Meetings in Annapolis re: Magnet School Legislation
Dear CVE Families,
As you know, we continue our efforts to maintain magnet school status for our school. In 2014-15, CVE received approximately $40,000 in funding for our magnet program. This amount fluctuates year to year based on enrollment. If we lose our status as a magnet school, we lose that funding. If funding is removed, we may lose teachers and other valuable resources.
In mid-January, Senator Brochin announced that he wants delegation oversight of any plans by school officials to change the status of magnet schools. We received the following email below from Marc Lazerow, the Legislative Aide to Senator Jim Brochin.
“We have a hearing date for the magnet school legislation on 2/4 (short notice, I know). It’s SB 27(http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&tab=subject3&id=sb0027&stab=01&ys=2015RS). The bill would require an approval from the majority of Baltimore County Senators and Delegates should the Superintendent want to make changes to magnet status of a school.
We’re looking to get letters of support for the hearing and people to come down to Annapolis for a 1pm hearing on February 4th. We’re going to have a delegation hearing in Baltimore County, but I don’t know when yet. I can work with the group on language in testimony so we’re all using the same talking points.”
There is also a Delegation Hearing for this bill on Thursday, February 5th at 5:00PM. This meeting will be held in the James Senate Office Building, Robert Neall Conference Room, 11 Bladen Street, 2nd Floor in Annapolis. From what we understand this meeting on the 5th is the more important of the two meetings.
The email from Marc Lazerow gives us hope that our concerns will be heard. If you would like to support this bill, we have attached a form letter that you can either change or leave as is and put your name and contact information at the bottom. Please send it as an attachment to Mr. Lazerow: MLazerow@senate.state.md.us and please cc the CVE PTA as well: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your letter in by Monday, February 2nd.
If you are not able to write a full letter, an email to Mr. Lazerow saying that you are in support of Bill 27 is also helpful.
Another option would be to come and speak at either of the hearings. We know this can be intimidating and this is very last minute, but this is our best chance to get this legislation. Physical presence speaks louder than letters.
If you have any questions, please feel to contact PTA President, Laurie Trentler (email@example.com).
Your CVE PTA
February 1, 2015
Dear Senator Brochin and Senator Zirkin,
As a concerned parent of students who attend Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School, I am writing to thank you for introducing Senate Bill 27 and to express my support for the bill.
I support this bill because I believe that the Baltimore County Board of Education has not been transparent in their recent process of evaluating the magnet program.
Cromwell Valley ES is recognized by Magnet Schools of America as a National Magnet School of Excellence. Cromwell Valley and Lutherville Lab are the only magnet schools in the state of Maryland that have received this highest honor. They demonstrate a high commitment to academic standards, curriculum innovation, desegregation/diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs, and parent and community involvement. Cromwell Valley is everything that should be replicated in a MD school.
In the summer of 2014, CVE parents received a letter that plans had fallen through to add a 200-seat addition to Cromwell Valley ES. Cromwell Valley continued to be eliminated from the website and application process even after that plan had been declined. There was no accountability in regards to who removed Cromwell and why.
We are continually left in limbo with unanswered questions. At the December 16th Board of Education meeting, it was our understanding, through communications with BCPS representatives, the task force was to provide an “update”, however that update consisted of a “draft” purpose statement of Magnet Programs and Goals. NO minutes are recorded at task force meetings, nor will the Board of Education disclose the members of the task force other than an excel spread sheet of “Represented Stakeholder groups” with vague titles such as “BCPS Central Office”.
All of these examples of non-transparency by BCPS Board of Education are the reason that I support Bill 27. Requiring approval by the majority of Baltimore County Senators and Delegates to change the magnet status of a public school would hopefully open up the doors of communication and transparency with the school community. Community input and transparency by the Board of Education is vital to the success and future of our schools in Maryland.