LETTER: Calvert County BoE Should Not Retreat from Taxpayers - Southern Maryland Headline News

LETTER: Calvert County BoE Should Not Retreat from Taxpayers


The next time you visit Kings Landing Park you may stumble onto a Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) Board of Education (BOE) meeting. Our elected BOE members along with the Superintendent and his staff decided to go on a retreat for a couple of days in June funded by the taxpayers.
I am not against retreats. Retreats are used in the corporate world to get away from "distractions" in order to better concentrate on things such as developing business strategy, building a team, and setting the corporate vision. After reading the press release our school officials published describing their retreat, it is obvious that they simply do not understand what it means to be an elected body in a representative democracry. By meeting at Kings Landing Park, and not stating where at Kings Landing park they were meeting; not releasing a detailed agenda, this public body is violating our trust and faith; the Law. Restricting public access to a public meeting where the vision of our school system is being established, which is what happened at Kings Landing park, is a meeting the public has a legal right to witness.

Could it be that the distractions this group wants to avoid are the citizens of Calvert County. This group is responsible for stewardship of $225M anual budget. The press release mentions the need for this group to bond and know each other better. Do we want our elected leaders and school officials melding into a single entity? There are bad examples of that model littered in history.

What other topics were discussed in these meetings held around the camp fire at Kings Landing camp site? Bill Chambers mentioned he wants to have the community more involved in the school system. This comment is insulting Mr Chambers. You are holding a public meeting in the WOODS! How can the public be involved? To top it off you were being taught the Open Meetings Act Laws and Regulations by your attorney while you sat there and broke the law discussing the new vision of our school system.

In the BOE minutes Jack Smith decided to classify some of the sessions of the retreat as CLOSED to the public. Dr Smith, this is insulting as well. No one knew where you were at Kings Landing park for your meetings. No one but you knew where you were meeting. Who may show up uninvited…"we the people"? You even discussed the time, date and location of these meetings in your closed sessions back in April. Safe to assume you failed to tack up a sign on a nearby tree stating this meeting is CLOSED to the public which is also mandated by law?

Come on school leaders, we expect more from you. We don't need you to develop team skills to make you all think the same way or become friends. We want representation, town hall meetings, and community involvement.

Do we really need to pay a salary to Bill Phalen to skip rocks with Jack Smith to build a stronger bonds?
Since your retreat cost the tax payers $40,000 in salaries and wages for those two days, as a member of "We the People" I suggest you payback those wages to the teachers you are trying to take raises from.

I have a suggestion for your next retreat location: pick any one of the 10 run down trailers across the street from the BOE. No one will bother you there, we promise!

Our communty deserves better than this!

M. Dolan
Dares Beach, Md.

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