Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Delay sought in school takeover

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, March 31, 2006

Delay sought in school takeover

I guess I should not have been surprised by this, but I was.

This article is a real tear jerker. My heart goes out to Senator McFadden for working so hard to prevent the State Board of Education from taking over 11 troubled schools. He is just asking for more time. Just one more year. However, the article also says he wants legislative approval before the State Board of Education can take over any school.

Sen. Patrick J. Hogan, a Montgomery County Democrat said, "…I also don't like the way the State Department of Education went about this." although part of him agrees with the State Board of Education.

Do you think people are happy with the City School system went about running these schools?

A political cheap shot

Mayor Martin O'Malley, who has been working to garner support in Annapolis to thwart the state's plan, said yesterday that Baltimore would pursue "every legal and legislative avenue available to us to combat this political election-year cheap shot."

"Those whose primary motivation is holding onto power find it very disturbing that our school system is making progress for the first time in 30 years," he said. "We will put this down."

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Democrat, called the battle between the state and the city "raw politics at its very worst," a move designed purely to tarnish O'Malley's campaign. He pointed to Grasmick's close ties to Ehrlich and how she was once on the Republican's short list for running mate.

Partnership

McFadden acknowledged that the city school system's problems are overwhelming. Fixing them, he said, will take a real partnership with the state – not the current adversarial situation.

"There's enough blame to go around. There's children out there that need our help," he told the budget committee, his voice rising. "Let's vet this out and let's work together."

History

Remember in 2004 when the City School system had a funding crisis. This was two years ago. Here is what O'Malley said then:

On Jan. 15 O'Malley said "we need to get our own house in order" before asking for emergency state assistance. Less than one month later O'Malley did a 180. "I would hope the governor might step up," O'Malley said. "I'm somewhat exasperated."

When the Governor did step up O'Malley said no thanks and tapped the City's rainy day fund.

In 1997 Gov. Glendenning and Mayor Schmoke agreed to a joint City/State partnership to run the schools that left the City School System in limbo and created a financial mess in 2004 that created a lot of finger pointing. Who was in charge of the Schools after 1997. Everyone called it a failed partnership in 2004 and O'Malley blasted Ehrlich for not being a true partner and doing his part – despite record amounts of money the State poured into the schools. Of course O'Malley said it wasn't his fault.

February 2000: Maryland takes over over three failing city elementary schools–Gilmor, Montebello and Furman L. Templeton, later turning management over to the private Edison Schools Inc. "The 1,500 children at these three schools are not having an opportunity to be competitive," Grasmick says

Anyone know how these schools are performing?

What is going on here? What is more important? Pulling these schools up out of the dregs and helping these kids, or protecting someone's political backside?

So here we are almost 10 years after the "partnership" was established. Two years after the State was accused of ignoring the problem. When is enough enough?

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