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.
Good evening Chairman Gilliss, Vice Chair Stewart, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.
I want to share my remarks made to the Maryland State Board of Education this morning.
I am Tom DeHart, Executive Director of the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees of the Baltimore County Public Schools. Seated with me are Cheryl Brooks, President of the Association of Elementary School Administrators, and Erin O’Toole-Trivas, President of the Secondary Schools Administrators Association.
Additionally, we have over 40 principals and various other leaders in the Baltimore County Public school system here with us today to show in human form, the level of support we have for Verletta White as the permanent superintendent of BCPS.
Further, in a survey of all principals, assistant principals, supervisors, coordinators, and PPWs, with a 76% reply rate, the leaders in our system support Ms. White at a 9 to 1 margin as the permanent superintendent.
Our Board of Education voted 8–4, to offer Ms. White the Superintendent position. Those 8 Board members represent 2/3 of the entire district. Despite this overwhelming level of support for Ms. White, this state superintendent chose to override the local community’s wishes in an unprecedented “big brother knows best” mentality. 3 minutes does not allow me to debunk the two sticking points cited for this denial.
This action occurred in part because of a social media campaign conducted by BCPS Board members who were unhappy with the vote. What a shame. Last week the Cecil County Board voted 3–2 to hire a new superintendent. The two dissenting members said they would support the majority choice because after all it is about the students. How refreshing!
I believe all citizens in the State of Maryland should be extremely concerned with this historic overreach by this state superintendent with the approval of this Board. No less than 4 Maryland districts are currently searching for and will hire superintendents. Will they pass muster? Will this be the beginning of the end of local autonomy for districts to choose the superintendent that best meets the criteria that they have determined as local residents? Disturbingly, there is now precedence for such action. Maryland is the only state that requires a state superintendent approval of a local LEA superintendent.
These three BCPS leadership organizations ask that Dr. Salmon reverse her decision to disallow Ms. White’s contract in the wake of the overwhelming support from the entire Baltimore County community, and just as importantly, her unparalleled experience and qualifications for the job. Let’s not let politics override the will of the people because after all it is about the students.