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As Long as We Remember...

February 13, 2017

How to Get a Big Raise from Taxpayers

Cindy A. Rose

Last month I questioned whether or not we were losing “free” public education. I pointed out how Frederick County Public School (FCPS) children were being asked, more and more, to fund participation in their own learning.


This month I would like to call attention to the ever growing budget and the increase in salary and wages.


As some of you are becoming aware, your child is spending less and less time with an actual “human” teacher. Last semester my daughter spent 25% of her time interacting with her Language Arts teacher and 75% of her time on a Chromebook. Those percentages were supplied by her teacher. I didn’t pull them out of thin air.


FCPS goal is to have 80% of the students supplied with 1:1 Chromebooks by 2020. I’m trying to find out now what the current percentage is. However, for purposes of this column, it isn’t necessary to know.


My question is: If teachers are spending 75% less time with students teaching them, why is our superintendent asking to increase the wages?


Some have argued that the reason is because they still have to perform administrative duties. Haven’t they always had to do that? Isn’t the increase in technology decreasing the time necessary? If technology isn’t making it faster and easier for the teacher, how can we say it is making it faster and easier for the student?


My readers know me. I’m not one to shy away from making an awkward point. If Superintendent Theresa Alban can get a 3 or 4% increase for FCPS staff, guess what happens? She gets a 3 or 4% increase in her wages as well. That’s a $6,000-$9,000 annual raise for her.


That’s a mighty nice contract clause if I do say so myself. I mean, who wouldn’t work their butt off to get a raise wherein all you have to do is get everyone around you a raise. She doesn’t have to curb spending, increase graduation rates, or address that ever stressed over “achievement gap.” Nope, her raise is contingent on increasing wages for FCPS employees. Where do we sign up for that?


Who wrote that contract clause? Better yet, who approved that contract? If memory serves, it was unanimously approved by the Board of Education in 2015.


In case you are wondering what other financial nuggets are in the superintendent’s contract, well for 2016-17 school year she will receive another $30,000 (utilized by her as a tax sheltered annuity plan); and it will increase by $5,000 per year until the end of her contract in 2019. The entirety of her contract, plus addendum, is uploaded on the Facebook page: Frederick County Maryland Education.


What have we gotten for that kind of money? A superintendent who doesn’t lobby “for” us. As a matter of fact, she has said on the record, if you don’t like teaching to the test, “we” should lobby your legislators in Annapolis. Which is funny because she has lobbied them, just not on “our” behalf. She has held more meetings with the Chamber of Commerce than with parents, the list goes on.


I save the best for last. She created a LYNX school that will cost Frederick County millions in funding we don’t have. And, she did it without the knowledge or permission of the Board of Education, the County Council and most importantly the parents and taxpayers of Frederick County.


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