Monday, July 31, 2017

You have never seen this in Montgomery County. What it looks like when a government respects and cares about public school children. Live Press Conference with Update on Arrest.

WATCH LIVE: Md. state's attorney will give updates in investigation of HIV positive former Md. school coach Carlos Bell. Initial allegations report at least 10 students were assaulted by Bell. Click here for full story: http://bit.ly/2tX3wTS

“We got 16-year-old kids ordering murders in Montgomery County. We got 15 and 16-year-old kids committing murders in Montgomery County, so I think we need to be more proactive,” McCarthy said.

http://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2017/07/montgomery-co-home-to-local-hit-squad-gang-ms-13-homicides/slide/4/

Two-Thirds of Maryland’s Homeless Students Live in Suburbs

This snapshot is part of a series analyzing student homelessness in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.ICPHusa.org for more information.

In the 2014–15 school year, Maryland had 874,514 students enrolled in 25 school districts (local education agencies).
That year, there were 16,096 homeless students in the state, making up 1.8% of total enrollment.
Maryland had the 25th highest number of homeless students and the 33rd highest rate of student homelessness in the U.S.
School districts with the highest rates of student homelessness were Wicomico County (8%) and Cecil County (5%)...

http://www.icphusa.org/national/two-thirds-marylands-homeless-students-live-suburbs/

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Morning of Day 3: Trial of MCPS Cloverly Elementary School Teacher John Vigna - Mother Testifies about 2 Daughters

The trial of MCPS Cloverly Elementary School teacher John Vigna was not covered by the media. The Parents' Coalition is providing the public with notes from the trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court.  
This is not a transcript.  
The trial was before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge David Boynton. 

Here are notes from day three of the trial, June 8, 2017.

June 8, 2017
Trial resumes 9:46 AM

Witness # 7 - Mother of Witnesses #5 and #6



Both of her girls had Mr. Vigna for 3rd grade.  Mother told that #5 liked 3rd grade, but then began to complain that she did not want to go to school.  #5 said she was nauseous and did not want to go to school.  Took #5 to doctors and to gastroenterologist. She had two endoscopes. When we changed schools she began to get better. Huge improvement when she went to new school. Now she is gaining weight. 
#6 first disclosed information about Mr. Vigna.  Mother talked to children about Mr. Vigna after he had been removed from school. 
Mr. Vigna moved #6 into his reading class when she was in 3rd grade.  She had started with a different reading teacher. One day #6 came home and told her mother that Mr. Vigna had said that #6's mother was a "cutie patootie" and that made #6 very uncomfortable.  #6 told her mother that Mr. Vigna told her that he would drive by their house and would feel better if they were home and he would feel sad if he saw their camper was gone. 
Mother took girls to talk to a social worker when she had concerns. She wanted girls to tell what happened in their own words.  When she took girls to the social worker, neither one knew about the other's experiences with Mr. Vigna.  It was when mother told #5 about #6 that #5 finally told her mother what had happened. 
#5 and #6 were so embarrassed and ashamed by what happened to them they did not want to tell anyone beside their mother.  They did not want their father to know what had happened. The girls talked to the social worker and decided that they were not going to let this happen to anyone else ever again and they were going to speak up.   
Defense Cross Examination:
Defense attorney asks mother if she and her husband have contemplated legal action against the school system.  Mother says yes.  Defense attorney says he sees their lawyer in the courtroom. 
#5 had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.  Mother said #5 did not want to go to school.  #5 went on field trips and mother would accompany her.  Mr. Vigna was on field trips.  Mother says Mr. Vigna came up to her on field trip to say he was proud of #5.
#5 did not complain about Mr. Vigna, #6 did complain. Mother did not report to social worker until September of 2016. 

State calls witness Monica Reaves

Social worker with Montgomery County Child Protective Services
Assessment interviewer, forensic interviewer.
She investigates child abuse and neglect allegations. She interviewed Witness #5 and #6 and their mother, Witness #7. Spoke to mother to understand why they were meeting with her office and to get developmental information about the children.   
Training teaches the RTEC Protocol to learn the techniques for interviewing children. Treehouse is not the same agency, they are a child advocacy center in partnership with Montgomery County. 
Interviewed #5 first.  She interviewed #5 with a detective in the room.  (Interview was videotaped.)

State plays VIDEO of interview of Witness #5:



Witness talks about being in Mr. Vigna's class. Mr. Vigna had a helper in the classroom for half of the day.  The helper was a high school student. 
Mr. Vigna was inappropriate. He would call her to the back table.  She would feel uncomfortable when he would talk about driving by her house and looking to see if they were home.  She described how Mr. Vigna would touch her.  Jurors were given a transcript of the video.

State plays VIDEO of interview of Witness #6:

Witness talks about being in Mr. Vigna's class. Witness talked about what would happen in Mr. Vigna's class. Jurors were given a transcript of the video. 

State recalls witness Monica Reaves
Social worker with Montgomery County Child Protective Services
Assessment interviewer, forensic interviewer.


Detective also asked questions during the interview.  That was normal for interviews.  

Defense cross examination of Monica Reaves:


She uses the RTEC protocol uses a narrative technique.  Knows Sara Kulow-Malave does interviews.  Kulow-Malave does not usually have third parties in the room. Witness allows detective in the room and allows detective to ask questions from time to time.   
Asks questions for clarification, asks "what next" questions. Clarifies statements if there is a specific thing where she does not understand what is happening.   
Defense attorney asks witness what she considers to be leading?  Witness gives examples of leading questions to victim.  She assesses to see if victim is safe, is she emotionally safe? 
Defense attorney takes questions from transcript and asks witness if her questions were leading.  Witness asked victim if question from detective was leading.  Was witness concerned that detective's questions were leading? Witness says she would not know how to criticize the detectives questions. 
Witness says children wait several years and even into adulthood to come forward.  It is not abnormal for a child to wait to come forward. That does not impact our obtaining of information. 
Defense asks if truthfulness is discussed with victim as part of interview?  Not necessary for interview.  Does not place victims under oath.  That is not something a social worker does.  

Re-direct by State of Monica Reaves:
Why don't you put a child under oath for an interview?  Witness states that her role is as a social worker and her goal is to obtain information regarding the child.  She is also assessing for safety and to make sure that their emotional well being is being protected.  
As a forensic interviewer she is just obtaining information.  

Trial recessed for lunch.

Afternoon of Day 2: Trial of MCPS Cloverly Elementary School Teacher John Vigna

The trial of MCPS Cloverly Elementary School teacher John Vigna was not covered by the media. The Parents' Coalition is providing the public with notes from the trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court.  
This is not a transcript.  
The trial was before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge David Boynton. 

Here are notes from the afternoon of day two of the trial, June 7, 2017.

June 7, 2017

1:58 Trial resumes:

State plays VIDEO of interview of Witness # 1 by Montgomery County Tree House Child Advocacy Center to the jury:
Witness #1 says that there is a 3rd grade teacher who touches our butts when we hug him and makes us sit on his lap.  His name is Mr. Vigna.  Happened for the first time in 2nd or 3rd grade. Last time was 2 or 3 days ago.  He is sitting in his office chair when she hugs him. Sat on his lap week or two ago.  Makes me sit on his lap.  He pulled me on his lap to watch video.  His hands are on my legs when sitting on his lap.  His hands go up and down her legs.  When sitting on his lap she feels something hard, feels something hard on his body touching her butt.  She and Witness #2 are the students that sit on Mr. Vigna's lap.  She told counselor yesterday about this.  She didn't think it was that bad until she learned about assault and harassment at school. She told teacher about this.   
Had Mr. Vigna in 3rd grade.  In 1st grade class was brought to Mr. Vigna because they were being loud. Mr. Vigna passed by her and touched her butt with his hand.  She was at back of line.  Hugging at end of day started in 4th grade because he was a really good teacher.  One day she said good-bye to him and he asked for a hug.  Middle of 4th grade he had her start sitting on his lap.  The third graders would dance after announcements.  He had her sit on his lap and watch the 3rd graders dance.  He would pull her on his lap.  Her back was to him and her legs were on either side of him.  His hands move on her legs.  Occasionally she feels something hard on his lap.  He is breathing very hard when she is on his lap.  When she tries to get off his lap, he pulls her back on.  She stays on his lap until his bus is called. She asks her classroom teacher if she can go to Mr. Vigna's class at the end of the day.  Lights are off when students are watching video at end of day and the classroom door is closed.  She went to bathroom and left door open, he got up and closed it again.  Has sat on his lap 4 or 5 times in 5th grade. Does not think other kids saw her on his lap.  Kids were watching video.  Always sat on his lap when he was at his desk.   
Gives her candy and packs of goldfish almost every day.  Snacks are only given to kids that come to visit him.  Then his own students complain that they do not get any snacks like the kids that come to visit him get.     Mr. Vigna teaches disabled kids Bocce at Paint Branch.  Pulls her by hips to come and sit on his lap and says come here.  He did touch her butt a lot and it made her feel uncomfortable, but she just went with it.  Thought maybe he was doing something illegal and he would get in trouble for it. There have been times when it was just her and Mr. Vigna alone in his class when she was going to an after school club.  When she said good-bye to him, he touched her butt.  She walked in to classroom and saw no one was there and she turned around to leave and he said come here I want a hug and then he touched her butt.  Mr. Vigna would put his hand on top of her legs and rub them from her knees to her waist.  Breathing is different when she is sitting on his lap.  When she is not on his lap his breathing is normal.  The longer she is on his lap the heavier his breathing gets. 


Cross examination of  Witness Sara Kulow-Malave

Forensic Interviewer with Montgomery County Tree House Child Advocacy Center

She is sole forensic interviewer for county agencies.  Forensic interviews are designed to be used in courtrooms.  Defense attorney says some techniques of questioning are discouraged for these types of interviews. Defense attorney says leading questions are discouraged.  
Defense attorney asks if she considers herself as an advocate for the children she comes in contact with.  Ms. Kulow-Malave answers that she is an advocate and then says she is a neutral party.  She says she is there to make the children feel comfortable so they will share whatever they have to share. 
Rapport building, topic of concern method used.  E is exploration of details and Closure.  
Ms. Kulow-Malave says it is not uncommon for there to be inconsistencies in the statements of the people she interviews. 
There were inconsistencies in the statements from Witness #1 and Witness #2.  Her job is to gather the information.  Says her job is not to attempt to identify if there is any collusion.  No indication that they were not exposed to normal aspects of society that any other 10 year old would be exposed to. 
It would be a fair statement that there was a delay in reporting in this case.  Sometimes she will ask what finally made them come forward. 
Defense attorney asked why she did not explore if there could have been something in Mr. Vigna's pocket (car keys, wallet, cell phone).  Defense attorney noted that she did not have a diagram of someone sitting with clothes on.  She used picture of anatomically correct naked male standing. 
Defense attorney discussed verbal queues that showed verbal collusion between Witness #1 and Witness #2. 
Witness had characterized Mr. Vigna as rude, but also said he was one of the best teachers in school - did she ask about that?  She said no. 
Defense attorney noted that witnesses were not under oath when they were interviewed in the videos. Defense attorney noted that she did not mention truthfulness in beginning of interview. 
State's Re-Direct of Witness Sara Kulow-Malave:
Her job is just to conduct interview.  She does not do any investigation. State went over transcript.
Defense asked one more question from transcript. 

State calls Witness #5:
11 year old, 5th grade student, former Cloverly Elementary School student. 
Witness #5 had Mr. Vigna for 3rd grade.  Sometimes it was good to be in his class, sometimes it wasn't.  Sometimes he touched me on my vagina.  Sometimes at his desk, sometimes at back table. It happened more than one time, less than five times. Touched chest, butt and vagina.  It would happen during school day. Told her mother what was happening with Mr. Vigna when she was in 4th grade. 
Would be sitting in Mr. Vigna's lap while watching the Promethean Board.  Other students would be sitting on carpet watching video on Promethean Board. They were facing away from Mr. Vigna's desk.  When she was sitting on his lap he would move his leg up and down.  She would sit on his lap a lot. 
Mr. Vigna would kiss her on her head about once a month.  Mr. Vigna would ask for kisses on his cheek. She was a bus rider. Other students would be around at the end of the day.  

Defense Cross examination of Witness #5:


Sometimes she would go behind Mr. Vigna's desk and help him clean his desk when his desk got messy. Defense attorney had Witness #5 mark on diagram where she would sit on Mr. Vigna's lap and where other students were in the classroom.  When she would go to the reading table she did not take her work.  The other students would work.  Sometimes she would sit with the other students on the carpet.
She was in Mr. Vigna's 3rd grade class.  23 students were in the class.  Mr. Vigna kissed her on the top of her head. He kissed her head two times.
Defense attorney asked why she waited until 4th grade to tell about Mr. Vigna in 3rd grade? She said she was scared to tell. 
She said no other teachers were in the classroom during reading time.
There was a helper in the classroom. The helper was an adult.
Defense attorney asked Witness #5 if she knows what an accident is.  Defense attorney asked how Witness #5 knew that when Mr. Vigna touched her it was not an accident? 

State calls Witness #6:
9 year old, 4th grade, former Cloverly Elementary School student, sister of Witness #5
Mr. Vigna was her reading teacher in 3rd grade.  Had reading class every day in the morning. She had to go to his classroom.  She liked it in the beginning, but then did not like being in the class.  She did not like when he began touching her butt and her vagina.  She was at the back table.  She would be right next to Mr. Vigna, he would start moving closer to her, he would start touching her butt and vagina.  Mr. Vigna would ask her to go to the back table. He would touch her a lot of the times. 
He told her he would drive by her house in the summer and knew she was camping because their camper was not there.  He would call her mom a cutie pie and then his face would turn red.  He would kiss her on her cheek and on her forehead.  He would hug her. While he was touching her butt and vagina he would lean in and hug her.  He would have her kiss him on his cheek.  He would touch her over top of her clothes. 
She told her friends in 3rd grade what was happening with Mr. Vigna.  She felt more and more uncomfortable so she told her friends.  She wanted them to know.  She told her mother about what happened with Mr. Vigna in the summer when she asked her about Mr. Vigna.    
Defense Cross examination of Witness #6
Defense has Witness #6 diagram where she sat in Mr. Vigna's room.  Witness #6 described how reading groups worked.  She did not say anything about this until next year.  She says sometimes Mr. Vigna would be in his rocking chair. Did not talk to her sister about it.  Told some of her friends during her birthday party in June.  Defense attorney says she has talked to a lot of people since she told her mother.  Deffense attorney said Mr. Vigna was friendly when he talked about her mom and her family.

Court recessed for day and will resume on June 8, 2017. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Morning of Day 2: Trial of MCPS Cloverly Elementary School Teacher John Vigna

The trial of MCPS Cloverly Elementary School teacher John Vigna was not covered by the media. The Parents' Coalition is providing the public with notes from the trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court.  
This is not a transcript.  
The trial was before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge David Boynton. 

Here are notes from day two of the trial, June 7, 2017.

June 7, 2017

9:40 AM - Jurors return to courtroom

State calls Witness J. G. 
5th grade Cloverly Elementary School teacher


Knew Mr. Vigna at school professionally and outside of school.Body Safety class taught in her class. During class, saw student slumping down in her chair.Asked student if she was O.K.Student came back during dismissal and told her that you know how we all love Mr. Vigna, he touches us in ways that make us uncomfortable. He touches us on our butt and makes us sit on his lap and won't let us get up. Has known Mr. Vigna 9 years. A handful of times she would see Mr. Vigna with a student on his lap, students would approach him, hang around his desk.  She told Mr. Vigna that they needed to have a more professional relationship with students, trained by County to keep their distance. Mr. Vigna had a more relaxed environment with students. He was affectionate with students. She would tell him that as a male teacher he should not be alone with female students and keep your distance.  She and another teacher Mr. K, spoke to Mr. Vigna about his interactions with students. They spoke to Mr. Vigna about this more than once. He would say he wasn't doing anything wrong. Nothing that we observed was of a sexual nature, obviously if it was we would have reported it.  We were just looking out for professional guidelines. Assistant principal was notified of students statement (after Body Safety class). 

Cross examination:
After student made statement, student was allowed to go home on the bus.


State calls Witness #4:
24 year old, former Cloverly Elementary School student. 


Had Mr. Vigna for 4th grade in 2001-2002.  Mr. Vigna was a very compassionate person, had strong relationships with all of this students. Like Mr. Vigna when she was in 4th grade. There were times when she questioned what the relationship was.  Incident where she had to change her clothes, Mr. Vigna had her change her clothes in the classroom closet. She felt something was not right and felt very uncomfortable.  In later years she realized things were not right. We had to give him a kiss on the cheek every day before we left the classroom to go to our bus. Recall that sometimes his head would turn and she would feel the corner of his mouth, thought she went too far on his face.  He told a story about accidentally kissing a student on the lips.  She remembered it as a routine every day.  At the end of the day while we were waiting for the buses, he would have me and another classmate sit on his legs.  We were on his legs like horseback style.  His hands would be on our legs and I remember one specific instance where he was talking to some boys across the desk and every time he talked I felt his finger on my crotch.  Crotch would ride against his leg. She was on his lap a lot, at least once a week.  She remembers having a bond with him unlike with other teachers. His hand would move to touch her vagina every time he was engaging in conversation. Remembers seeing where his hand was on her thigh. Every time I was on one leg, other student was on other leg. Kissing good-bye was a routine.  Felt like she was one of his favorites. She never talked about what happened with Mr. Vigna.  It was not until she saw an article on Facebook about Mr. Vigna that she talked about what happened.  She called the number at the bottom of the article. 
Cross examination: 
Incidents were 15 years ago and there are things that you do not remember from that time, correct?  Witness says she remembers most of 4th grade. Mother approached her. There are things she remembers and things her mother remembers. Discussed incidents with 3 or 4 former Cloverly Elementary School students. Came to interview with police detective with another former student. When you were sitting on Mr. Vigna's leg was in the the classroom with lots of students around, correct? Yes. Mr. Vigna was favorite teacher. No walls in classroom. Nothing to restrict view. Mr. Vigna would be talking to other students.Students would change into Halloween costumes in classrooms. Two classrooms together.  No one else in the classroom on the day she was changing her clothes. Mr. Vigna was only teacher that would allow students to come to his classroom during recess when we were not supposed to do that.
Mother asked her if Mr. Vigna had touched her and she said no.  Mother did not talk to principal or call the police.

Re-direct by State:


One friend came to Mr. Vigna's defense.  Other friend mentioned that she could not recall incidences but very uncomfortable with Mr. Vigna's presence.  Several incidents where she felt unsafe.Mother had concerns about Mr. Vigna when she was in 4th grade. In 4th grade she was very defensive about Mr. Vigna.  One day she had come home and said that Mr. Vigna helped her zip up her pants. Mother asked about any other contact.Came forward after discussing random incidences with friends.  Decision to come forward was the fact that she does not want these type of incidences to happen to anyone else. Compelled to come forward for the greater common good.

State calls Witness Sara Kulow-Malave
Forensic Interviewer with Montgomery County Tree House Child Advocacy Center
Ms. Kulow-Malave gave her resume on work employment and training. Has done 1,070 interviews.Children come to the center and are interviewed with police and CPS observing so that child does not have to repeat story to different investigators.  Interview room is pretty plain to minimize distractions. A couple of chairs, two cameras on the wall and that is pretty much it.  She went over protocols for how she interviews children.Ms. Kulow-Malave interviewed Witness # 1 and Witness # 2. Diagram used when child was talking about certain body parts. 

State shows VIDEO of interview of Witness # 2 by Montgomery County Tree House Child Advocacy Center.Jurors handed written transcript of interview.  In video, Witness # 2 says she went into Mr. Vigna's classroom (Thursday before interview) and gave him a hug while he was sitting in his chair. She was standing up. Mr. Vigna put one hand on her butt. Other students were in the classroom, distracted. Mr. Vigna would give Witness # 1 treats, but she did not want any.  Mr. Vigna would grab a girl and put them on his lap and bounce them on his leg. He would hold them with his hands. Mostly Mr. Vigna hugging girls, boys would get high fives. Witness #1 would sit on Mr. Vigna's lap, but just on one leg, sideways.


Trial recessed for lunch break.

Concussion testing no longer mandatory for Howard County public school athletes

For the first time since 2010, student athletes participating in high school athletics in Howard County this fall will not be required to participate in ImPACT concussion baseline testing.
This testing will now be conducted on a voluntary basis, still available to any athletes who choose to participate in the program — which is designed to provide tangible data to help determine when it is safe for an athlete to return to play in the event of a head injury.
Howard County has long been considered ahead of the curve in concussion prevention and detection. Former county athletic coordinator Mike Williams began counting concussions in 2007, documenting 72 that school year.
Then prior to the fall 2010 season, with certified athletic trainers in place at all 12 public high schools and the ImPACT concussion management system already adopted, the county made it mandatory for athletes participating in contact sports to undergo a baseline test prior to tryouts. The testing was optional for non-contact sports such as cross country, golf, indoor and outdoor track and tennis.
Initially, Howard County was the only county in the state making this concussion testing mandatory. In 2011,Carroll County followed suit in requiring students playing a contact sport to take a memory and mental agility test that could be used as a comparison point in an instance where a concussion was suspected...

MCPS Selling Comcast Internet in Schools




Thursday, July 27, 2017

MCPS Camera Recorded Sexual Abuse

In March of 2017, MCPS bus driver Salvador Rodriguez was charged with sex offenses against two 11 year old elementary school students.  

The Application for Statement of Charges filed in this case shows that in at least one of the incidents charged, the sexual assault was recorded on video.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Breaking News: MCPS teacher John Vigna files Motion for New Trial

On June 10, 2017, MCPS elementary school teacher John Vigna was convicted on FOUR COUNTS OF SEX ABUSE OF A MINOR AND FIVE COUNTS OF THIRD DEGREE SEX OFFENSE.

Mr. Vigna has now filed a Motion for a New Trial.  His motion is below, followed by the response of the State's Attorney. 


Part of Mr. Vigna's motion has been removed from public view to protect the victims. 

Opioid Overdoses Continue To Increase in Montgomery County

Opioid Overdoses Continue To Increase in Montgomery County: Police cite ‘great public safety issue’ in use of heroin, fentanyl and prescription drugs

How the synthetic turf industry is bypassing children’s safety

Shredded tires were sold as materials to surface our youngest children's playgrounds and to infill synthetic turf fields before any testing was done to see if the material was safe for such uses. Now the government is looking to thoroughly find the answer to ensure American kids are not at risk during recess.
A synthetic turf study undertaken in 2016 by four United States agencies  — EPA, Consumer Products Safety Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry — is incredibly important for the health and safety of a whole generation of children who are being exposed to synthetic turf fields infilled with waste tire-crumb rubber.
As many scientists and physicians became concerned about these new uses for waste tires, some independent testing began. These independent studies looked at what chemicals were in the tires, how much the chemicals out-gassed, how children were actually exposed and what happened as the fields heated up in the warmer months.

A study done at Yale University found 96 chemicals in the waste tire materials. Of those, only half had any federal testing done on them and, of the half that had been tested, 11 of those chemicals were carcinogenic and 20 were skin, eye and respiratory irritants.
Some independent studies looked at the heat effects of synthetic turf. The University of Arkansas found that when the outside air was 98 degrees, the air just above synthetic turf fields was anywhere from 173 to as high as 199 degrees. In New York it was found that when the outside air was 89 degrees, synthetic turf fields ranged from 145 to 160 degrees. The Toronto Department of Public Health found that synthetic turf fields became hotter than asphalt in the sun.
What does this extreme heat do to the chemicals in waste tire materials?  The extreme heat causes the carcinogens and irritants in the material to be far more available for human uptake and exposures — the fields and playgrounds with shredded waste tires become even more dangerous...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MCPS Top Salaries $150,000 - $175,000 including Top Principal Salaries, Union President and Internal Auditor (School accounts)

These charts do not include benefits and perks.
First column shows salary for employees on spreadsheet. Example: $275,000 is base salary for Jack R. Smith.
Consultants are not included on these charts. 



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Parents Opposed to Cell Tower on Roof of Northwest High School

NWHS cell tower meeting
 Once again, another Montgomery County community says NO to a cell tower on public school property.

Board of Ed put radio frequency
consultant on Skype
At the July 18, 2017, meeting at Northwest High School parents were vocal in their opposition to the Board of Education's plan to put a cell tower on the roof of the school.  Even though the Board of Education only gave the community 6 days notice of the summer meeting, the meeting was well attended with over 50 parents and community members in the audience.

When will the Montgomery County Board of Education get the message that Montgomery County parents do not want cell towers on public school playgrounds or on public school rooftops?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Office of Legislative Oversight Survey on Out-of-Schooltime Activities

Please complete the survey, per the email below. This survey has been extended through Saturday, so there is a short timeline. The responses will be used for the County Council to make decisions on these out-of-school-time activities.

From: "Friedland, David" <David.Friedland@montgomerycountymd.gov>
Date: July 18, 2017 at 7:08:13 AM PDT
To: "BODsecretary@mccpta.org" <BODsecretary@mccpta.org>
Subject: We Want Your Opinion (Survey Closes This Friday 7/18
The Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) conducts research to assist the County Council in fulfilling its oversight function. OLO is currently assessing the supply of and demand for out of school time (OOST) activities in the County, and has developed this anonymous survey to gather information and feedback from PTA members in the County.
OOST activities include before- and after-school programs, summer school, summer programs and camps, Saturday school, extracurricular activities such as sports, arts, and music, faith-based classes and clubs, and other enrichment activities for school-age children. OOST activities can be public or private.
Completing the survey will take approximately 20 minutes. Please ignore this email if you have already completed the survey.
 
Click here to start the survey.  The survey closes this Friday, July 21. (NOTE: this deadline has been extended through Saturday, July 22)
A Spanish version of the survey is available here.
Your responses are completely anonymous. Responses to this survey will not be traced back to respondents. No personally identifiable information is collected unless you voluntarily offer personal or contact information in any of the comment fields.
To help OLO obtain feedback from as many parent s as possible, we encourage you to forward this survey to PTA officers and members in your clusters.
OLO appreciates your time. Your responses will help us develop a better understanding of the current provision of out of school time activities in the County. If you have problems or questions regarding the survey, please contact David.Friedland@montgomerycountymd.gov or call (240) 777-7836.
 
Thank you again for your time and input.
Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight
 



MCPS says “If the community doesn’t want a tower at the school, it isn’t built there..."

...According to a notice on the NWHS PTSA page, representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools and T-Mobile will be providing more information about the cell antenna proposal.
MCPS spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said these types of decisions are made with community feedback.
“If MCPS is approached by a company that wants to place a cell tower at one of our schools, we have a very thorough process we go through to gather input from the school community and the neighborhood,” Onijala said. “If the community doesn’t want a tower at the school, it isn’t built there. If the community supports a tower, then the applicant still must get the necessary approvals from the county.”...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

10 MCPS Cell Tower Tenants Have Not Paid 2016 Property Taxes, Including Comcast

Daly Elementary School cell tower, Germantown, MD
MCPS staff love to pretend that cell towers bring money to our public school system.  However, as the Parents' Coalition exposed in 2011, telecommunications companies were not paying their required property taxes for years.  That means that our government and public schools were actually losing funding because the commercial cell towers were hiding in plain site on government land without paying their property taxes. 

Property taxes support our system of free public schools.

Once again in 2016, 10 telecommunications companies using cell towers on Montgomery County Board of Education property have not yet paid their property taxes. When will those bills be paid? How long should public school children wait for their funding?   

What schools have telecommunications companies that have not yet paid their 2016 property taxes?  
Here is the list:

Blake High School
Kennedy High School
Northwood High School
Sherwood High School
Tilden Middle School
Wheaton High School
Woodwards Road unused school site (Comcast leases most of this property.)