School Board meeting

Jay Mason speaks at a Frederick County Board of Education meeting in December 2020.

Frederick County Board of Education member Jay Mason is seeking an exception to a provision of the body’s ethics policy that restricts ex-board members from taking jobs in Frederick County Public Schools.

Board Policy 109 says that board members cannot work for FCPS for at least one year following their departure from the board.

Follow Jillian Atelsek on Twitter: @jillian_atelsek

Education reporter

Jillian Atelsek covers education for The Frederick News-Post. She grew up near Woodsboro, attended Walkersville High School and graduated from the University of Maryland in 2020 with degrees in journalism and history.

(10) comments

Blueline

What subject does he want to teach?

Jay Mason

I need to take 6 credits over 2 years to have my certification renewed. I was certified to teach Elementary Grades 1 - 6 and Math Grades 4 - 9. I will teach elementary, middle school math and high school math.

Dwasserba

‘“I know that there is a nationwide shortage of classroom teachers,’ Willie Mahone said, ‘and Frederick County has been plagued with a significant dearth of teachers of color.”’ Couldn’t it at least be discussed? Then we’d know what the specific objections are.

mrnatural1

Good question Dwasserba, exactly what I am thinking. [thumbup]

There may be a very good reason(s) for this '1 year' rule, but it's reasonable to ask that it be explained.

Also, even IF the rule has a solid basis, it may simply not apply in this particular case.

If it does apply, those in charge should be able to explain why. What's the specific concern?

joelp77440

I like Jay and want to see him employed but 1 year restrictions like this are common place. I have them, you may too.

Plumbum

U still at way station?

micky

Sum splaining needed in here !!

mrnatural1

Quote:

"Board President Brad Young said the one-year provision was introduced more than a decade ago after an outgoing board member applied for an FCPS job before their term had ended."

Why was that a problem?

Would there be some potential conflict of interest or ethics violation if Jay Mason is allowed to teach?

What, specifically, is the concern?

Without more info it seems arbitrary.

Jdbgalt

The concern is likely one of conflicts of interests. quid pro quo. That is, quid pro quo. Are they being hired as a teacher because of something they did as a board member? Is this person being hired because, while in office, he did something he wouldn't have otherwise been able to do that he is now being rewarded for by being offered a job (career) as a teacher?

Certainly, anyone looking at this objectively can see the potential for conflicts of interest. BOE members can affect change in schools. Schools either like that change or don't. They're a reason for this rule and I believe it's based on solid reasoning.

mrnatural1

That sounds reasonable Jd.

I need more information on how things work. From what you're saying, the school board has direct control over the working conditions of the people who are responsible for hiring teachers -- is that correct?

If so, then yes, there would seem to be at least some possibility of a conflict of interest.

Still, I see no need for a blanket prohibition -- with no exceptions. After all, if there were to be a quid pro quo, it's easy enough to wait one year. In fact, if the 1 year period is the only stipulation, board members could give everyone responsible for hiring a new Tesla EV (for FCPS business of course [wink-wink]) and then be given cushy positions a year later.

My suggestion would be that this be addressed on a case-by-case basis. After all, how often does a school board member apply for a teaching position? It's not as if we're talking about a flood of applicants. This rule only came into existence 10 years ago.

Perhaps there should be an independent determination of whether a former board member should be hired as a teacher. That would get to the root of the perceived problem better than an arbitrary waiting period.

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