sponsors of that meeting is Milestone Communications.  Yes, a vendor gets to spend time alone with all of the Board of Education members in the State of Maryland. No bids. No competition. No public.
 
Below is public comment that details what Prince George's County parents got from the MABE - Milestone partnership.
 
How many Montgomery County parents want 3 cell towers on every public school playground?  Get ready, our Board of Education could come back from their Ocean City vacation with the very same "deal."
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
 
Prince George's County Public Schools - Board of Education Meeting - Public Comment
September 23, 2014

Good evening. My name is Janis Sartucci and I am a member of the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland. I am here this evening because over the summer I began researching the deals that Maryland Boards of Education had made with a company called Milestone Communications Management III, Inc. to place cell towers on each and every public school property in the State of Maryland. As part of my research I did a Maryland Public Information Act request for the agreements between the Prince George's County Board of Education and Milestone Communications. Through that research I received and made public documents that were not available on the Board of Education website.

The documents revealed that the Board of Education approved a Master Lease with Milestone on
November 11, 2010, in an agenda item that took up just 40 seconds. While the BOE vote was in November, the actual document was not signed until February 7, 2011, and the signature is not that of the Board President, but of only the superintendent.
On page 11 of the Master Lease at Section 17.1 it calls for Milestone Communications Management III, Inc. to be qualified to do business in the State of Maryland. However, Maryland corporation records seem to show the date of registration for that company in Maryland to be April 5, 2011.
My research also revealed a lease for a cell tower at Flowers High School signed by Superintendent Kevin Maxwell on August 5, 2014. The lease had not been made public. The lease was approved by Monica E. Goldson and James E. Fisher, but the lease was with a different company. It was not with Milestone Communications Management III, Inc.

By making these documents public, parents now know that the Board of Education has approved a deal to built up to 3 cell towers on each of 73 public school sites in the county.
The County process to build a cell tower includes a review by the Tower Commission. The Tower Commission met in July without public notice.

Applications for building permits have now been filed for cell towers on some sites. These applications are not going through the Special Exception process. A building permit can be obtained without a Special Exception if the cell tower will have 4 or fewer site visits per year. However, we know that in Fairfax County, Milestone Communications cell towers on public school sites require one to two site visits per month. With 12 to 24 site visits per year, I believe that the cell tower proposals for Prince George's County Public Schools should be going through the Special Exception process.

I ask, how can parents track construction projects at their schools when companies are switched, documents are signed in secret, and building permits do not go through the Special Exception process?

How is the Board of Education serving school communities by placing these commercial structures on school playgrounds without public notice, without parent input, and without community input.
I know that in 8 days the Board of Education will be in Ocean City for the annual Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) conference. I know that Milestone Communications will also be there as a sponsor of that conference. Milestone representatives will have more than 3 minutes to talk to each of you in Ocean City. They won't be on the clock.

Heroin Action Coalition

http://heroinactioncoalition.com/

Heroin Action Coalition of Maryland
Mission Statement: Heroin Action Coalition of Maryland seeks to ensure that appropriate opiate addiction treatment is available to all who request it or need it without regard for that individual’s income or insurance plan.
Goals
Treatment:
  • Provide pre-admission screening and referral for opiate addicts seeking detox and case management services following post inpatient treatment;
  • Work to remove obstacles to medically assisted treatment, including buprenorphine and vivitrol, and assist patients in accessing and receiving these treatments;
  • Link individuals in recovery from opiate addiction to programs in the community –facilitating wrap around services and ensuring a continuum of care;
  • Organize support groups for those in recovery and their families.

Education
  • Seek to educate local communities on addiction as both a medical disease and a mental health disorder and the effectiveness of treatment;
  • Provide information to state and county legislators, agency administrators, judges, and others to educate them on opiate addiction and to urge them to support evidence-based treatment goals;
  • Advise local, county, and state elected officials about unmet community needs regarding the continuum of care in addiction treatment;
  • Disseminate evidence-based standards and best practices to Maryland treatment providers and gather data on patient outcomes and success rates;
  • Disseminate information on drug addiction to local doctors and urge them to provide screening and brief intervention practices and to make appropriate recommendations for treatment when necessary;
  • Work with Maryland Public Schools to implement the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) where it pertains to recovering students within their school community;
  • Educate attorneys and public defenders on addiction and the effectiveness of treatment and urge them to recommend drug courts for their substance impaired clients, instead of incarceration.
Advocacy
  • Build a coalition of concerned citizens, recovering individuals, their families, community leaders, spiritual advisors, business leaders, educators, medical practitioners, police, etc. to create a grass-roots solution to end opiate addiction within local communities;
  • Work with other anti-drug coalitions within the state to strengthen the message of “treatment on demand” and to create a unified policy agenda in support of treatment;
  • Focus public attention on the lack of adolescent treatment in Maryland and work to raise the priority for additional treatment facilities;
  • Work with legislators, state agencies, and treatment providers to ensure that evidence-based standards and “best practices” are being implemented by all Maryland treatment providers and ensure enforcement of existing insurance parity laws.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

WTOP: Group fights siting of cell towers on schools' grounds

WASHINGTON -- More and more cellphone towers are going up on the grounds of schools, but a new group has formed to fight the trend in the D.C. region.
Citizens, homeowners and parents from Montgomery, Prince George's, Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties have formed a group called the Maryland Coalition Against Cell Towers on Schools. They want all cellphone tower construction on school grounds in the state to stop immediately.

article continues at link:

http://www.wtop.com/41/3708161/Group-fights-siting-of-cell-towers-on-schools-grounds

Capital Gazette: New coalition resists cell towers at schools

New coalition resists cell towers at schools

Multiple counties and organizations have banded together to oppose the construction of cell towers on school grounds, forming the Maryland Coalition to Halt Cell Towers at Schools.

Groups from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's counties along with Baltimore City created the coalition. It will lay out its goals at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Prince George's County Board of Education in Upper Marlboro, according to a statement released by the coalition.

The coalition was formed after Prince George's County education officials partnered with Reston, Virginia-based Milestone Communications for cell tower construction on school grounds. Seventy-five locations have been proposed as possible construction sites, which include Bowie High School and Benjamin Tasker Middle School, according to Prince George's County education officials.
                                                                                                                                                               Anne Arundel County also has plans for cell tower construction, with one already built at Broadneck High School, and three other proposed properties at Annapolis Middle School, Severn River and Magothy River Middle schools and Center of Applied Technology North, said Bob Mosier, Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman. - See more at: http://www.capitalgazette.com/bowie_bladenews/community/ph-ac-cn-cell-tower-092414-20140923,0,2964938.story#sthash.mCHpqoBb.dpuf

WPost letter: An unsatisfying school breakfast menu

What the Sept. 21 Metro article on school breakfast in Montgomery County missed [“Schools are challenged to leave no child hungry” ] is that the quality of these breakfasts is often appalling.

Read letter here.

School Board Challengers - Good Governance Forum


Tuesday, September 30, 2014
7:00 -9:00 pm 
Rockville Memorial Library, 1st Floor Conference Room

21 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850

Speakers: Larry Edmonds, Shebra Evans, Laurie Halverson, Jill Ortman-Fouse,
Kristin Trible
 
As we are aware of the views of the School Board incumbents, here is an opportunity to hear from the challengers. We will send them 3-5 questions ahead of the meeting. However, most of the forum will be open to questions from the floor - from you. 

Co-sponsored by the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, the Montgomery County Civic Federation, and the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County.

Monday, September 22, 2014

School Board Candidate Forum, September 29 at 6:30 PM

1/2 of MCPS High Schools had Failure Rates of more than 70% even with 15 points added

Montgomery schools differ in recent Algebra 1 final exam failures

A little more than half of Montgomery County’s 25 high schools had failure rates of more than 70 percent for the final exam in Algebra 1 in June, even after the district added 15 percentage points to exam grades, according to newly released district data.
The figures also show that eight middle schools, including six in the Silver Spring area, had Algebra 1 exam failure rates from 20 percent to 43 percent after the points were added. By contrast, 18 other middle schools recorded failure rates of 5 percent or less.
The new numbers provide a more detailed picture of June’s poor exam results, which led to a mass grade recalculation and the delay of student report cards districtwide.

Open Letter to MABE Executive Director Frances Hughes Glendening #mabe #celltowers

The Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) is Frances Hughes Glendening.  The Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) is a dues paying member of MABE.  The BOE paid MABE $66,354 out of the MCPS Operating Budget in FY 2015.

The Parents' Coalition has asked Executive Director Glendening and the MABE staff to please explain why they have partnered with a company whose goal is to take away public school playground space?  As of today, there has been no response to this question from anyone at MABE.

~~~~~

Subject: Why does the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE)
want to Take Away Playgrounds from Children?

Date: Sun, September 14, 2014
To: sbarry@mabe.orgkbennett@mabe.org,kblumsack@mabe.org,
sbounds@mabe.orgfglendening@mabe.org,sjames@mabe.org,
toldaker@mabe.orgjwoolums@mabe.org,mbrickley@mabe.org,
rgaston@mabe.orgdlomax@mabe.orgjmagoon@mabe.org,lspencer@mabe.org,
jodonoghue@mabe.org

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) has partnered with Milestone Communications to put cell tower compounds on every public school playground in the State of Maryland.

Milestone Communications doesn't just want ONE cell tower compound on a public school playground, they want up to THREE cell tower compounds per playground!  That's right, three!  This fact is revealed in the Milestone Communications Master Leases that have been made public by the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Why does the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) think THREE cell towers on every public school playground is in the best interest of children? A cell tower compound takes away precious green space and replaces it with a commercial HAZMAT facility.  What adult wants children playing on a HAZMAT facility?  

Public school playgrounds are set aside for the use, exercise, and enjoyment of public school children.  Why is an organization funded with public tax dollars partnering with a company designed to take away playground space from public school children? 

The answer lies in MABE's own statement.  Nowhere in the MABE partnership statement is the health, welfare and well being of public school children mentioned. 

"MABE partners with select companies, providing member districts the services that enable them to operate more efficiently, offer benefits to staff, or generate revenue. MABE Partnership Services contribute to the mission of serving and supporting Maryland boards of education."


Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, MD

Saturday, September 20, 2014

WPOST: Disinfectant on Springbrook HS football equipment causes rashes and burns


The football game between Sherwood and Springbrook, originally scheduled for Friday, has been moved to Monday at 6:30 p.m. after a disinfectant used on Springbrook’s football equipment caused players to experience rashes and burns.
Springbrook athletics director Rob Wendel said Springbrook staff members cleaned the locker room with “an appropriate disinfect inappropriately used.” He said the rashes and burns on the players’ necks and shoulders were serious enough for some players to seek medical attention.
Wendel said the school will be purchasing new equipment and is borrowing some for Monday’s game.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Did the PG Tower Committee Violate the MD Open Meetings Act and Leave Out Community Notice and Input? #celltowers

This is the Open Meetings Act complaint that was the subject of the September 18, 2014, NBC4 report.

NBC4: Parents Protest Plan to Put Cellphone Tower in Maryland Schoolyard



http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/275745111.html

Maryland Coalition Press Conference Calling for Halt to Construction of Cell Towers on Md School Playgrounds

Update 2/23/14:  Our supporters are growing and so our name has changed!  We are now the Maryland Coalition.

Tri-County Maryland Coalition to Halt Cell Towers at Schools 

Press Conference


Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 6 PM

14201 School Lane, Upper Marlboro, Maryland


Organizations from maryland counties AND BALTIMORE CITY have formed a coalition to call for a halt to the construction of cell towers on public school playgrounds


Upper Marlboro, MDOrganizations from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George's County have joined together to form a coalition to call for the immediate halt to the construction of cell towers on public school playgrounds. The newly formed Maryland Coalition will hold a press conference on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at 6 PM on the steps of the Prince George's County Board of Education, 14201 School Lane, Upper Marlboro, Maryland to announce the formation of the coalition and present the coalition's goals.
The following organizations and individuals have joined together to form the Maryland Coalition:
  • AACo Acts (Anne Arundel County Against Cell Towers at Schools)
  • Anne Arundel County NAACP
  • Belvedere Assisted Living & Real Care Providers Network, Baltimore
  • Broadneck Community Against Cell Towers at Our Schools, Anne Arundel County
  • Campfield AME Church, Pikesville
  • Citizens Against a Cell Tower at Julius West Middle School, Rockville 
  • Coalition of Central Prince George's County Community Organizations
  • Liberty Pride Volunteer Training Academy, Baltimore
  • Liberty Rec and Tech Center, Baltimore
  • Maryland Smart Meter Awareness
  • The Intersection, Baltimore
  • The Men and Family Center, Baltimore
  • The Committee of Concerned Citizens, Baltimore
  • Montgomery County NAACP
  • Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Prince George's County NAACP
  • Resurrection Ministries, Baltimore
  • The Roots of Scouting, Baltimore
  • Safe Schools Prince George's
  • Kim Trueheart, Activist, Baltimore City
  • West End Citizens Association, Rockville
  • Westport Improvement Association, Baltimore
  • Youth Volunteer Council of Greater Baltimore – Baltimore City
  • Youth Volunteer Council of Greater Baltimore – Baltimore County
The Maryland Coalition is raising the following concerns about cell tower construction projects at Maryland schools:
  • Lack of transparency and community involvement in the decision making process.
  • Safety Issues from the industrial machinery: fires, tower collapse, and worker accidents.
  • Environmental Issues such as paving over green space and cutting down trees.
  • Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) such as diesel fuel and lead acid batteries on school grounds.
  • Increased carcinogenic air pollution: Diesel generator exhaust and biocides.
  • Health issues related to daily long term exposure to microwave radiation.
The Maryland Coalition believes that cell towers are a bad investment for our children. We call for an immediate halt to cell tower construction at Maryland schools.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

WTOP: Teen sues over phony Montgomery County school psychologist

WASHINGTON - An 18-year-old Montgomery County man is suing the county and the estate of a man who masqueraded as a school psychologist for more than a decade.
Brandon Hall, of Rockville, Md., has filed a lawsuit claiming the Board of Education of Montgomery County hired and retained a fraudulent psychologist, Duane Donald Flemmer, who in addition to counseling Hall and his family in school, was instrumental in a contentious custody battle between Hall's parents.
"Flemmer was a fraud and a charlatan," says attorney Ronald Karp, who filed the suit on Hall's behalf.
The suit claims intentional misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, retention and supervision seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Flemmer's estate and the county school board...
continues at link:
 http://www.wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=3705004

Breaking News: Student Sues Montgomery Co. Board of Education Over Phony Psychologist David Flemmer

A Rockville lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of Montgomery County on behalf of an 18-year-old man, who claims he was emotionally damaged by a phony psychologist employed by the school district.
Ronald Karp told News4 told News4 Montgomery County Public Schools had employed "Dr. David Flemmer" for more than 10 years based off fake credentials. The man's real name was Duane Flemmer, according to Karp.
"If they had looked into this man's credentials, they would have known he was using a bogus name," Karp said. "They would have known he wasn't a Ph.D., they would have known that he forged all those documents."
Flemmer counseled Karp's client for two years, beginning when he was 8 years old while his parents were going through a divorce.
"Once you can walk into a courtroom and look the judge in the eye and say, 'I am Dr. David Flemmer and I am a Montgomery County Schools psychologist,' you have instant credibility and you can create havoc for all kinds of people," Karp said.
In 2006, the judge removed the boy from his mother and gave custody to his father, allegedly, based on Dr. Flemmer's testimony.

Cell Phone Towers Continue To Cause Concerns

While plans to place cell phone towers continue to move forward, parents and activists say they think the company building the towers needs to file for a special exception because it will make more than four maintenance visits a year.
“It’s simple math,” said Thea Scarato, a Greenbelt resident and parent of two children in PGCPS. “There are going to be more than four visits. It should need a special exception.”
In a previous report by The Sentinel, county planning department officials said the cell phone tower applications do not need a special exception because the towers will only be 151 feet high—lower than the county’s zoning ordinance requirement limitation of 199 feet. However, according to Scarato, cell phone tower applications should go through a process to get a special exception because there will be at least four maintenance site visits per year, according to the leasing agreement between Prince George’s County Public Schools and Milestone Communications....

article continues at this link.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Senior Fees - Still Illegal and Still at Blair HS

The Administration at Blair HS must be slow learners.

Several years ago, I know I told the administration at Blair that you can't charge students to participate in graduation.

Yet, charge away they do.  For buses, programs, and flowers.  With a convenience fee if the student pays by credit card.

Last time I checked, Blair HS had great access to public transportation.  Why the bus?  Why ask students to come to school and ride a bus downtown.  Can't they carpool or go with their parents? What if they only want to travel one way?  Do they get a discount?

Flowers?  Flowers in DAR Constitution Hall?  Can't the school share with the other schools using the facility?

Here is information for MBHS Seniors, class of 2015.

SENIOR FEES TO INCLUDE BUS
TRANSPORTATION/PROGRAMS/FLOWERS
All students are required to ride the bus from MBHS to Constitution Hall. $20
The last day to pay for graduation expenses is December 12, 2014.
Make checks payable to MBHS. The money will be collected by Ms. Fus in
the attendance office and Ms. Norris in Room 232 during 5th and 6th
period. Please have exact change.
*There are no additional fees for graduation.
Credit Card Payments can be made online at:
http://osp.osmsinc.com/montgomeryMD/ (3.75% convenience fee added)
*Order forms may be found in the main office, Rm. 232, and online.
And the cap/gown rip off?  The school makes money off every cap/gown they sell to you.  How many other schools use RED gowns?  Black is so much simpler, and easy to recycle.

Parents at Blair and other MCPS high schools remember - your child is entitled to a free public education.  Use public transportation and skip the flowers.   But - don't let the school administrators shake you down for additional cash.

New Trend for High School Neighborhoods



Montgomery Blair HS in Silver Spring has always demonstrated its leadership among schools in Montgomery County.

What's the latest leadership trend?

Blair HS is so lucky to have a "HEAD FIRST" concussion care facility located right across University Boulevard from the school.

Now if your child plays football at Blair - no worries about whether an athletic trainer is onsite.  Your Head First concussion facility can take care of your child.

And, its not only the football team kids who may find themselves at Head First.  You never know what other challenges face your child at Blair.  This surely beats the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital for convenience! 

Way to go Blair!