- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It was with utmost dismay that I read the article in the Sept. 5 edition concerning the new rule that bans all St. Mary’s County public school employees from holding any position on a PTA or booster executive board.
We live in a small community and the school district employees not only work here, but they also live here and their children go to school here. I am confident that school employees who serve these groups are not doing so to make money or garner prestige. More likely, they are acting as engaged parents on behalf of their children as well as on behalf of all children in our community to whom they have dedicated their careers.
I believe the school employees are often the best candidates to serve on the executive boards of these supportive organizations. Employees know the resources and weaknesses within the school system and they know whom to contact to get things done. Their jobs keep them in the county so it is possible for them to attend meetings and organize events during or immediately after school hours, whereas many other parents have jobs that require them to commute or travel often.
The Chopticon marching band is a prime example of how this rule would be detrimental to students, the school and St. Mary’s County as a whole. This marching band has been the state champions for the past three years in a row. This year band members have been honored with an invitation to perform at the 50th anniversary Pearl Harbor parade in Hawaii.
After witnessing the preparations for their performances firsthand, there is no doubt in my mind that their remarkable success has been not only due to the dedication of the band director, Todd Burroughs, but also in large part because of the support of the band boosters. These volunteers literally build the props used in the shows, transport them on and off the fields, drive the trailers that haul the equipment, organize local performances and spend countless hours fundraising to allow the band to accept invitations to perform. Three members of the current booster board are school district employees.
While I agree that there needs to be uniformity across the county in how these groups are run, some of these new rules seem to go a bit too far and will be more detrimental than helpful in the long run. Financial guidelines are fine, but banning certain members of our community from holding leadership positions is not. If you are in agreement, please sign the petition that will be circulating in your neighborhood to get this clause repealed.
Dr. Jennifer Schmidt, Avenue