Cindy Rose Campaigning

Cindy Rose, a candidate for the Frederick County Board of Education, has made 80 public record requests to the Frederick County Public Schools district in the last year.

Two-thirds of all public records requests to Frederick County Public Schools last fiscal year were made by one person — school board candidate Cindy Rose.

The district typically sees requests from a broad spectrum of people and companies, asking for teacher salaries and their work assignments, budgets and bids, all of which are considered public information under state law.

Of the 122 public information requests to the school district from July 1, 2015, to June 30 on a list provided to The Frederick News-Post, 80 were from Rose.

Two requests for information were denied in the last fiscal year, according to Monique Wilson, the school system paralegal who processes records requests. It’s not clear if those two denied requests were included on the list of 122 total requests.

Requests by Rose — a Knoxville parent and frequent school district critic — delve into both broad and granular aspects of the district.

They involve numbers of students who refused state standardized testing, teachers’ exit interviews and costs of textbooks.

Rose has sought emails from the superintendent and the Frederick County Board of Education to the state education department and the state education board — anything that referenced the Common Core Standards, and the associated test, the PARCC, formally known as Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam, which Rose vocally condemns.

In an interview, Rose said she’s suspicious of the school district and views herself as a watchdog.

“Nobody is asking questions. We just do it, Common Core, PARCC,” Rose said of the school system. “They just do it, no one questions the state, and if they are pushing back, I’m not hearing it.”

She said the school system avoids inquiries and forces her to submit a public records request for even simple documents or answers to basic questions.

Responding to Rose’s criticism, Wilson wrote in an email that all requests for information are routed through the school district’s legal services division. That’s done to ensure consistency and compliance with the timeline of the law, she wrote.

Per the Maryland Public Information Act, any public agency must produce documents anyone asks for within 30 days of a request. Certain documents don’t have to be turned over, though, like personnel records or in the case of schools, personal information about students.

Many of Rose’s requests revolve around testing — how many students refused the assessment given to students with disabilities, assessment data from the last five years, a manual for PARCC.

Other requests involve specific people.

She asked for employment information about Keith Harris, executive director for the Department of Accelerated Achievement and Equity, who oversees the special education department. Rose, whose son has cerebral palsy, said she wanted to know Harris’ qualifications.

Rose asked for how much is being spent on conferences Superintendent Terry Alban attends, and the cost of her dues or subscriptions to professional organizations, associations or publications. This totaled more than $12,000 for fiscal year 2015-16.

Rose wrote in an email to the Frederick County Board of Education that she was concerned the topics being discussed at conferences Alban attended did not fit the vision of education. Specifically, she wanted to know how the system benefited by spending $8,300 on her membership to the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland, or PSSAM.

In an email response to Rose, school board President Brad Young wrote:

“Continuing education and professional development and networking are a part of her job as Superintendent and she does not abuse that opportunity. Coming from the private sector, I know we always spent much more on these types of events than the school system does. There are issues discussed at the National and State level and it is good for us to have representation to help shape that discussion and to be aware of it if it is adverse to our cause.”

The association opposed Ben’s Rule, named for Rose’s son, a state bill that would have exempted students from taking the PARCC. Rose took issue with PSSAM’s position. Alban is a past president of PSSAM.

“Just merely asking, people tend to toe the line and be on their best behavior,” Rose said. “It’s like children running amok. If you look in with a glaring eye, they tend to behave themselves. People should be asking questions.”

The school system does not always know someone’s intent for filing a records request, Jamie Cannon, the school system’s legal counsel, said Wednesday. The district’s role isn’t to discern or investigate why the individual or agency wants information, but to provide it in a timely way, per the law, Cannon said.

Information is usually readily available, simply because much of what people want to know is published online, on the school district website, Cannon said. She said she believes the legal office never misses a deadline for complying with a request, and if it does, it asks for an extension from who initially filed the request.

Some agencies or individuals submit yearly public information requests to the school system.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm, which releases regular reports about the state of the teaching industry, asked for teacher placements for the previous two years.

Market Data Retrieval, or MDR, a company that focuses on collecting school data, has asked for employee job information annually, Wilson wrote in her email.

FERKO Maryland Federal Credit Union, which school system and Frederick Community College employees are eligible to join, also asked for employee salary information for the previous school year.

Other local names who requested information include John Ashbury, who publishes The Tentacle, a conservative blog; Steve McKay, president of the local organization Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, which is fighting against a Monrovia development; and Jill King, a former Republican candidate for city alderwoman.

Other examples of requests for information include Charles Wagaman Jr. asking for a copy of the superintendent’s contract, Brett Sampson asking about FCPS’ retirees’ sick and vacation leave and Sarah Rosen-Strom asking about services for students with hearing loss.

Typically, the only media organization to file requests is The Frederick News-Post, Cannon said. Other news outlets might take an interest in the school system, Cannon said, but usually that’s breaking news that will be handled by the communications office, like in the case of the Frederick High shooting in 2015.

An exception in 2015-16 was WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., which asked for a list of name changes for Frederick County Public Schools buildings.

The News-Post asked for information on the teachers salary scale, student behavior at a homecoming football game at Walkersville High School, and the forms that teachers and administrators fill out when they touch students or isolate them in a room.

Rose is running for one of three seats on the school board. The other candidates are incumbent Joy Schaefer, retired Frederick County Public Schools administrator Mike Bunitsky and Frederick Community College professor Ken Kerr.

Follow Jeremy Bauer-Wolf on Twitter: @jbeowulf.

(66) comments

JMcCarthy

Here's some PIA's from our most prolific PIAer

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B5Mxh6v0Tnu5cjBiNFJCN215VlU?usp=sharing

elymus43

The timing by the FNP looks like they do not like her. She is the best candidate by far.

DickD

Sure she is, that is why all the other Republicans dropped out, so she would have a chance of winning. [rolleyes]

jill king

DickD there were no other candidates interested. You have this backwards. The two that dropped out were democrat women, leaving the men, after the primaries and to serve the party in conspiring to force the voters with less choices.

DickD

Yes, you are right. There were 8 candidates: Bengali, Bunitsky, Jarman, Kerr, Mason, McDonald, Rose and Schaefer. Bengali and Mason lost in the primary. So, Jarman and McDonald dropped out, after the primary. Jarmin was a Democrat and dropped out, saying; "Jarman said Rose is divisive. Jarman questioned whether Rose could work with those who oppose her views."

McDonald was a Democrat too, she dropped out because she felt her chances of winning were not good. "Asked if Rose was part of her reasoning for dropping out, McDonald said, “I don’t want to bring Cindy Rose into it at all. I’d rather not go there.”

hayduke2

How? What experience does she have?

jill king

The below comments are really shocking. If the PIA request benefits their causes, it isn't a waste of taxpayer money and they are giving kudos to the groups/individuals requesting them. I am proud of Cindy for stepping up to the plate by attending meetings, filing for more information not readily available to the public on overtesting, overspending and a myriad of other reasons that can only benefit an informed voter and candidate. On the other hand, I am equally ashamed of persons who are afraid to let the truth get out. The more informed you are, the more value is placed in you as a candidate and voter. This race is about changing the status quo.

DickD

Jill, what do you want to change, be specific, change can be bad.

jill king

Rubber stamps.

hayduke2

Not an answer....

DickD

Thank you, Hay. Jill cannot or will not be specific.

DickD

The Bd.of Education is bound to see Rose as a nuisance, but she does serve a purpose - keeping the Bd. honest and on their toes, that is not all bad. Having Rose on the Bd. would be all bad.

hayduke2

I'm more concerned with her divisiveness and belligerent behavior. Remember, she wanted a certain textbook banned because it didn't fit her view of the world. She wants the superintendent, who disagrees with her at times, removed. She wants total local control, meaning that she has the influence and not state or national trends. No thank you.

MAVRICKinc7

You just described and defined what a dictator is. Hasn't TRUMP done enough to put Ms. Rose in the same light?

public-redux

No.

stevemckay

So now I understand why she's running for the Board - to save money on all those PIA requests!

jill king

That is just ridiculous. Some people do actually care enough to do the hard work it takes behind the scenes, instead of being a rubber stamp.

hayduke2

It is obvious this is your candidate - I happen to disagree with most of your comments - don't see this as a rubber stamp issue. Being one sided and divisive is not in the best interests of the school system.

stevemckay

Yes Jill, it was ridiculous - obviously so.

jill king

Yes, Steve. So what is your benefit for filing such requests? Did you know that the $8300 to PSSM is taxpayer money used to lobby the legislature in Maryland and the rate is determined by the amount of members? Is that even legal?

DickD

Jill, whatever makes you think the $8,300 isn't legal, it does have to be approved. We do want to be represented and get all grants possible. It is a pittance compared to what we stand to gain.

stevemckay

My benefit? My benefit concerned RALE's MTC fight and we paid $200 for our PIA request.

MAVRICKinc7

BUT hasn't Ms. Rose disclosed that she is nothing more than a rubber stamp in and of her tactics to disparage the Education system time in and time again? She may have a lot of thunder in her advocacy, but what about a lightening strike every now and then. Ask yourself. Does Ms. Rose represent anything more than herself and the bad hand dealt to her years ago? She has a lot to SAY but where has she contributed solutions to this conversation? How much more SPECIAL is she than the rest of US?

I get the sqeuaky wheel part of her strategy, but whose listening or stepping to the front of the class with viable solutions on how best to train and educate children who have been compromised by natural selection?

Is she on to the theory that teachers, administrators and educational staff have a doctors degree in psychology or psychiatry and life planning skills before being allowed to CONTROL and REGULATE those who are compromised physically or mentally with some pathway to coping with the rest of the world, should they make it that far?

I'm just looking beyond what Ms. Rose prescribes as the faults of OUR educational system. Frequppedualify to do anytrhing moreom a medical point of view, I've seen my share of those individuals with TBIs, brain, spinal injuries, quads and paraplegics and did't find a single TEACHER who was qualified to do anything more than baby sit those of compromised abilities. I did work with paraplegics in business settings and found that from the waist up to their brain border on genius, aka the exceptions to the rule.

So, instead of challenging the Education Systems, why isn't Ms Rose challenging the health care professionals and the successes they have made over the last 50 years.

Instead of directing her energy and anger at a SYSTEM replete with systemic flaws, why not take the health care community on and see how their E-MAILS read.

guyfletcher

I'll assume her vigorous examination of school records also includes requesting documents that show the poor pay of county teachers.

jill king

Actually, you can find that information on thetentacle.com website. I'm sure if people looked at the information they would hardly call it "poor."

hayduke2

LOL - like I would actually believe the spin thetentacle puts on anything.....

DickD

Define "poor pay". [tongue_smile]

jill king

Well they are far above poverty level standards and in line or higher than the state median in most cases. But I will give you that DickD. How is poor defined?

DickD

That is my question too. What is a good median pay for a college graduate that only works 180 days a year. Yeah, they have to do extra work, like marking papers, making schedules, etc, most of which can be done in their normal routine day. Taking 52 weeks and multiply be 5 and you get 260 work days a year. Most employers give about 8 holidays, leaving 252 work days, subtract 15 work days for three weeks of vacation and you get 237 work days. This means the average private employee is working about 57 work days more per year. So, the average te,acher is working almost 25% of a private company employee. Median salary in Frederick is $55,167. So, 25% more would be equal to someone making $68,958.75. And that is the median. The problem we have here is other counties are paying more and to be competitive we need to pay more.
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Frederick_County_Public_Schools/Salary#by_City

Observer10

Rose is on a constant witch hunt. For all of the time and money that has been wasted researching her requests, not one positive outcome has developed. This is not a person the taxpayers of Frederick County want in a position of responsibility. She will do all that she can to grind the school system to a halt. Please do not let this happen on election day.

jill king

Wow! Being aware of where tax money is spent is considered a waste? Are you one of those people that demand less pay for central office building staff too?

MAVRICKinc7

Where are you going with this play on words? You are an ADVOCATE WATCHDOG. We get that and would expected nothing more from the likes of yourself. YOU do know what a FOREGONE CONCLUSION is...don't you?

jill king

I am an advocate and watchdog. They could uncover that I file requests at every level from the state down to local governance. Since journalists seem to be lacking in asking the right questions as a norm now, it is difficult to be only educated by such sources, including sound bites and opining in comments is generally wasted air. I am proud of the few that do the legwork needed to uncover truths and educating the public with the evidence gathered to make intelligent decisions.

tgrace

"Specifically, she wanted to know how the system benefited by spending $8,300 on her membership to the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland, or PSSAM."

$8,300 of public money spent on a membership for what is essentially a political advocacy group for educators?

From the PSSAM website...
"The purpose of this association is to actively take part in the legislative process at the State Board, General Assembly and Congressional levels"..

Why is the public funding this and $8,300 a year for a membership? That is gouging the public. Firstly with an exorbitant membership fee and secondly, should public funds be used to cover employees membership on political advocacy groups at all?

hayduke2

So being an advocate at the state level is gouging? So you would rather have a system that is not knowledgeable of what is being considered at the state level and what that is not proactive in deciding educational policy. Come on man!

jill king

$8300 a year. Nuff said.

hayduke2

Your opinion. I still say advocacy at the state level is important. Having a Frederick County voice here is important.

MAVRICKinc7

In what world are you drawing this subtle conclusion from?

tgrace

They are using tax dollars to advocate positions on specific issues which are before the legislature. n my opinion taxpayers should not fund organizations which are pushing / advocating specific positions on legislation That is not a proper used of taxpayer money.

Should taxpayers pay for teachers union dues? . Or should tax payers pay for the Mayors $8,000 / year membership to say "the conservative Mayors of Maryland Association". Which promotes conservative legislation ?

MAVRICKinc7

What's your point and have you made one?

DickD

".............exorbitant membership fee ......." How did you decide that? Other counties do it and it means that the legislative branch is going to consider your county and get the grants we need, much more than any piddling $8,300.

tgrace

Because I enjoy the benefit of common sense.

FYI By contrast membership dues for the AMA, American Medical Association with a fairly high average membership income is $400 / year.

MAVRICKinc7

When was the last time you subscribed to the Journal of America Medical Association (JAMA)? What is it that you know of the cost for CONTINUE EDUCATION in the health care community. How much do you think it cost the health care community to support standards of Quality Assurance and standards of care?

Why not talk about the cost of medical malpractice insurance each doctor is caused to pay for someone else's screw-ups? As with medical insurance POOLS, the more patients they have the lower the cost of providing health care to the population.

DickD

Without knowing what they do, do you consider that a fair comparison?

kimberlymellon

I agree that the membership fees are questionable. The federal government does not pay society membership dues of staff, to include physicians, agency heads and experts as these are career oriented and can be political. Given her salary, why isn't Dr. Alban maintain her membership independently?

MAVRICKinc7

Because she is in a SYSTEM that takes care of their own. Sort of like FAMILY defending there own in Frederick City/County, Maryland. IF Maryland State wants to COMPETE with the rest of the world, why wouldn't the tax payer underwrite the success of Dr Alban and the local institutions of education? You can pinch all the pennies you want, but WE rank 30th and 17th in the world and down sharply from once being No.1. Just sayin.

hayduke2

I believe this is a membership for the leadership of all 24 counties in Maryland. It has a limited membership of 24 so fees are high.

MAVRICKinc7

What is it about CONTINUED EDUCATION standards you don't get? Doctors, lawyers and teachers are all on the same path of keeping up with the likes of yourself; squabbling over pennies without knowing what you're talking about doesn't help out with the conversation. You've been provided a NUMBER and now want to label $8,300 as exorbitant. You would make for a good lobbyist, BUT to what end?

BlueDawn666

IF Rose is elected we need to make sure we request all of her records as well, we need to make sure we keep and hold her accountable.

Nicki

Good point, Blue. She will def be one to keep an eye on.

DickD

And Rose should expect that too.[thumbup]

JMGrunw

How much did fulfilling this large number of requests (not to mention Rose's lawsuit against fcps) cost the district?

Nicki

Exactly, JMG- this constant snooping comes with a cost to tax payers.

jill king

Requests come with fees, unless readily available.

darren

We need more public servants who are beholden to the public, and not just to the government employees themselves. It's nice to see an article highlighting how hard Rose has been working to keep the system honest.

duffy5x

Rose and her endless requests amount to nothing more than her forcing FCPS employees to waste valuable time that could be spent helping students and teachers and instead they must assist her in looking for information to support her wild conspiracy theories.

hayduke2

Please give me an example of how she has kept the system honest...

DickD

Not an example so much as an expectation. If you know the records are going to be examined and publicized - if anything wrong is found, it keeps you on your toes. I think Rose was doing this for personal reasons, but if it helps others, fine. Does she waste staff time, I am sure she does, but that should be expected to some degree. Maybe Rose just over does it.

MAVRICKinc7

She is one of THOSE we factor in to the cost of doing the public's business.

armillary


She's unqualified and it shows
a glaring eye and sharp elbows
her scorn she can't hide
a thorn in the side
the worst thing since Billy, is Rose.

Nicki

I agree, armillary!

DickD

Nah, Kirby and Billy have two top spots wrapped up, Rose comes in third. And that is ignoring Blaine.

MAVRICKinc7

What two TOP spots are you referring to Dick, when it comes to acknowledging Delauter and Shreve continue to support their" last place" in line optics with the general public? Who are you going to be voting for come 2018?

DickD

Mav, I was referring to ar's poem, where he said; "the worst thing since Billy, is Rose."

armillary

But Billy, Kirby and Blaine aren't running on Nov 8, 2016.

DickD

We'll just have to vote for Bunitsky, Kerr,and Schaefer then.

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