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.