Wednesday, December 30, 2015

...the school system's legal fees have nearly tripled. "Cut Foose Loose" petition.

An online petition requesting the Howard County Board of Education not renew Superintendent Renee Foose's four-year contract has collected more than 700 signatures since it went live last week.
The "Cut Foose Loose" petition cites several concerns about the superintendent's leadership, including her elimination of the Citizens' Operating Budget Review Committee; lack of communication with parents about mold issues at Glenwood Middle School; and elimination of the school system's in-house attorneys in favor of contracted legal services — since that decision was made in 2012, the school system's legal fees have nearly tripled...

The petition:

We request that the Howard County Board of Education not renew the contract of Superintendent Foose, if she requests renewal. We demand that our elected BOE hire a superintendent who will require transparency, accountability, and responsiveness. The years under Superintendent Foose have caused escalating difficulties for taxpayers, parents, students, and teachers.

IMPACT on Taxpayers. Under Foose’s HCPSS Leadership…
Elimination of the Citizens’ Operating Budget Review Committee - the group that provided public oversight of the proposed school budget (which is the majority of the Howard County taxpayer’s budget). [source]

Elimination of the HCPSS in-house attorney, incurring much higher costs for outside attorneys [PDF] [PDF] who have a financial incentive to litigate over working with parents, teachers and students to resolve disputes. [PDF]

Hiring an attorney for the Ethics Panel who was fired from Prince George's County Public Schools for unauthorized use of school funds. [source] [PDF p16 (last page)]

Spent over $10M last year on sole-source (non-competed) contracts. Chose to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on renovating the Board of Ed room [PDF] and a social medial consultant for the Superintendent and BOE [PDF] [PDF] while getting rid of direct support for teachers and students by eliminating paraeducator positions and increasing class sizes. Spent twice as much as Montgomery County on a special education audit. [PDF] [PDF]

IMPACT on Parents. Under Foose’s HCPSS Leadership…

Parents were not informed about known mold problems at Glenwood Middle School. When school staff wanted to tell parents, they were silenced. Mold was characterized as a “maintenance issue” - rather than a health issue - that did not need to be revealed to parents. Both students and staff with mold allergies suffered on-going illnesses. [PDF] [PDF]

Parents of students with disabilities and the Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee, were denied a (publicly funded) contractor's report of the HCPSS special education audit. Sanctions were sought and obtained on a special education student’s mother when attempting to obtain a copy of this special education audit report. [PDF] The Superintendent and senior staff noted that the report existed in records, then denied the MD-PIA request stating that the report did not exist. [PDF] The report still has not been released to the public.
There are other examples of non-compliance with the MD Public Information Act. [PDF] [PDF]

IMPACT on Students. Under Foose’s HCPSS Leadership…

BULLYING was IGNORED. Grace McComas was a bright, kind, and well-adjusted 14-year old who committed suicide on Easter Sunday, 2012. A drug-assisted sexual assault by a Glenelg High School student was not investigated, and Grace endured months of sexual harassment and bullying, which was reported to the school system. Next to nothing was done in response. Title IX of the federal Education Amendments Act, which describes a school’s responsibilities to address sexual harassment and sexual violence, was not followed, according to a parent. The family requested Grace’s counseling records, and have not received them. Several requests were made from June 2011–2014. Although legally required to do so, the HCPSS has not responded. [source] [source]. Foose recently told Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman she was not aware of requests for these records. [source] [source]. Grace’s Law, the child protective Maryland law against cyberbullying in Maryland, is not being properly communicated to families and victims. [source].
Other personal experiences of ignored bullying. [source]
Special Education students have had a particularly difficult time getting proper attention. Funds were removed each year from the special ed budget. The cutting of paraeducators affects them more, and parent requests for proper resources has not only gone unheeded, but has produced inappropriate antagonism. [PDF] [PDF] [PDF]
Suspension rates are higher for African American students in the HCPSS. [source]
It is proposed to remove the Jewish holidays from the HCPSS calendar. [source]

IMPACT on Teachers. Under Foose’s HCPSS Leadership…

Recently retired teachers have spoken at hearings saying they were afraid to speak for fear of their jobs in this Administration. There is not an atmosphere of open communication. [source]
Signing this petition is a call for HCPSS leadership to demonstrate greater fiscal responsibility, transparency, and communication. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT and sign. Your email address will not be released to any third party.
By Authority: The People's Voice, LLC, PAC Lisa Markovitz, Treasurer (


  1. “You can arm yourself, alarm yourself
    But there's nowhere you can run
    'Cause a man with a briefcase
    Can steal more money
    Than any man with a gun.”
    Don Henley

  2. Inside word is that Foose is the leading contender for the MCPS superintendent position. Pat O'Neill adores her.

  3. I bet you couldn't find 700 people in Montgomery County that could name the previous MC Superintendent, let alone sign a petition against him.

  4. FYI- Foose was with MCPS for almost 5 years as an Associate Superintendent.


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