Thursday, May 10, 2007

Board of Ed Only Pretends to Listen

La Plata, Charles County - 5/9/2007
Reader's letter on the BayNet
By Lisa McConnell

My husband and I were disgusted by the Charles County Board of Education after last Tuesday’s meeting. They could not give one single reason why Hawkins Gate was zoned. Not one. It's not closer, not cheaper, does not feed to Milton Sommers, is not located on a natural boundary, is not even in Waldorf. And the hearings are just a formality.

They don't want to set a precedent of public persuasion. Ms Cook accused us of being snobs about La Plata schools yet employees of Charles County Public Schools send their kids to Matula even though they are not zoned for it. We have heard 90 kids are attending Matula as an "exception". Why? Because CCPS employees can send their kids anywhere in the county. If all Charles County schools are quality schools, then why do they send them to Matula when they work at other elementary schools?

Ms Pedersen has a personal vendetta to make sure that everyone goes through what she went through with redistricting. She made that quite clear.

Ms Wise "claimed" the Matula principal advertised for a representative to serve on the redistricting committee-yet I never heard or saw any such notice. I didn't even know an elementary school was being built until 1-2 weeks before the redistricting plans were complete. My son's teacher lives on our street. CCPS would have had no problem locating a Hawkins Gate parent for the committee.

Except for Jennifer Abell, not one person on that board will get my vote next election. They are elected officials. We elect them to look out for our best interest-not to be afraid to speak their own minds. It seems like they had their minds made up and nothing we said was going to change that.

The Board said "that's the way it has always been in the past". I hate that statement. It is an ignorant statement. That statement is the reason things never change for the better. That statement is an excuse not to work.

Why do we have board members if things should never change? We could save a lot of money and just keep everything the same.

The rest of the Board picks on Jennifer Abell because they are afraid of the change she stands for. They are afraid of her blog, and they should be. Now people know where they stand. The whole redistricting process is flawed and corrupt; and Charles County will suffer because of it. But most importantly, the children will suffer. That makes me mad most of all.

Lisa McConnell
La Plata

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms McConnell is referring to a recent decision by the Charles County Board of Education to include the 24 children living on Hawkins Gate Road, La Plata in the newly formed district for Neal Elementary, currently under construction. The parents of Hawkins Gate requested that their children be allowed to stay at Matula Elementary and provided facts to support their request. They voiced their request through email, public forums, and letters to the BoE. They even picketed the last BoE work session in April.

On Tuesday 8 May 2007, Members Jennifer Abell & Collins Bailey voted to allow Hawkins Gate to remain at Matula Elementary. Members Pam Pedersen, Maura Cook, Charles Carrington, Vice-Chair Bobbi Wise, Chairman Donald Wade and Student Board Member Andrew Van Woerkam all voted against. Hawkins Gate’s request was denied by a vote of 2 to 6 against.

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