Are you ready for this?

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This is becoming a theme. Derp.

This clip of an interview by WMAL with Frederick’s own High Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is something else. The first thing that jumps out is that WMAL can’t spell Frederick County.  It’s not Fredrick. Once we recovered from seeing this error, and managed to listen we were  excited  concerned to hear his thoughts on school security in the wake of Parkland.

He made it clear that he feels the buck stops with him for any actions/inactions done by deputies whom he had trained and that work for him. Our first thought in hearing this was remembering the death of Ethan Saylor.  The sheriff may have publicly commented on his feelings about that, but all we could find was that he said they need to revise the way deputies were trained.

Check out this part from the link we posted:

As the interview continued, Sheriff Jenkins addressed Sheriff Israel’s actions of politicizing the incident:

O’Connor: I think many people are sort of scrutinizing Sheriff Israel right now because it appears as though he knew about those breakdowns last week, but he still did that nationally televised political event where he was basically blaming the NRA, blaming politicians, he was kind of partisan. Do you think that was appropriate for him?

Sheriff Jenkins: No, I don’t. Again, I think we all have our political beliefs and ideologies but you keep them separate from the actual events that you’re addressing. And some of the statements he said, he made, I don’t think were really appropriate. Again, I wasn’t there. I’m not in his shoes. But I can tell you, you don’t turn a situation like that into politics and you don’t blame the NRA because it’s not a gun control issue. The very basic issues are these:

  1. How do you limit access of firearms to individuals that shouldn’t have them in their hands?
  2. How do we harden the security at our schools to eliminate the threats to our students and staff?

There are a number of ways to do it, but again I don’t think you make it political.

How are guns not a political issue? The sheriff is making it political himself when he mentions limiting access. You can’t limit access without changing laws. Of course this is a political issue.

The sheriff announced plans to bring a proposal to the Board of Education to put an armed and trained security force of 5 or 6 into each and every school. This is how he thinks he will keep our kids safe. We reached out to Karl Bickel, democratic candidate for Frederick County Sheriff to see what he thinks of this idea. Karl didn’t want to give a final opinion on it since it is just a thought at the moment, but he did say it felt like a knee-jerk reaction.  “It sounds like an ill-conceived idea that is fraught with problems that would put students, staff and any officers (deputies) in even greater danger.” We tend to agree. We’ll stand by to see what the sheriff presents to the board.

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This is funny. Student safety is not.

Why can’t some people just be still? Your first half of the meeting run-down, February 13th edition.

Our meeting starts off with a nice recognition of the Linganore High School football team. Billy votes against the whole agenda, so can’t he just leave now? We have four nice public commenters. Many are present to talk about the amendments to the Forest Ordinance Bill. Melanie Cox, of the League of Women Voters, also commends the council for putting the hearing concerning DRRAs back on the agenda. The league has researched this issue, and believes this bill is a good way to balance growth in our community.

Next up is a rather lengthly discussion from Carson Bise on impact fees. You can read the whole report if you like. Basically, elementary and high schools will be severely overcrowded by 2026-27 if we aren’t careful.

Most of the council members have thoughtful comments and questions, but not Kirby! He seems to want to argue over the cost of the study, then doesn’t. Then he tells us that WE should have planned better for all this growth!

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Is he actually admitting fault, or trying to pretend he hasn’t been on the board/council since 2010? He was a significant part of the “we” who should have done this hypothetical planning. Anyhoo, Kirby doesn’t think it’s much of a crisis yet. And, we have all these homes in the pipeline and all these homes were in the pipeline in the past, so all’s good?

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Billy wants to know if FCPS is going to redistrict the whole county any time soon, you know because that’s such an easy, uncomplicated process! So, Urbana folks don’t be surprised when Billy starts advocating that your kids be shipped up to Thurmont!

John Mathias, our esteemed county attorney, is here to make a presentation on the legal side of DRRAs. He explains their history, court cases, and implications for our county. He tells of a certain court case which ruled that you couldn’t change the type of development once vesting had occurred. Mostly because it isn’t fair to the people who already invested in said development. It seems as though Mr. Mathias was sent there to explain to some people how to do their job. More power to him! Tony has much to say, but we are to the point where his voice is just a buzzing noise, so you’ll have to figure all that out on your own.

Lastly, before the council breaks, Jessica and Tony introduce some amendments to the County Executive’s Forest Ordinance Bill. With input from the community they came up with some compromises. The amendments pass, with Billy and Kirby voting no. It will now go back to a public hearing.

Bud then moves to have his forest bill removed from consideration. He tells us that he wishes there was more discussion before hand, before he felt the need to write his own bill. He states that compromise is good for the community and the country. And, we would really like to know, Bud, when things all broke down. We are still perplexed and angry over all that’s gone down lately. Bill is removed with Billy abstaining and Kirby voting no.

The council then goes into closed session, we hear that more shenanigans went down with the DRAA hearing. Stay tuned!

Guess what we think of your feelings, Cindy Rose.

Failed BOE candidate Cindy Rose has scribed an irrational fury bomb about FCPS and tossed it on the world via The Sucky Octopus Feeler. We cannot ever recommend clicking that. And we thought she would crawl under a sea rock and go away (just kidding, unfortunately–we did not think that).

She is seething angry because FCPS needs to adopt a transgender policy for the school potties now that Pres-o-Dent Bull-in-China-Shop has reversed the mandate that icked some people out, and she seems to be insinuating that business interests and the like are probably behind this because it is always some business interest or social activist (irony alert: what does she think she is in this scenario? a diplomat?). Plus, this is silly. Lobbyists do not go directly to her archnemesis Dr. Alban when they want all their wildest dreams to come true. Sure, Pearson makes the megamoolah on tests and curriculum. They do that by getting widespread legislative changes enacted by elected officials, not going small taters to the superintendent. Having a policy for inclusivity is probably not where the big bucks are. Unless…is it the Joe the Plumber lobby????? Heinh????

In her twisted world, the fact that FCPS seeks to avoid discriminating against transgender students is somehow discriminating against her. This lady is so filled with loathing that she will find any excuse to pick a fight with the school system. All others who may have special needs and concerns be damned.

Sometimes we do agree with Cindy Rose, like when school testing seems stupid, wasteful, and inappropriate to student needs. And also now. We can just hold a mirror up!

Ms. Rose also is angry (is there another way for her to be?) because the school system will not let her sit in on their school culture training. Look, this is obviously perfectly understandable, if sensitive to explain. We all know a portion of the school culture seminar is, “What you do with whackalooney parents who will not stop sending you 70 bajillion PIA requests per day.” Letting her sit in there–even all quiet and not spitting and hopping around–like a fly on the wall would just be all kinds of awkward.

Ms. Rose says that Dr. Alban likened her PIA addiction to a person who calls 911 abusively, and if you will follow the links in that PIA request link you will see that it is a crying shame that Dr. Alban failed to note that on some occasions it is like that woman who called 911 from the drive-thru at McDonald’s because she was tired of waiting for her McNuggets.

Catoctin High needs your help!

You may remember when a certain council member who does not like his name used without his permission,  posted a photo of a Catoctin High Booster request for donation form.

Don’t remember? Good thing we do. Read all about it here.

Well this time the CHS art department is trying to win $50000. Yes! $50000! And all you need to do is vote!

Details here.

Vote here. Contest ends May 11th. Vote daily until then.

 

Check out the cool designs! This is what you are voting for!

Redistricting update

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We are so glad we are not the decision makers here.

We know our readers are just as keyed into local education as we are. Our friends over at The Frederick Extra posted an update this morning on the latest FCPS redistricting news.

Check it out here.

The Board of Education will be having a workshop on May 10th to consider public feedback.

What a glorious public hearing!!

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Frederick County horses can rest easy…for now!

Last night the county council had a very nice public hearing on the county’s contribution to the FCPS budget. Budget guru, Rick Harcum, did a great introduction in which he had some very reasonable and optimistic things to say about the school budget. He let us know that:

  1. Good schools increase property values.
  2. Education is the #1 priority of county residents as evidenced by online surveys and public hearings.
  3. We are funding schools $25 million above the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement.
  4. Because of the improved economy, school construction is coming in cheaper than expected. Thereby opening the door to more building and renovation.

Mr. Harcum ends his statement by saying the future looks good. And we all got here by working together! We are almost giddy at this point!!!

The hearing commences with Board of Education President Brad Young, Superintendent Alban and Frederick County Teacher Union President Melissa Dirks. Ms. Alban states what we all know to be true, that the most important factor in any classroom is the teacher. A fact that is then reiterated by the many wonderful members of the public. Teacher salaries factor predominantly in the comments as well as the importance of support staff. We are oh so thankful to ALL the school employees who make sure that our children are not only educated, but also well taken care of while they are at school.

The meeting concludes, as always, with council member comment and man we always tense up during this part. However, we got off with only one hitch! Tony and Kirby pass! Jerry thanks everyone for coming out and then we are off to Debbie Downer! Billy is disappointed. Disappointed that WiFi isn’t in the budget, even though every school already has it. But not only WiFi,  no money seems to be devoted to technology. According to Billy, and these are his words folks, “If a kid can’t use a device every minute of their life they won’t do good in the workforce.”

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Jessica and M.C. also give thanks to those who came out. Bud informs us that he was really surprised when he found out that we were losing teachers to Washington County. And you know why folks? Because they pay better! We need to make our salaries more competitive if we are to get that most important factor in educating our children: TEACHERS!

This week is chock full of budget meetings. On both Wednesday and Thursday of this week the council will be meeting with various departments to hear their needs. Next Tuesday, there will be a discussion of which amendments the council would like to add, with a final vote scheduled for May 16th. Hopefully “somebody” won’t waste everyone’s time with an alternative budget this year.

Click here for Wednesday’s budget agenda and here for Thursday’s.

No Spring Break for You!

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As you’ve probably noticed by now, Spring Break will not be a thing for FCPS students in the 2017-2018 school year. All because of Governor Larry Hogan’s mandate that all public schools start after Labor Day and let out by June 15th. It’s been no secret that your Lady Yokels have not approved of our “small government” governor issuing this type of mandate. Especially without adjusting the  number of days students are required to be in school. Due to this mandate our county’s students will be home for 11 weeks in the summer. If one parent is already home, or if your kid is old enough to stay home alone it may not be a biggie. But imagine the added camp/childcare expenses for those parents with younger kids who both work.As far as we have seen, high school sports and band are still starting on August 9th. Therefore, students who participate in those activities won’t be romping on the shores of Ocean City. And let’s not forget our high school students whom also take classes at FCC. Unless something gets worked out between now and then, they will have to adhere to two different schedules.Questions also remain about what will happen to students who rely on the Extended School Year (ESY). As it stands the students who take part in this program get out in mid June, have two weeks off, go for four weeks, and then have two weeks off before starting the new school year. What is going to happen now? Will there now be a 5 week gap for these students? Will more weeks be added for them? And what of the kids who rely on the school to feed them? So many questions so little answers.

Most of the people we have seen praising this decision have used the old “I started after Labor Day and turned out okay” mantra. We don’t believe that rose colored glasses thinking is reason enough to change policy. What is the real benefit for students? We haven’t seen an answer to that question anywhere.

So if you feel the same way we do, and we know there’s a fair amount of you who don’t but hey we can’t see eye to eye every time, please hop on over and tell the governor your concerns. Respectfully please. As we suspect any angry messages are sent right over to the recycle bin.