For a Maintenance of Effort vote taking place last Tuesday, May 9th 2023, I am having an extremely hard time understanding why it took the executive team 6 days to have a meeting on the Budget. They didn’t call an “Emergency Executive Meeting” until Monday, May 15th. If the budget is of such high importance to the Superintendent and Executive team, why was a meeting on the budget not called the very next day?
That’s a situation you move schedules for. That’s a situation you come in early or stay late for to determine next steps. Instead, the leaders of Worcester County Public Schools decided to go the route of blaming the Commissioners for all of their hardships, not taking blame for ANY issues that continue to arise: Lack of Transparency and Communication.
As a Board member, I have certain expectations. In order to do my due diligence for the citizens I represent, I am tasked to review and understand the agenda set forth for board meetings. I CAN NOT do this task when I am given pertinent information less than an hour before Open Session starts! In my few short months of being sworn in to serve District 6, this is not the first time this has happened. I am struggling with the notion that this is not by happen stance.
Could the Board President and Superintendent who oversee setting the agenda have miscommunication? Maybe.
Could the Executive Staff, whom are all making six figure salaries, have dropped the ball on uploading the agenda? Maybe.
Could the last minute information being presented at the 11th hour be on purpose? Maybe.
No matter what the excuse is for providing last minute, IMPORTANT documentation for review, it’s not acceptable.
In the name of Transparency:
Tuesday, May 9th: Commissioners voted for Board of Education- Maintenance of Effort
Thursday, May 11th: I was told the Superintendent would be reaching out to set up meetings to talk to board members about the Budget
Friday, May 12th: I received an email stating the budget meetings would no longer be needed. We would all speak at the Board meeting the following Tuesday.
Saturday, May 13th: Agenda received in the morning (Typically is received Friday afternoon). Budget discussion was not on agenda.
Monday, May 15th: Phone call made to Dr. Wallace for her to inform me that an “Emergency Executive Meeting” occurred that morning and they decided to add a Budget Discussion to the agenda. I was informed slides were being made and I would receive them when they were completed.
Tuesday, May 16th: Received slides between 11:30am-12:00pm. Board meeting started at 12:30pm
Like they always say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I will have public comments to say the next time I receive last minute, significant information that is crucial to review ahead of time. The taxpayers deserve to have board members prepared to represent them.
Katie Addis, Board of Education District 6
Worcester County, MD