What a glorious public hearing!!

1nv1bi
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.”

69b086bc387aa2b8dfb4193813d875ec19949a6e375004d4c89fcb738248f18a

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.

Release the hounds: It’s budget time in Frederick!

This evening marks the beginning of budget time in our fair county. At 7:00 the council will hold a hearing on the Board of Education’s operating budget. Do we see dead horse memes in our future? No doubt. Let’s just hope we can have a productive evening without having to yell this at our favorite undynamic duo:

giphy (3)

Frederick County Government *reality* TV has a missing episode

What has happened? We looked into our crystal ball and told you that Council Member Comments is where it hits the fan. And so it seems. If you know more, do tell!

Who do you think could be the antagonist in this episode? Is it Puck? Why do we have to live with Puck. Puck sucks.
Who do you think could be the antagonist in this episode? Is it Puck? Why do we have to live with Puck. Puck sucks.

In other must-see TV news, the Young family (who, if you’re new here, straddles both sides of the political aisle–can you imagine Thanksgiving?) is having a nuclear Family Feud on Facebook. These people are awesome. Our own version of The Young and the Restless. The drama is Aaron Spelling worthy, and you will never in a million years guess why this mushroom cloud has been cast over the community…

It seems that State Senator Michael Hough is in a huff because Delegate Karen Young introduced some legislation without his blessing. Allowing the student representative on the BOE to occasionally (seemingly almost never meet all the conditions required for it to actually occur) vote on BOE decisions. Oh la la. You’d think she tried to read a letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Right about now, being the analogue to Mitch McConnell in a story is just about the worst conceivable place to find yourself. These control freaks who insist on shutting out whatever they find disagreeable must be very fearful that their points of view can’t stand up on their own merits. Who’s the snowflake here? Such projection.

If you aren’t following this on Facebook, there is absolutely no way the Frederick News Post is doing the Hatfields versus the Hatfields scene adequate justice. We’re here to tell you, local politics is where it’s at.

Joint BOE/Council happy fun time meeting!

9300131a44a9f28308c86ec29692a882

Yesterday, the BOE and county council met for one of their joint sessions. It went very well! Wildly speculating that perhaps Kirby’s absence (where is that guy anyway?) perhaps freed people from having to talk about harebrained rent-to-own schemes. But who knows for sure?! Here’s some highlights:

  • Meeting agenda and minutes passed with NO issues. Take note Shrealuter!
  • Superintendent Alban spoke of two major factors that influenced the next year’s proposed budget:
    • Additional enrollment: 1,000 projected students and the positions needed to to face this growth.
    • The second year implementation to make the salary scales, not only for teachers but also for support staff and administration, more competitive. You know, so all of our good teachers and staff don’t run off to Montgomery County.
  • Other factors that have influenced this year’s budget are the legislative mandates to fund Epi-Pens and to translate IEP’s for students. This only has to be done for languages that are spoken by 1% of the population. In Frederick, only Spanish fulfills that requirement.
  • Frederick High is on track to open this Fall. So far, $3 million in savings has been found. Governor is also putting aside $339,000 for the LYNX program.
  • Butterfly Ridge Elementary-redistricting plans have been started and is expected to be contentious. Bids have been  received and will be processed soon.
  • Sugarloaf Elementary-Bids are being processed.
  • Urbana Elementary-Students will be moved to Sugarloaf when completed. Urbana will then be renovated or rebuilt, depending on costs.
  • Rock Creek-Must find a campus since they need to be near the general school population.
  • Waverly-future dependent upon what happens with the new redistricting and Rock Creek.
  • RFI (Request for Information) was sent out to the community for the old Lincoln School building.
  • No public or board or council member comments.

FCPS breach is serious business people.

download-10

On December 13, The Frederick Extra broke the story about a data breach at FCPS that left  1,000 former students’ identities compromised. Since then, the Extra has written two additional stories that you can read here and here. FCPS has responded by offering those affected a one year subscription to an identity protection service. You can read the official statement from FCPS here and watch the video from BOE President Young and Superintendent Alban here.

It’s disheartening that we now live in a world in which we have to be super vigilant with our data. At this moment, one of Your Lady Yokels currently has a LifeLock subscription due to Target’s data breach. What is also disheartening is when people with a clear vendetta against the school system, the BOE and the superintendent use this as yet another opportunity to go on one of their numerous FCPS witch hunts. How is this at all helpful people? Especially when this data breach occurred before many of the people who are being vilified even worked for FCPS.  Calling for people’s resignations is at the least premature and at most wildy irresponsible. Let the information roll in before passing judgment! When you are so reactionary it only serves to reveal your own prejudices and motives. Honestly folks, even our own King of Overreactions is looking at the facts:

2016-12-20-11

That is not to say that if your data was stolen that you shouldn’t be angry and want to get to the bottom of what happened.  And lets let the Frederick Extra, The Frederick News Post and FCPS do just that. If you do feel your data was compromised please email or call the school system at: infosec@fcps.org or 301-644-5332. Steer away from the random people on Facebook who some how got a hold of this list.

Proposed school calendars and joint BOE meetings! Too much fun for one post?

So fun!
So fun!

First off, FCPS has put out two proposed 2017-2018 calendars for public comment. One has a before Labor Day start and one after. The calendar with the post Labor Day start has done away with Spring Break. That caused your Lady Yokels to gasp! Follow this link and then make sure you comment. This is local government y’all, your voice counts!

Yesterday we made you aware that the Board of Education and county council was meeting. The FNP covered it pretty well so we won’t repeat their points. We do, however, have a few comments of our own.

First off: Where’s Kirby? The school construction presentation would have presented him with the perfect chance to grandstand about his now defunct buy back lease idea. He usually doesn’t pass up a chance to beat that dead horse.( Or any dead horse for that matter.)

Secondly, will someone please, please tell Billy to dress appropriately and pay ATTENTION during these meetings?!

Just look to your left Billy if you can't figure it out. And get your phone out of your lap!!!
Just look to your left Billy if you can’t figure it out. And get your phone out of your lap!!!

Thirdly, congratulations on your retirement Mr. Ray Barnes. We will miss your presentations and  your insight into school  construction. Thank you for your 35 years of service!

And finally, Jessica most graciously solved one ,out of the many ,former BOE candidate’s witch hunts. She returned to work yesterday. Not that was anyone’s, including our, business!  Good luck Ms. Fitzwater! As mommies we know how challenging the transition can be!

 

Who had a little too much Halloween punch last night?

Hello faithful readers, we hope you had a very Happy Halloween. In this last week leading up to the election, we thought y’all could use some comic relief. An alert Facebook reader sent this down the ole Yokel line today:

2016-11-01

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-02-01-pm
Either can we! The tears won’t stop coming down!

Can you imagine if he were our County Executive! We know, Halloween is over and we shouldn’t be scaring you any longer. I think we are oh so glad and relieved that we managed to sidestep having our very own John Leopold in Frederick. We’ve also been made aware that some of the more…how shall we say…”sophisticated” among us have advocated writing Blaine’s name in for the BOE race. Because sure! What better role model for our kids and school system than that guy! How many sex scandals until you are ineligible for the school board? We forget.

Who could be better? Oh yeah! These three:

3 and done!
3 and done!

Who is in need of a history lesson today?

After reading the title we are sure you have at least two possibilities in mind! Billy got a lot of attention last week and apparently #kirbydelauter is jealous. So, in an effort to make sure both halves of Shrelauter get enough attention we bring you this:

2016-10-28-1

Now, is he  being ironic or has there been a change of heart? Because if he read the entire paragraph he would have noticed that 50 years ago (you know the good ol’ days) our local officials were in favor of funding teacher salaries and backed plans for home rule!! Two issues that Kirby has been  on the other side of! So when will we fix it ole #? When you and your little comrade and others like you stop being so terrible!! That’s when!

We wish that was all we had to share, but it isn’t. In the comments our most honorable District 5 representative was NOT done:

2016-10-28-2
Grrr. This makes your Lady Yokels want to break all the things!

 

Not quite Kirby...no quite.
Not quite Kirby…not quite.

So readers, any guesses why we don’t have a League of Male Voters? Maybe, just maybe, it has something do with the fact that every single white male has had the right to vote since 1856. That’s right people, in 1856 North Carolina was the last State to remove property qualifications  as a prerequisite to vote. Therefore, since before the Civil War there have not been any barriers for a white male to vote in this country.  NONE.  Women and minorities, however,  were imprisoned, killed, threatened and intimidated in an attempt to keep them from the ballot box well into the 20th century. In case this is new to you Councilman Delauter , you can listen to this song that will give you a nice little introduction to what women went through in order to secure our right to be a citizen of this great country.

Watch it!
Watch it!

So when we see someone joking about there needing to be a League of Male Voters it makes us a little cray cray. The League of Women Voters was established to get women the vote and then continued on as an organization to help women advocate for policy issues. They are non partisan, and if you have ever seen their members at our local council members you know how articulate these ladies are. Stating that there needs to be a League of Male Voters is akin to  advocating for a White Men’s History Month. Every month, until we gals and minority groups decided not to stand for it anymore, was White Men’s History Month! And you would be hard pressed to convince anyone that white men’s contributions don’t figure largely in today’s history curriculum.

Tired of saying this…Kirby stop being awful on Facebook. And everywhere else for that matter! We sure hope he isn’t on the side of some Trump voters who want to repeal the 19th amendment.

PSA- Don’t forget early voting started yesterday. If you aren’t registered to vote you can still register during the early voting period. Make sure you get out and act like the good American citizen we know  you are!

King of the Deplorables: who else makes pro human trafficking claims?

The Frederick County Council workshop on human trafficking really left an impression on the Local Yokel writers’ fret-o-meter. Because of our former BOCC president’s legal issues, we have focused on the sex trafficking aspect of this multifaceted modern day enslavement, while in reality law enforcement has identified issues with labor trafficking as well. At any rate, when we learned that Frederick Community College would be hosting a sex trafficking victim, we wanted to go hear this woman speak.

It was a lot to process. We have a few takeaways to share. People who fall into this are vulnerable in some way from the outset. Their vulnerabilities make them ideal victims. This woman was a 12 year old runaway from Fairfax County. She was having behavior problems, and no one in the community or school system correctly identified the source of the problem as the abuse she was suffering at the hands of a family member. This was one aspect the county cited as a reason the workshop topic was necessary. So that educators in our county receive the appropriate training to stop this in its tracks. And some people made a bunch of noise trying to say this training was some kind of perk for the teachers (this thinking is literally impossible to understand, but it bears repeating because our least favorite school board candidate, Cindy Rose, was a part of that).

Another aspect of the issue involves law enforcement. This young girl was sent to Riker’s at the age of sixteen because she had been abused into submission and would never give her real name, age, or circumstances to authorities. Later in life–it’s truly a miracle she is alive–after escaping this hell, she lost her job due to an extensive arrest record tied to the one set of fingerprints common to all these assumed names. Another part of the county workshop highlighted the need to train law enforcement to ask the right questions and find the right resources. Immediately. This would ensure that victims are not victimized further by a dysfunctional justice system, or the social system as a whole.

And a moment to discuss what an amazing human being we saw speak. Her name is Barbara Amaya. She said someone told her the average life expectancy of someone taken into sex trafficking is seven years. Not only did she return from ten years living this nightmare with just a sixth grade education and somehow cobble together as normal a life as possible–as a parent, a functional member of society, and now someone who writes books, mentors people, speaks in public (in spite of obvious reservations about taking on that role). She is also working with our House and Senate to pass legislation for Safe Harbor and to get the records of sex trafficking victims expunged. Amazing. What a gift she has given to this world out of some truly horrible circumstances.

One thing she was quick to point out is that there is no such thing as child prostitution. If you are having sex with a minor, the only word for that is rape. She was raped dozens of times a day. Let’s take that a step farther, though. If you are having sex with a person of any age, whether you bought the services or not, and someone else is brutalizing that person so that he or she will engage in your commercial exchange of funds for services, what exactly are you doing? Making love? And legalizing prostitution only helps the “customer” avoid punishment for his involvement in this. It incentivizes sex traffickers to find more victims. There really aren’t two sides to this issue. You’re either deplorable or you aren’t. More about that in a second.

It’s been a bee in our bonnet ever since Billy Shreve objected to the need for a human trafficking workshop by running his mouth off without thinking (shocker) and saying that there are groups both for and against this. We know he has a friend who has a history of poor decision making with regard to his sex life. (A friend we feel zero sympathy for when he takes to Facebook to criticize everyone for not being more understanding of his troubles and demons.) Shut up. We don’t know if you know what deplorable means, and we’re pretty sure you think you are using this stupid sign ironically. Even if you don’t know what ironic means–and apparently you don’t, because it sure seems to be totally absent any irony to this clique of writers.

King of the Deplorables
King of the Deplorables