3 Minutes May 11, 2018

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.

Chairman Gilliss, Vice Chair Stewart, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

Two months ago, in my remarks to the Board I likened the state of BCPS to that of a boat trying to survive in a perfect storm. Two of the factors I mentioned to creating this situation were:

  • Collateral damage because of political gamesmanship in an election year
  • Clear ongoing divisiveness of the members on this Board

I suggested that the various stakeholders in Baltimore County were looking for leadership from this body. Since then, to your credit, after hours of public debate bordering on filibuster, the Board voted 8–4 to offer Ms. White the permanent superintendent position.

However due to continued political gamesmanship, and the divisiveness of several Board members who did not get their way in an overwhelming 2–1 vote, that contract was not approved in an unprecedented move by the State Superintendent. This was in partial part because of a social media campaign by Board members in a move that is extremely disappointing and smacks of partisan politics. As author John C. Danforth said: “The loudest voices we hear are those who advocate conflict and divisiveness.”

I believe we need to change that narrative. As the Executive Director of the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees which has gone on record as supporting Ms. White as the permanent superintendent at a 90% margin, I am asking this Board to appeal to the State Superintendent regarding her  decision. I would further request that you not ask for the decision to be reevaluated, but rather reversed.

I know that any appeal from this Board will require a motion and second thus opening the way for discussion before a vote is taken. I would ask that the members of the Board limit the discussion in consideration of the members of the community and hard working BCPS employees here tonight. First, there is really nothing new to discuss, and second, hours of bickering will not change the final vote, which will be 8–4.

This Board has 7 more months to serve the students, parents, staff and public. Isn’t it a shame that I feel comfortable predicting Board votes?

Casey Stengel said: “Getting’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ‘em to play together is the hard part.”

You are the leadership for Team BCPS.  You are all good players. We need you to play together.

Thank you,

Tom DeHart
CASE Executive Director