Yesterday, many TAAAC members received an email from the County Executive’s Education Officer, Amalie Brandenburg.
Recipients should be aware that statements made by Ms. Brandenburg are not always consistent with fact. Those that have been paying attention for a few years will remember her murdering an explanation of the teacher pension system, later to be corrected and (skewered) by then County auditor Teresa Sutherland. Her recent pontification requires similar comment.
Brandenburg asserts, “Education is the highest priority of our Administration. “Well, that may be the rhetoric when educators are the audience. But the below chart clearly indicates otherwise. Assessing the priority education holds with the current administration would best be done with a budget review. Controlling for discretionary pay-go -funding, the following chart shows the portions of the County’s general fund that go to the Board of Education compared those that go to non-Board of Education expenditures. The chart is based on the county’s own financial and budget documents. It clearly reveals non-BOE spending going up, and BOE spending going down, directly contradicting the rhetoric.
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Brandenburg asserts that the Administration inherited a healthcare fund crisis. Budget documents indicate that the Administration created a healthcare crisis.
In building the fiscal year 2017 budget, the Board requested an increase of $20.0 million to meet increasing claims expenses. The County Executive cut the request to $0.0, and replaced it with a one-time non-recurring $10.0 million. Budgeting for the current fiscal year (2018), the Board requested an allocation $20.5 million. The County Executive reduced that request to $5.0, thereby replacing only half of the non-recurring $10 million for 2017. A crisis was born.
The Administration did come up with $27.5 million to help fix the crisis he induced, $22.5 of which is temporary, one-time, non recurring money, leaving AACPs employees with hundreds, in some cases thousands in higher and permanent healthcare cost.
Finally, it must be noted that outside entities are noticing. In 2015, Niche rated AACPS as the 6th best school district of the 24 in Maryland. In 2018, after three budgets developed by the current Administration, the AACPS has sunk to 12th out of 24. Niche also now ranks AACPS 16th out of 24 as a preferred district in which to teach.
Like all people, office holders are what they do, not what they say.