The Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association (FCASA) issued a vote of no confidence against the Frederick County Board of Education Wednesday.

This is the second vote of no confidence the board has received this year. The first came from the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA) in January.

Amy Schwiegerath, president of FCASA, said the vote is a specific response to the board’s decisions on April 14 to expand the hybrid model at the elementary level and bring in seniors on their last day of school, therefore violating the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The current MOU was finalized in February between the board, FCTA, FCASA and the Frederick Association of School Support Employees.

It states, among other things, that 6 feet between students and employees must be maintained, and the only way the agreement can be voided is if all emergency protocols related to COVID-19 are lifted. If not, the MOU is set to be in place until June 30.

The vote of no confidence was issued by FCASA after a majority vote by its members. In addition to the vote, FCASA is asking the board to repeal the decisions it made on April 14.

Board President Jay Mason would not comment on whether he thought the MOU had been violated. He said the board should work with FCASA members, many of whom are school administrators, to carry out the decisions made by the board.

“We have to work with them and let them help guide us to how we get students in the buildings with 3 feet four days a week the safest way possible ... and ensure we are giving as many students possible the best education they can get for the remainder of the school year,” Mason said.

Specifically, with the decision about high school seniors, Schwiegerath said administrators are not only unsure logistically how to make it work, but they need more guidance on what the purpose of the day needs to be.

“[Students] still need to maintain 6 feet ... What activities would they have planned for them? Is it a community fair, or is it more of you’re coming, and you’re doing your work as seniors in classrooms?” she said. “To just say carte blanche that they are coming in without a plan ... is a lot of work and unexpected.”

The ideal scenario for FCASA, Schwiegerath said, would be to remain in the current hybrid operations for the remainder of the school year.

FCASA members want more students in the building, but they want it to happen safely, Schwiegerath said.

“This is about having the time to prepare and minimizing the potential harmful effects of moving teachers, moving classrooms, moving students,” Schwiegerath said. “I think people think that you just walk into a school and everything is ready ... there’s a lot of work, there’s a reason why we have our summers to prepare.”

Mason said he is not concerned that this is the second vote of no confidence issued against the board.

“Everyone is under a lot of pressure, we’re dealing with a pandemic. This is not normal, and people are allowed to voice their concerns,” he said.

In hindsight, Mason said, he thinks the board should have spoken with school leaders before making any decisions.

“We definitely should have had some open, honest discussions with them about the challenges they face and what they need and how we can help them be successful in bringing their kids back into the buildings,” he said.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(21) comments

gandcjohnson

The only one who suffers are the students. The elementary school children fall further behind. Virtual learning does not work for that age group.

DanCarroll

Well that shows the respect the unions have for elections; none if their minions lose. Time to put an end to this crap and go to a complete voucher system and get rid of the union control. Time for the parents and taxpayers to be back in control.

jth7100

Harrumph, harrumph!

Terp24

Get the head of the snake first Alban!

AOC

Interesting statement, "Get the head of the snake first Alban!" Isn't the head of the snake a little higher? The social distancing recommendations were changed by President Biden's CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH [19th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].

I did read the FCPS MOU and it clearly states:

11. Under state and federal law, employees have the right to file a complaint if they believe there may be a violation of safety workplace standards or health hazards at work. No reprisals or discipline will be taken against any employee who makes disclosures of an unsafe violation or unhealthy work environment.

But the complaint would not be sustained because the 3ft distancing has been implemented by the CDC and Maryland Department of Health. Dr. Alban consults with Frederick County Health Department Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer. Is Dr. Brookmyer "part of the head?"

The MDH website [https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/school-resources#Data] shows only one school in Frederick County has report COVID infections [New Market Middle - 5 cases].

Would it have been nice if FCPS unions had been consulted? Yes. But lets move on; do the unions really need to play "Mother May I?" The kids of Frederick County deserve better. Consider the larger picture; WHO WORKS FOR WHOM?

FlyFisherman

If you read the MOU – then you also saw this section which specifically states the 6 ft requirement:

14. The Board will ensure that classroom and all work spaces allow for six feet between student and/or teacher desks. Learning stations, sinks, and other classroom spaces that must be used by students will also allow for six feet of distance.

NOTE: The parties acknowledge the measurement is to obtain and reinforce six feet spacing between individuals. The parties recognize this spacing applies universally to classroom spaces equipped with a variety of desk types in FCPS including oversized work desks/tables, trapezoid tables, science tables, art tables, drafting tables, pre-K work stations, etc. In addition, the parties acknowledge that the movement of students in their work spaces is anticipated and the expectation will be communicated and reinforced of the six-foot spacing rule. In the event a teacher believes a classroom is not conducive to consistently meeting six-foot spacing, the teacher will notify the building administrator so that a re-evaluation of the space occurs and options evaluated for compliance.

Updated 02.24.21 - Page 4 Principals will also be encouraged, where possible, to provide more than six feet spacing between individuals to also address variances which may occur due to natural movement of individuals in their classroom work space. Six feet between an identified teaching station and students’ seating will be provided.

The MOU is a legally binding document, freely entered into by both parties in order to maintain the health and safety of ALL parties.

micky

As FDR said public sector unions should not exist !!

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] Amen, micky! [smile]

duffy5x

Yeah, how dare people want be to treated fairly?

teadoffinfrederickcounty

FCPS UNIONS: How is the Apple Ballot working out for you now? Stop whining or you will need a timeout.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] That's right, teadoffinfrederickcounty! It's the FCTA's Apple Ballot that endorsed and encouraged voters to support these Board members. [beam]

linoscra

There were no BOE candidates on the apple ballot last election. There was no endorsement of any candidate from the unions.

TaraS

It makes no sense to switch things up again at the end of the school year and disrupt everything once more. Any educational gains would be minimal compared to the heightened risk of spreading covid. Come up with a new plan over the summer for fall instead.

Greg F

Agree, however the minute schools are out, that board needs to be dismantled and a special election held to put some people in there that don't have their heads up where the sun doesn't shine.

Aslan19

Can we have a vote of no confidence in the various education unions??? It will have as much significance and impact as the two that the different unions have done.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] Asian19. [smile]

rbenjamin

While I think the separation requirement is a sham and has no merit, the MOU should be respected. It is a contract, a commitment between the two entities. Once the time limit has been reached, the BOE should enforce its will and those who do not agree with it, should quit.

Travis Bickle

The general public has no confidence in them either. It`s a clown car of a school board. Seniors are gone in 5 weeks and the last few they will do little work as is the case every year. Send them back to School now? Add to that the restrictions on a family`s ability to attend OUTDOOR graduation program and this School board should be up for an award......for stupidity

MrSniper

This is unprecedented in our lifetime. It doesn’t seem unusual that there would be different opinions on how things should be done. Perhaps this reflects a lack of dialogue between labor & the board. A good faith gesture could be made to mend relations. This public squabbling undermines public confidence in these institutions & the professionals charged with running them.

matthewboh

Exactly! I pay a lot of money in real estate taxes and I expect the schools to be run well. Something isn't working here.

dabittle

Association level pouting.

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