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Saturday, January 28, 2006

School board bills, Del. Davis responds

(Posted 28 Jan 2006)
Del. Dereck Davis has responded to my critical comment.

From: Dereck Davis
To: dcrussell@gmail.com, pg-politics@googlegroups.com, pg-politics@yahoogroups.com
Date: Jan 28, 2006 4:50 PM
Subject: RE: Dels. Davis, Griffith, and Healey oppose return to single member school board districts

Good Afternoon All:

Hope everyone is having a great start to the weekend. Over the last year or so, I have thoroughly enjoyed the various discussions that have taken place. Always serious, often informative, and occasionally humorous, this forum has served a useful purpose. From time to time, though, certain liberties are taken with the truth and this appears to be one of those occasions. Thus, let me set the record straight.

First and foremost, Delegate Dereck Davis DOES NOT OPPOSE the return to single member school board districts! Quite candidly, Ms. Russell is making certain assumptions based upon second hand information. If she had bothered to attend the delegation meeting or contacted me directly, I would have explained to her the rationale behind my thinking. Then again, why let truth and understanding get in the way of another opportunity to criticize and condemn? Anyway, here's the TRUTH about my position.

As I said in the previous paragraph, I am not opposed to single member school board districts. While I do have doubts about the effectiveness of them, I did in fact vote for Delegate Parker's bill last year when it was before the delegation. I am surprised Ms. Russell was not aware of this considering how thorough she usually is. Nevertheless, this bill was defeated in the state senate. In talking about the issue with some of my colleagues in the House, there is a consensus that the bill awaits a similar fate again this year. The senate appears to be just as resistant this year as they were last year. My amendment is an attempt to compromise with the senators and give the supporters of this legislation what they so desperately want. The real question is whether the community would rather have an elected hybrid board in 2006 or have nine single member districts in 2008. If the goal is to get an elected board as soon as possible, regardless of the configuration, then we are on track because House Bill 949 (current law) already dictates the hybrid board. If the goal is to get single member districts, then simply sending over the same bill expecting a different result...what's that old saying about the definition of insanity?

My other reason for proposing the amendment is practicality. The appointed board will be selecting the new ceo/superintendent in the near future. Shortly thereafter, there will be a completely new board with no vested interest in this hire. If the relationship works, fine. If it doesn't, this was not their choice. The perfect storm is brewing and a buyout is sure to follow. We have all seen that movie too many times. With a transition period, the new ceo/superintendent will be able to focus exclusively on educating children and navigating the treacherous political landscape in the county. I find it quite funny (actually sad) how so many politicians and activists who have no formal training in education and haven't so much as been a substitute teacher are such experts in the field of education. We always seem to know more than people who have dedicated their professional lives to the subject, but I digress. This amendment will give that arrangement a fighting chance in my opinion.

In closing, I want to reiterate that I am supporting PG 401-06 no matter the outcome of my amendment. If my colleagues in the House of Delegates just want to make a point to the Senate of Maryland, I'll make it with them.

Dereck E. Davis
25th District

(Ms. Russell, we'll discuss some other time whether or not the board has been the failure you seem so intent to label it.)

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