Make Our Funds Achieve More!
A Leader with GREAT Character
As a volunteer in the community, and the father of a 5-year-old attending the county's public schools, I have a vested interest here for the long haul.
Great Schools. Great Education. "Where You Live."
We achieve great schools when we meet the needs of the individual students in a school community. Build up Great schools where students live! Instead of moving kids around, meet them where they are with the tools/resources and intervention, they need to be successful. Every child should be able to learn in the community where they live!
ACHIEVEMENT & OPPORTUNITY GAP
I plan to ensure that we address the individual needs of every student without causing inconvenience to the student or their parents. I believe we must provide every child the same opportunity to gain conceptual skills, nourish and advance their potential through academic enrichment (including Music education and the discipline of Athletics). To effectively close the achievement gap we have to solicit teacher input and understand what works for specific learning types. We need to invest in reading specialists, tutoring opportunities and after school programs in technology, music and athletics to work to close the achievement gap. We must also work to implement best practices Hammond High School uses
There are socio-economic and racial opportunity gaps in Howard County. As an advocate, I will hold the county council accountable to the socio-economic needs and racial opportunity gaps of communities to develop practical solutions to improve the quality of life for all residents.
REDISTRICTING and LOCAL SCHOOLS.
Last fall, many of District 2's neighborhoods were unfairly targeted for redistricting away from their neighborhood schools when capacity was not a concern.
We must focus on redistricting for capacity because that is within the purview of the Board of Education. While the county does have socio-economic disparities, the public school system must serve children where they live and is not to be held accountable for the socioeconomic status of the school population, except for the role to meet individual student needs without inconveniences to the student.
We must also approach redistricting with some common sense rules that were unfortunately violated by the current board and proposed by Jen Mallo. We must NEVER redistrict walkers as that is simply fiscally irresponsible especially during these tough times for our budget. We must also never move students from 1 under capacity school to another like done in district 2 between schools such as Ilchester, Waterloo, Phelps Luck, Bellows Springs, Thunder Hill, Talbott Springs and many more. That is a political game and disrespects both students and parents.
There is also extensive evidence to show that minority groups are often steered into lower level courses. As a result, many times even in socioeconomically diverse schools the classrooms are still segregated.
We must focus on tangible solutions to solve this problem like how Hammond High School did. A culture of believing in students and after school tutoring opportunities and summer bridge programs resulted in a large increase in minority participation in advanced courses. This is how we increase achievement and promote diverse classrooms.
I have ten years of experience working in both management and supervisory roles, and I’ve gained the functioning experience required to effectively manage employee relations, evaluate employee performance, ensure productivity, and adhere to an established operating budget. I will also bring my skills of budgeting, procurement and engaging the community on the Village Board to the Board of Education where it is sorely needed to fix our budget and make our funds achieve more. Our school budget must be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb with input from all stakeholders. This can be accomplished by using zero based budgeting to make it easier to find waste. We have to see what is working and what's not helping our children effectively. In this economic climate we have to make our funds achieve more and spend every penny wisely. A penny spent unnecessarily in administration means a penny lost from the classroom.
There is money to do what is needed, and there are unexplored future partnerships to be created to deliver on a commitment to serve our children through excellence in customer service in great schools in their communities.
I believe that special education students are already underserved, and there’s not enough funding allocated to support special education. I first plan to increase community input to provide special education parents and teachers the rightful opportunities to work collaboratively with myself and my colleagues to develop an effective plan to support special educators, students, and families. The special education crisis is an equity issue. Right now our most vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the special education crisis as those that have the funds can often spend the time to fight for their children while our most vulnerable families where parents work multiple jobs may not have that luxury. For this current budget, the county government cut special education funding while increasing the amount of already bloated mid level administration spending from what the BOE proposed. In the past we have cut paraeducators instead of Central office. It is time to reverse that. We must also work to ensure our special education educators have the tools and training they need to be successful.
I am also committed to prioritizing Special Education reforms that ensure productive transitions from high school into the real world.
Title 1 schools require additional support and have intervention needs that may differ from other school communities. When we restructure school attendance areas based on the socio-economic status of the school population, we make it harder to dedicate needed resources to our Title 1 schools directly. This is because our budget is limited and funds wasted on transportation means funds going away from programs that could be used to increase achievement. I will work to ensure every Title 1 school has resource funding to meet individual student needs.
We have to make sure we have enough qualified teachers to educate every child. HCPSS has a diverse student population, and so I would work to encourage a diversity of educator-applicants to match the diversity of our student population. We have to also focus on culturally relevant curriculum with parent, student, and teacher input before implementation.
STUDENT RESOURCE OFFICER'S (SRO)
Student resource officer's play a big part in keeping our schools safe. Many students especially minority students are in shock of the brutal murder of George Floyd and want reassurances that their voices are being heard as we work to increase tolerance and inclusion in our schools. Once schools open up, I would like for there to be an assembly in every school with the SRO(s) so students can hear the guidelines that SRO's have to abide by as well as develop open lines of communications with the school SRO(s). Every child should feel safe and protected in the school building.
I plan to work with Mental Health experts to ensure school counselors receive practical training on how to assess, identify, and approach the root causes of mental health issues. We must ensure counselors have a conceptual understanding of and can make practical recommendations to help students work towards healthy resolves to dealing with root causes.
SCHOOL START TIMES
Research shows that healthy school hours can reduce absenteeism and work to increase achievement for all students. I am committed to gathering community input on this topic and studying fiscally responsible ways to implement healthy school hours. The current times are too early especially for high schoolers.
I believe we need to refine our vocational education program by offering more opportunities at the ARL and collaborating with businesses to promote more internship opportunities to our students.
SCHOOL SAFETY & SECURITY
I believe the security measures we currently have in place have proven to be effective. What I would like to see is that we never let the memorandum of understanding with the police expire. I want to make sure that we request community input (students, parents, teachers, and police) to make any necessary updates to the memorandum of understanding to ensure it is respectful of student privacy and rights I also want to ensure that appropriate personnel receives updated training on current safety and security policies.
Areas of Focus
Prioritize school maintenance and building upgrades to ensure safe and healthy learning environments, including to help alleviate overcrowding. We need to stand up to the county government on their wasteful pet projects such as a $63+ million cultural center and $300+ million courthouse which District 2 did not ask for, and work to fix our schools instead.
Responsible Budgetary Planning to reestablish long-term funding, make the best use of short-term funding, and to establish accountable rainy-day savings by developing a responsible classroom-focused operating budget by working with stakeholders to preserve money for G/T, Technology, Music, and Special Education while greatly reducing central office. The Howard County government has proposed cuts to special education while increasing the already bloated mid level administration spending proposed by the Board of Education. We cannot allow for this to stand.
Overcrowding is an issue we must engage with extreme consideration and community input. To alleviate overcrowding, we have to make sure that no adjustments to school attendance areas ever happens the way it’s happened to polygon 96 where our most vulnerable students were turned from walkers into bus riders. We can look at this situation, in addition to others, as guiding principles in how not to draw the lines. There are certain considerations we should never consider such as moving walkers as that is fiscally responsible. We must also consider increasing school capacity (not overcrowding) where possible to keep communities together. We also need to plan to build schools close to where the population is. I believe High School 13 should have been placed in Troy Hill in Elkridge rather than Mission Road in Jessup or Rockburn Park. Placing High school 13 in Troy Hill would have fixed the capacity issues in Howard HS, Long Reach HS, Mount Hebron HS and Centennial HS.
Skills for Getting it Done
I have proven to be a leader for our children and a voice for the community. As a parent, serving on the community association board of directors, I have the experience necessary for serving on the board of education, listening to resident input, and working collaboratively with others for the greater benefit of the community. I will bring my skills of budgeting, procurement and engaging the community on the Village Board to the Board of Education where it is sorely needed
I know what it takes to find viable solutions, navigate complicated governmental agencies and get things done. I also see the importance of needing to be heard by your representation. My heart for all children will lead me to ensure that decisions require utmost consideration of all community input, fact-based analytical data, and a constant reminder that our children are not pawns in the political system.
Continuing My Commitment
For so long, officials have sought to get between parents and their children. I intend to stand with parents to uphold our values and advocate for the precious treasures of every community: our children. One of my top priorities as your Board of Education representative is to work to meet the unique needs of every school community so that we serve students and foster great schools in the communities where they live. We need a push to drive the success-in-education, community by community. I also plan to call our county officials to action so that we build up communities for children and families.
In District 2, we have a clear choice to make: Me or my two opponents. I'm not running because of convenience. I'm not running because of an opportunity to be elected. I was first to declare because I knew in April 2019 that it was time to start fighting for our children to close the achievement gap so we can revitalize our schools and get an education we can believe in!