I was asked a number of questions by the Harford County Education Association:
Here are my responses:
Harford County Education Association
2018 County Council
CANDIDATE: Frank “Bud” Hines
OFFICE SOUGHT: President of the Harford County Council
CAMPAIGN ADDRESS: 1308 Terry Way Fallston, MD 20147
PHONE NUMBER(S): 443.826.6267
I confirm that the responses provided here are my official positions in seeking local office and I understand that HCEA reserves the right to share my responses with members and interested parties.
CANDIDATE SIGNATURE: Frank “Bud” Hines DATE SUBMITTED: 04/10/2018
Candidates: In order to be considered for a recommendation, you must indicate your response to each of the questions. Clarifications, explanations, and other information may be attached, but please be certain to indicate clearly the questions(s) to which you refer. Please return your completed and signed questionnaire to:
2107 Laurel Bush Rd.
Bel Air, MD 27075
• In 2002, lawmakers passed the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act (also known as the Thornton Plan) based on the recommendations of the Thornton Commission. While this increased investment has helped Maryland’s public schools and students achieve outstanding results and develop a reputation as a national leader, many unmet needs remain.
The cost of educating students continues to increase. Over the last 10 years, Maryland has seen an increase in our Title I student population of 129% and limited English proficiency students of 88%. With year-to-year increases in special education needs, it is clear that the changing student population is a significant driver of costs.
Maryland had the best schools in the nation for five years in a row from 2009 to 2013, according to Education Week. In 201 6, Ed Week ranked Maryland fifth in the nation. Maryland now ranks 2nd in AP performance (201 7)—after leading the nation for ten consecutive years—with 30.4 percent of Maryland graduates scoring a 3 or better on AP assessments. And Maryland’s graduation rate is at 87 percent—the highest ever in the state and 3.8 percent higher than the national graduation rate.
There is a critical need for improvement in closing education gaps, expanding programs and services, community schools, and improving student achievement.
The governor will have a significant impact on the future funding and Success of Maryland schools. Maryland’s median incomes are the highest in the nation, but school spending is the 1 0th highest among the states and 1 6th highest when adjusted for regional cost differences.
According to consultants hired by MSDE, Maryland schools are now underfunded by nearly $3 billion annually. That means each of our schools, on average, is underfunded by more than $2 million every year.
MSEA supports legislation to update our school funding formula and policies to ensure adequate and equitable state and local education funding. Our priorities include elevating the respect and support for Maryland’s educators with higher salaries and greater career opportunities and addressing Maryland’s economic inequality in our schools with programs to target concentrated poverty.
- Please provide your general and specific thoughts on how the county can address the unmet needs facing our schools. Detail how you would prioritize aid for education in your budget deliberations.
- There is considerable room for improvement in addressing educator recruitment and retention. Across the state, educator salaries have been relatively flat for the last eight years. Pension benefits have been reduced but employee contributions have increased. Class sizes have increased because of cost-cutting measures and/or due to hiring freezes, layoffs, and retirements. Support personnel positions have been eliminated. How will you address critical concerns with educator recruitment and retention?
I will support any initiative to increase the salaries of and the resources for our teachers and our schools.
I think that educating all of our students is critical to the success of this county, our state and our country. I recommend a renewed focus on technical schools and would strive to make community college and technical schools free.
I would suggest that community college students getting a free ride would pay back the county by providing free or low cost assistance to kindergartens through high school as teacher helpers, substitute teachers, tutors, coaches, etc.
I believe we can address the unmet needs facing our schools by supporting the legalization of marijuana and using the proceeds from the sales tax to go directly to our school system.
In addition, I believe our gaming systems should be contributing more to our school systems and that the governors office is looking into this.
- Do you support or oppose Maryland’s maintenance of effort law that requires local jurisdictions to fund at least the same per pupil allocation in local aid for education as the prior year unless a waiver is granted?
I believe this law is a good law as it prevents wild variations in funding.
Public Funding for Private Schools
HCEA believes any education dollars spent outside of improving public schools makes it harder to make the progress necessary to provide a world-class education for every student.
The Maryland State Department of Education requires a certificate of approval or registration for private schools; it does not accredit or license them. Private schools do not have to report or administer teacher qualifications, class sizes, adherence to College and Career State Standards, student retention rates, graduation rates, demographics, or discipline or suspension policies. Without these measures, it is impossible to ascertain the standards to evaluate any of the funded programs funneling public tax dollars to private schools.
• Carroll County Commissioners created a $400,000 “Educational Opportunities Fund” to enhance and enrich the educational opportunities for home- and private-schooled students. HCEA is opposed to this type of diversion of public funding with no accountability.
- Do you support or oppose allocating public funding to home and privately schooled students?
I believe that if children with special needs can not be accomated by the school system, then funds should be provided to assist with their education.
I do not believe in providing funding for private and charters schools.
There is already too much competition for funds now.
HCEA supports efforts to protect and enhance the collective bargaining rights.
Collective bargaining is the negotiation of a contract — including wages, salary scale, benefits, and working conditions — between employers and employees. The items agreed to in a ratified collective bargaining agreement apply to all employees in a bargaining unit, providing a benefit to employees and employers in not having to negotiate thousands of individual contracts.
- Do you support or oppose public education employees’ rights to bargain collectively?
I support the right of teachers to bargain collectively.
This is the only way they can use their collective voice and fight for what they desperately need – better pay, secure pensions, greater resources and strong support from the educational system and the community.
Parental Involvement and Public Support
It is calculated that school age children spend 70% of their waking hours (including weekends and holidays) outside of school.
Research shows that the most consistent predictors of children’s academic achievement and social adjustment are parental involvement in schools and parental expectations of the child’s academic attainment and satisfaction with their child’s education at school.
Additionally, research indicates there are three major factors that influence parental involvement in schools:
Parents’ belief that they can impact what is important, necessary on behalf of their children school;
The extent to which parents believe that they can have a positive influence on their children’s education; and o Parents’ perceptions that their children and school want them to be involved.
- What would you do to increase parental involvement and public support for our public schools and educators?
I think we should tell students that they will exceed their parents. We should have sessions where they visualize and dream of their futures.
I would also recommend meditation classes to assist students in maintaining their focus.
I would hold competitive rallies between communities where they compete based upon school involvement, teacher support, etc.
I would love to see the introduction of a chess programs in some of our underserved schools similar to what was done in Missippi.
We need to identify innovative ways to suggest that community college students getting a free ride would pay back the county by providing free or low cost assistance to kindergartens through high school as teacher helpers, substitute teachers, coaches and as tutors.
Poverty dramatically and negatively affects the wellbeing of children, particularly in the areas of physical health, mental health, safe housing, access to technology, parental support, family planning services and education, youth employment, and nutrition. Each of these factors play a large role in whether students can learn and do well in school—making it imperative that these opportunity gaps be closed if we want to provide equitable education in our communities. According to the data collected by MSDE, 44% of Maryland public school students were enrolled for free and reduced-price meals this school year (at or below 185% of poverty).
HCEA supports the establishment of community schools, where applicable, which are designed to close these opportunity gaps by making the school a hub for essential services that students in disadvantaged communities lack.
Community schools generally have the following four components: (1 ) they serve a high concentration of students in poverty; (2) they employ a full-time coordinator to lead community school-related services; (3) they conduct a needs assessment to identify key obstacles to learning and the services needed to close the opportunity gaps; and (4) they work with community partners to bring those needed services into the school building or nearby locations to make them accessible to students and community members.
HCEA supports equitable and adequate resources to provide every student with an opportunity to learn in a safe and non-disruptive environment. Establishing and funding community schools is a research-based strategy for closing opportunity gaps and building strong communities.
- Do you support or oppose local efforts to create and support community schools in areas of concentrated poverty?
Yes. Children can not focus on learning if they are hungry. Programs such as this will show the children that the community cares which in turn will help break the school to prison pipeline.
I support anything we can do to support our children in need and helping them focus on getting a good education so the doors of opportunity will be open to them.
HCEA opposes any effort to outsource or privatize education jobs that are part of a bargaining unit. We maintain that any attempt to outsource or privatize jobs of public educators violates collective bargaining agreements because such an effort is terminating or firing bargaining unit positions.
Outsourcing and privatization efforts have threatened teacher and education support professional (ESP) jobs for years. Just in the last three years, Anne Arundel County has attempted to outsource teaching services for deaf and blind students, Talbot County has discussed privatizing transportation services, and Kent County has attempted to privatize custodial services. There currently is a multi-county effort on the Eastern Shore to outsource the hiring of occupational therapists and physical therapists to work in the schools.
When jobs are outsourced, quality control is diminished, and safety is compromised. Public employees are subject to background checks that private employers often skip. After privatizing, local school boards lose control over the individuals working in schools and have little ability to provide input on job performance.
Privateers often use an argument of cost-savings as a means of winning contracts. The amount is often misleading because they low-ball the first-year operating costs. Ultimately, they reduce hours, health care coverage, or just cut jobs. All these steps lead to increased local unemployment and less overall money in the community.
- Are you in favor of contracting out custodial, cafeteria, and maintenance services rather than have those services provided by Board of Education employees?
Contracting this work out results in having to either pay more for the services or receiving substandard services.
Only by running these programs ourselves can we maintain the greatest control.
In addition, the constant and consistent presence of these workers in our childrens lives provides a stronger sense of community and belonging. We all remember a kind word from a custodian or cafeteria worker who we came to know and expected to see on a regular basis.
- What are the top three things you would like to accomplish in the next four years if you are elected to the Harford County Council?
- Assist the county executive and governor in finding new sources of funding (like the legalization of marijuana) that could fund our schools.
- Minimize the transfer of monies out of the school budget that could go to teachers salaries and benefits and instead goes to technology or other uses.
- Suggest a cross county fund raising campaign to help raise money for our schools by establishing quarterly music/art/educational fests. Each quarter the fest would be held in a different part of the county (north, south, east and west. The fests would be used to help showcase art, music, science, programming and other talent. We would host cooking competitions and hold raffles to assist us in funding our schools. These fests start out small and grow quite large over the years.
- What is your view of the current local tax structure? What, if any, changes would you advocate?
Harford County has a reasonable tax rate.
I think that our citizens may be open to paying more in taxes specifically to fund our schools, i.e. a school tax.
I would be open to proposing legislation to increase the taxes we pay to better fund our schools. Let’s try it and let’s give it a go.
I also think that the greatest potential increase to school funding would be from alternate sources like the adquate acquisition of funds from gaming that for some reason have not materialized and the legalization of marijuana.