Quite the intrigue here in Frederick this week! First we had Kirby’s declarations of unconstitutionality concerning his sad, lost county contracts. Now, at last night’s joint BOE meeting, we learned that Kirby has a mysterious developer all ready to finance one of the two needed county elementary schools.
Why the mystery you may be asking? Well, just shut up!!! Kirby has his reasons!!! He won’t tell us, but why should he? It couldn’t be because there are some pretty outlandish conditions associated with this, could it?
What we learned from watching, and today’s FNP article, is that this all has the smell of back door school privatization. Not only would this school be leased back to the county, which has been been a bad deal throughout the land…Well, just look:
Cost savings may also come from custodial and maintenance operations being handled by the private sector, the councilmen said.
So here we go again! Remember all this privatization crap when Blaine came into office? Now, Tony and Kirby invite it to rear it’s ugly head once again. Here’s a great quote from an NEA analysis on privatizing school support services:
There is less accountability to the residents of a school district by their elected representatives when vital services are taken over by private contractors. Contractors tend to focus on performing only the tasks contained in their work descriptions, which is understandable because they are hired only to perform specific narrowly defined jobs.
By contrast, school district employees tend to view themselves as a vital part of the system of education, and provide numerous “intangibles” that enhance the quality of their work and the educational experience of children in school.
School district employees routinely perform a range of tasks that are not typically thought of as being in their official job descriptions but that are vitally important in providing a high quality education for children. [i] The great majority of educational support workers live in the school district where they are employed, and they feel responsible to their neighbors for the quality of their work.
Most private contractors base their sales pitch on the premise that they can provide the same or greater service at lower cost
Here’s the full NEA article and a great point sheet about the risks involved in such an endeavor.
Kirby and Tony cannot treat the school system as they do their contracting and excavating businesses. It’s not the same on any level. Our children are not commodities that can be moved around on a spreadsheet. They are unique human beings with a variety of talents and needs. And quite frankly, if we don’t get this part of their lives right and educate them properly, then we as a society will feel the repercussions for years to come. We must not allow the promise of a badly needed school lead us down a path of high costs, poor services and low wages. For this low wage, low cost thinking that has led to the elimination of many middle class jobs in this country.
We do need good discussion and solutions as to how to finance not only these two schools, but schools that will be needed down the road. It will have to be a combination of private and public funds and it must be a priority. It should not be a back door dismantling of our public education system all in the guise of saving money. We cannot let these gentlemen get away with that!
As for who the developer is, we really have no idea. But that is not going to stop us from speculating wildly and naming Roy Stanley. Should we start a pool?