“Getting the school system we pay for”

From the Gazette of July 10, 2013, a letter to the editor by MCTL Board member Gordon Brenne:

We’ve also shown there is no correlation between what teachers are paid and student performance improvements. And, because our teachers are paid 20 percent more than teachers in Howard and Fairfax counties, we can afford fewer of them, increasing our reliance on paraeducators to teach in underperforming schools.

  Read the full story at the Gazette.


Questions sent to Janette Gilman in advance of the meeting of February 28, 2013

Questions sent to Janette Gilman, President, Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations (MCCPTA), in advance of the meeting of February 28, 2013

1.  How does the MCCPTA define “full funding” for MCPS?  What would you consider the “floor” for the MCPS budget?

2.  What is MCCPTA’s role in determining the MCPS budget?  Is there a tripartite budget committee (MCPS – Unions- MCCPTA) that negotiates and approves the budget prior to its release? Have there been any instances where the MCCPTA did not agree with the MCPS and Union proposals or are you in lock step with them?

3. There are no targets in either the MCPS budget or the MCPS strategic plan for reducing the achievement gap?  Does the MCCPTA support an “equity” budget where funding allocations would favor those schools that have disproportionately high African-American, Hispanic and FARMS concentrations with relatively low performance outcomes? How confident is the MCCPTA that the placement of teachers is strategically determined? What is the MCCPTA position on allocating our most highly-paid, senior and most experienced teachers to red zone schools where the achievement gap is most pronounced?

4.  What is the MCCPTA position on sharing administrative services with the Montgomery County Government – services such as procurement, IT, human resources, etc.?  Are you confident that the costs related to these duplicative  administrative entities are justified and are not stealing resources from the classroom?

5.  Montgomery County has acquired a reputation for the quality of its public schools.  What does the MCCPTA consider the top 3 performance indicators for the success of its students?  How do these indicators compare with Howard and Fairfax counties? 



“School board member speaks out about union contracts minutes before vote”

From the Montgomery Gazette of June 14, 2012:

"School board member Laura Berthiaume (Dist. 2) said Thursday that, although she believes school employees should be recognized for their work, the school system should not make promises that it can’t keep….Robert Monsheimer, of the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, told board members Thursday that, while the county might have been able to give the raises this year due to cost savings, the move is equivalent to buying a car because enough money exists for a downpayment but without worrying about payments in the future.

“This has longterm implications that the taxpayers will pay,” he said."

Read the full story at the Montgomery Gazette.

Teachers’ Union Pres. Defends Lobbying

Teachers’ union president defends the union’s lobbying, but did he inadvertently betray his own cause?

When the economy crashed last year and a contract we had bargained in better economic times was no longer feasible, MCEA members voted overwhelmingly to forgo $89 million in pay raises for the current school year. We know that the recession has made it necessary for everyone to make sacrifices.

The coming years won’t be much rosier.

Read the full op-ed at the Washington Post »

Post: “Cash on the barrel”

The Post’s editorial board wants to know whose interests the Council really serves

In effect, local officeholders are so beholden to the union that they have forfeited their obligation to exercise independent oversight over contract negotiations. One result is that the average salary for a Montgomery County teacher, $76,483, is the highest among suburban school systems in the Washington area…But what confidence can the public have that officeholders in Montgomery are carefully weighing competing interests when most of them are held hostage to the overbearing influence of a single union?

Read the full editorial at the Washington Post »

Gazette: “County, labor union at an impasse in contract negotiations”

The Gazette reports on the contract fracas between the county and the MCGEO employee union:

Gino Renne, president of The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization [said] ‘But the county will have to get off their high horse and take a leap of faith with their work force,’

Doug Prouty, president of the Montgomery County Education Association, which represents teachers [said] the teachers’ union is aware of the county’s financial difficulties, but would not rule out seeking pay raises…

‘We do not have resources to pay for additional employee compensation this year,’ [Nancy] Floreen [Montgomery County Council President (D-At large) of Garrett Park] said. ‘I do believe everybody understands that.’

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) also has said it would be difficult to give pay raises to employees…

Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg … criticized by Renne last year — when Andrews served as council president — for saying the county could not afford cost-of-living or step pay increases for employees…said Monday that pay raises remain unaffordable.”

Read the full article at the Gazette »