In his letter “Teachers’ pay needs to improve,” published April 4, Rolan Clark correctly pointed out that Frederick County’s starting salaries could be more competitive with other counties, but he may not have realized that charter schools can improve teacher salaries. Last year, when Gov. Larry Hogan proposed providing charter schools with full funding instead of the 68 percent of full funding they currently receive, the Frederick Classical Charter School proposed an immediate 10 percent across-the-board increase in staff salaries.

In addition, the school proposed 100 percent paid health and dental insurance at no cost to employees, 100 percent paid professional liability insurance that doubles employees’ current coverage, increases in the tuition reimbursement rates (including the cost of books), a more flexible schedule, an option for both the existing pension program and a portable plan, and more. If the governor’s bill had passed, employees at the charter school would have received one of the largest, if not the largest, compensation increases ever offered to Maryland teachers.

Unfortunately, the teachers union opposed giving Maryland’s teachers the flexibility that is normal for the vast majority of charter schools in our country. Because charter schools have the freedom to innovate, they can keep class sizes low and increase compensation at the same time. But in Maryland it is illegal for charters to do so, since they are not permitted to have their own employees or have any control over how the school operates.

Changing Maryland’s charter school law to bring it into the mainstream will enable charter schools to lead the way in increasing teacher compensation. If opponents of school choice would stop fighting those who start charter schools and allow them to actually operate the schools they started, Maryland teachers would benefit.

Tom Neumark

Point of Rocks

(45) comments


DickD, look up MD Charter School Law 2003 and it will explain in detail Charter Schools in Maryland. A few days ago I posted a link that explained the difference between Public Schools, Public Charter Schools, and Private Schools. Obviously, your ego prohibited you from reading it, as it will this document.


DickD, Mr. Neumark is not president of Frederick Classical Charter School anymore. He stepped down last summer and pulled his kids. If you go to their website, the new president is a woman named Sue Middleton. He is speaking on his own behalf from.what I understand.


Every day since Mr. Neumark first sought and was approved to operate a FCPS Charter School, he has consistently and purposefully misrepresented the funding formula adopted by the Board of Education. He totally ignores the services provided by FCPS to charter schools at no cost. He complains about not receiving funding for services that the Charter School does not offer to its students (transportation). In all of these instances he voluntarily agreed to these provisions up to and including the moment the charter application was approved. Seconds afterward he started complaining.
Charter Schools seem to be an excellent alternative in low performing, dysfunctional school systems, especially in large metropolitan settings. In high performing systems, they tend to be the desire of elitist parents looking for public financing their version of a private education.


How can public Charter Schools be elitist if available to any student in the County? Agreed that Frederick County are good schools, but why not offer different styles of education?


They are elitist because they can expel students they do not want. They are elitist because they do not provide busing and single parents usually do not have the time to take their children there. They are elitist because they have to file an application and I have seen no evidence of them taking everyone, including the handicap, physically and mentally disabled.


And I have seen no evidence of the information you are spreading...


And you have evidence they cannot and will not?


Dick, Yes! Our daughter-in-law and some fellow teachers established a Charter School in Baltimore City. I'm no expert but I know enough about Charter Schools in Maryland to know you are FULL of misinformation. Quit embarrassing yourself. There is plenty of information on the internet to educate yourself.


Explain to us how your "style" is different and why it should be allowed when we already have public schools, which you state; "Agreed that Frederick County are good schools............."


So much hate...

FCCS is Classical education (the prominent style in the US until the 1950s). There is a reason that most Catholic schools and homeschools and many private schools teach that style. We also have two Montessori schools, teaching the Montessori style. See...facts...try it for a change. :)


My information shows your school was not even approved until 2012. You are distorting your record.


To respond to your response below. You asked me how the educational style differs. FCCS teaches in the style of Classical education. The other two charter schools teach in the Montessori style. Please try to keep up...


Check the Charter School enrollment rules for founding members' current school age children and younger siblings.


I don't think they are "elitist" but I believe if you did a survey of demographics in FCCS you would find that it is skewed towards the white and upper middle class compared to the other public schools. As noted, this comes from two reasons at a minimum. First, to get in you have to have a parent who is interested, willing and able to do what is required to get you on the list. Not every child's parent hast the time or ability to do this. Second, transportation has to be provided to get to the school. For a single parent working several jobs they likely don't have the ability to do so. That which us middle class people find trivial becomes an obstacle to poor people.

The other thing to keep in mind is we are not Baltimore or DC with a lot of underperforming public schools. Our schools in this county are pretty good. Comparing charter vs public schools in districts with many underperforming schools is not a valid comparison in Frederick County.


School profile indicates various demographics:


From FNP Dec 28 2014

Tom Neumark, president of Frederick Classical Charter School, said the board of education doesn't always objectively handle proposals for new charter schools. Though the charter schools have independence over their teaching philosophy, they still receive public funding and are sometimes viewed as competition by boards of education, he said.

Groth argues that it is important for the board of education to maintain oversight of teaching staff across the public school system, including charter schools.

"They should be under the same umbrella as all the rest of our schools. We have professional standards. We expect our students to be exposed to people who have outstanding credentials," she said.

Arizona has been charged with using charter schools to avoid separation of church and state.

Billionaire Republicans seek to destroy public schools with vouchers and charter schools. Among them, Walmart.

Delaware has already been sued over charter schools seeking to provide segregated schools.

The ACLU has already sued the State of Delware over charter schools.


Charter schools are nothing more than an attempt of the elite white class to form private schools from public funds. If they want private schools, let them pay for them out of their funds, not public tax money.

The whole idea of charter schools and school vouchers for private schools had it's beginning from the far right. They do not want to fund public schools, but they do want their children to get the best education possible. Therefore, they are trying to milk our tax dollars for their personal benefit.

Charter schools will increase our taxes as we set up a dual public education system. One system, the public schools, will be under the state authority and be required to adhere to state rules.

Charter schools will potentially eliminate the separation of church and state, a far right wing goal and ideal. It will potentially allow for a religion, God knows which, to be taught in the school. To go these charter schools, you would need to accept their way of doing things. Currently not bad, but give them enough time and autonomy and they will be bad.

The far right wing also wants to cut teacher pay and pensions. Right now we have a problem, caused by MOE, that has reduced funding to the point that we are losing good quality teachers to tee neighboring counties. The result is Frederick County gets teachers that cannot obtain a job in the counties paying higher wages and benefits.

Yes, charter schools currently have a good agenda and are teaching the brighter students at a higher level. Does this mean the public schools do not recognize and give advance placement classes for the more gifted, I think not.

It is also the goal of the far right wing to get rid of the unions. What they want is total control of the agenda, pay scale, benefits, working conditions, and right to speak up if wronged. It will be a harsh system, over time.

To sum it up, charter schools will:
- cost us more tax money
- leave only minority and poor white students in the public schools
- set up a dual public school system.
- cause a potential conflict with religion being taught and separation of church and state ignored.
- allow educational standards to set up below par of the state.
- eliminate unions and the right to be heard.
- cost us the benefit of better paid teachers and losing better teachers to the surrounding counties.

The parochial schools have always refused public funding as this would allow the state to set rules and regulations. Now we have the same thing in charter schools.

If charter schools are allowed to continue, the general public loses. This results in my tax dollars being spent to educate the wealthy, that are too cheap to pay for their own children's education. If this keeps on, their will be law suits as public tax dollars were not intended for the few to get better education for only their children.


You arguments are subjective. Anyone could post arguments like this (over and over again), painting the worst case scenario. Here are the facts:
- FCCS students cost taxpayers only 68% of other FCPS students. The rest of the funds that should go those children go back to FCPS...please explain how it is costing the taxpayer more?
- The school is open to any student in the County. It is true that parents have to aware of and ambitious enough to apply. Transportation may be an issue for some, still.
- Dual public school Ideally, the school would be able to run more things itself, but that does not lead to a parallel BOE.
- Separation of church and state ignored...please show me an example of that in our Charter schools in Frederick County
- FCCS, just like all FCPS schools, have to meet state standards.
- Ideally, the teachers would not in the union so there is more flexibility in pay. That does not mean eliminating the union for FCPS or mean they would not be heard. Is everyone not in a union a helpless victim of industry?
- Cost us the benefit of better paid teachers? This makes no sense…please see the first argument.


My arguments are subjective? They are based on facts, which yours are not. Read what Proud2BFredneck said above. Tom's charter school was not approved until 2012, so it has not been in operation for more than three years. Yet, from the day Tom agreed to all the conditions to get approval for a charter school all he has done is whine and complain.

As far as 68% that was approved for Tom's charter school, that was based on what they deserved for the services they are providing and they do not provide all that the non charter public school provide. Is that too hard to understand.

What Tom wants is complete autonomy and that is a private school, not a charter school. So, Tom filed under false pretenses if he really wants a private school. Is that too hard to understand?

What would you do if you could get complete autonomy? Would you be teaching religion in the school? Because that is a violation of church and state. Is that too hard to understand?

What would you do with teachers pay, if not required to pay them at the contract wages agreed to by Frederick County and the union that represents them? Would they be "at will" employees? Would you fire all of them and hire new ones?

Instead of the constant whining and complaining, put everything in writing. If you can't or will not, you cannot be taken seriously.

Yes, there would be no competing Board of Education, if Tom has his way, because then he could operate as a private school and ignore our elected Board of Education.


What facts are you talking about? Posting articles about Arizona? Can we talk Frederick County (since you are it's guardian)? Why do you assume the school will teach religion?
Yes...full autonomy would mean hiring and firing teachers...and paying good teachers their worth. And if the pay is so low and conditions are so awful, then the teachers would go elsewhere (just like every other professional field).


Let's at least be clear about one thing. The reason that charter school receives less $ per student is because there are a number of services they don't provide, such as transportation. So since they don't provide those services, a proportional amount of funding is subtracted. From an educational standpoint (a normal class with normal kids and normal teacher) they get the same amount per student.


Tom, aren't you president of Frederick Classical Charter School? Seems to me you should have signed that way or at least mentioned it in your LTE.

First, let's define what a charter, public and private schools are:
A public school must take all students. It gets school funding from and is controlled by a local government. Our control is the elected school board, which sets the funding for schools. ALL public schools must be held accountable to the same high standards of transparency and equity to ensure the success of all students.

A charter school is a U.S. and Canadian term for a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established public school system in which it is located.

Charter schools are an example of alternative education. As you are well aware and have commented on in the past, your charter school does not provide all of the functions of a public school, such as buses to and from schools or special events. And I do believe your school does not provide a school cafeteria. You are free to accept or reject applicants and can expel students according to your school rules, not the rules set by the Board of Education.

Private schools, also known as independent schools, non-governmental, or non state
schools, are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition, rather than relying on mandatory taxation through public (government) funding.

Tom, what you are seeking is to get tax money for a school operating as a private school. There is no objection to private schools, if they are not using tax money. Your school does use tax money and it does not provide all of the same standards and transparency of a public school.

As far as what you might have or might not have provided, that is speculation.


He's not the president of the school anymore. Check their website. He stepped down last summer .


The mouthpiece for the well educated, entitled, elitist parents too good for public schools, speaks with a fork tongue.


School competition? Charter schools are a good alternative to the traditional public school model.

In Baltimore, the Catholic schools have the highest graduation and college acceptance rate in the region. There are several other denominational private schools that have similar rates to Catholic schools.

Baltimore public schools have the highest spending per pupil, and the lowest rate in the State for graduation and college attendance.

Charter schools provide competition -- and it is only in the last 3 years, FCPS and the CE are even talking about STEM for the students.

There are STEM charter and public schools popping up all over Northern Virginia -- some are even segregated by gender at the behest of Women in Leadership -- women promoting segregation in STEM schools! 2016-- wow!


Once again, JohnQ doesn't know what he is talking about... See OR OR


The fact that the United States has fallen from 1st to 30th is Math, 1st to 23rd in Science and 1st to 20 in reading on the Global Education Scale says all you need to know about the Public School Systems. Facts are facts. and all your BS won't change the facts. John Q does know what its talking about that's why they want their kids out of the massive education failure that is the public school system. A system that hold a lemonade day every year so they can trade around bad teachers. Where Years of service override performance and keeps you from getting fired. One has to look no farther then New York where a room is provided for teachers pulled from class rooms but continue to be paid for up to 5 years even after molesting a student. Or FCPS where teachers are let go while the administration continues to hire 100,000 dollar administrators. Hayduke you need to start every comment with Im an FCPS employee. At least be honest that you are part of the system.


It may say something about the country as a whole, especially when you count places like Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah. When you pull out the top systems in the nation, which Frederick has been counted among (the number don't lie), those students compare much better than the national average. The flip side of it is people like you through out red herrings, especially from other places in the country, that gives the county commissioners excuses to under fund education. You know why there is not a stronger STEM program? It is because the BOCC has considered it expense fluff. You go ask the Superintendent or the BOE on whether they would want to have programs like that, and the would jump at the chance. But that is hard to do when BOCC constantly strives to fund under MOE. Maybe you should be honest that you don't think quality public education is worth the price tag.


James, I am NOT an FCPS employee..... However, I will gladly admit to holding a post master's degree in education, among other degrees. Your arguments, made by the ill informed are not helpful.


Jamus- check out where the United States ranks 3rd in overall education, which includes universities, public schools, etc....


hayduke - I think you need to pay better attention to the links you provide. The ranking system was described as follows:

"The Best Countries for Education are ranked based on scores on a compilation of three equally weighted country attributes: has top quality universities, well-developed public education system and would consider attending university there."

It's easy to see that 2 of the 3 factors have NOTHING TO DO with our K-12 public education system, and the 3rd (middle) factor leaves a lot of wiggle room for interpretation of what is meant by "well-developed" - i.e., it's not necessarily an endorsement of the overall quality of our K-12 public schools.


hayduke - Thanks for the links, but I'm left wondering: Did you even read them? They carry a pretty balanced message and actually reinforce some of the points jqF was making (e.g., program offerings in charter schools motivating public schools to follow suit.) I thought it especially interesting that both mentioned the relatively greater benefit of charter school attendance for poor, minority students in comparison to the non-poor.


Yes Glen, I did read the links and stand by them. They are balanced but make the point that charter schools overall fair no better than public schools and suffer the same issues as public education - John Q claims that they provide competition and in my mind, the articles certainly refute that claim.

As far as your earlier comment, I believe the article that lists talks about the Best Countries for Education does indeed mention higher education - I for one believe that the reference to higher education is dependent on a successful public school system unless you believe that only charter school can prepare kids for academic success. Your condescending attitude is a bit boorish.


Condescension notwithstanding, I'd suggest you view the following link to better understand how the rankings were obtained:


Catholic schools are not charter schools or even possible as a public school and charter schools receive tax money, so they are subject to the laws of the state and federal government. Separation of church and state.


Once again Tom Nuemark plays fast and loose with the facts as he continues to push for the students in his publically funded private school receiving more money and the expense of the rest of the students in Frederick County Schools.


Not his's a Frederick County Public Charter School..he steppe down last summer.


"Bernie" Neumark makes it hard for charter school supporters like me. Lots of "free" and "more" with no explanation of how it will all get paid for.

Optional pension plan? Sounds great, but since current contributions help pay for current benefits, either the currently- or nearly-retired get less or someone else (taxpayers) pays more.

"Full" funding instead of 68%? Lovely, but that means the students at charter schools would be free-riding on systemwide expenses (transportation, accounting, administration, etc.) Either everyone else in the system gets less or someone (taxpayers) pays more.

No school in the FCPS system gets 100% of the average system cost per student. Why should a charter school be any different?


Thanks JMG - that's what I thought so the writer wants to create two sykstems and pit each against the other?


Are these teachers on the same salary scale as FCPS ?


Yes, the teachers are on the same scale as FCPS, so how would this have been possible? It stands to reason that if the school were receiving funding for transportation that they do not (unlike other local public schools schools) provide, that money could instead go toward salaries. Unfortunately, that $$ would come out of someone else's budget. There's nothing in this letter that indicates that charter schools have some inherent ability to pay teachers better.


What the LTE proposes and what Hogan's law would have allowed is that FCPS not be the employer of the Charter school teachers at all. The non-profit FCCS would become the employer which allows the freedom to increase salaries for teachers. This is the way most Charter Schools operate. Do a little research on facts, less taking the word of people inside the system. Let's think differently, like we ask our kids to do.


And where do you think the money for that would come from? Do a little research on the facts and less taking the word of what the Charter School advocates are feeding you.


Do a little research on facts - Practice what you preach annimal....


Most charter schools that operate independently of local public school districts actually pay teachers LESS than the regular public schools. (Same story with private school teachers.) If Hogan's law were passed, what happens to the FCPS teachers with years of tenure who are suddenly no longer employed by FCPS? My understanding was that even the staff of FCCS opposed the law. I don't believe that providing higher teacher salaries had anything to do with its intent. It was all about more autonomy for the charter schools.

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