Letter to the Editor: Talbot County Schools Needs Checks and Balances

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In light of all the debate concerning the county budget and the demands of the school system; as a former, but recent, school board member, there is much I can relate.

First, the school board knows nothing about where any of the school system’s money is spent. This is known only by the superintendent and a very few of her closest confidants. In my desire to be a responsible and knowledgeable board member, I asked many times for expenditure information. I got nothing. In my frustration, I typed a letter requesting such information in the form of a freedom of information act request. I handed it to our current superintendent personally. She read it, laughed, and handed it back. Again, I got nothing.

Second, the budget has little to do with where the money actually is spent. I witnessed this as a teacher in Talbot County for six years, and a board member for four years. As a board member, I once asked where the money was spent for an entire category in the budget for outside printing. I got an answer that I could verify: the answer was a lie. I asked again, and got two more answers from two different people, one being the superintendent.

Let me tell you about the “competitive” bidding process at TCPS. Once before us was a contract for heating oil. I was told that bids had been obtained. There are several local vendors that provide this service, so I checked. None knew anything about a proposed contract with TCPS.

Our children are bussed in the most expensive new busses known to man. The presentation to the board was a complete farce. The bids are worded so very carefully that only the preferred vendor could possibly be successful.

My point is there are no checks and balances. This administration has a free hand to spend our money as they see fit. And spend they have. Where? Nobody knows, but the budget goes up every year. I have absolutely no confidence that this administration is honest. Quite the contrary.

The school administration is asking for huge increase, $4M, not that anything has changed much since last year, but just because they can. This will raise our property taxes to a cumulative 18% since 2013. Not only raise our taxes this year, but forever. Soon, a new $50M elementary school is to be built. Who gets the tab for that? You and me.

I did not run for reelection to the school board in the last election. It became obvious I could have no effect on the corruption within. I was wasting my time. We must stand up for fiscal responsibility and transparency in the budget. If we continue to allow this runaway spending which requires ever increasing taxes, our county and way of life are doomed.

Greg Criniti
Easton

 

Letters to Editor

  1. It is a shame the good people like Greg Critniti have been used and abused by those who should have been working with him, not against him for the good of our county. How is it that those who have been given positions of trust and for the good of our children have been hijacked by those very same people we thought we could trust?

    The Talbot County School board has assumed the position of the robber baron who is out for the money and has tossed the word honesty and integrity into the trash can. They are using the mandated clause of the “maintenance of effort” to hijack our entire county into paying outrageous and continually creeping increases in rates on our property taxes that can never be lowered, only escalated as time goes on. At this rate we will be assuming an 18% rate increase by the following year.

    There are many wealthy people in our county, but they are far from being the majority, as there are many of us barely scraping by…for us, this is disastrous…

    There is a meeting of the council on Tuesday evening …we should all be there before our fate is sealed by some draconian law they claim can never be undone…However, people who can see beyond the threat do realize that anything made by man can be undone by another…”maintenance of effort” is only words written by another…there is no such thing as forever, even for the Talbot County School Board!

  2. Robert Meade says:

    I understand that there may be some sour grapes in this letter/opinion piece but several of the points, if valid, should be a concern. I don’t know how the school board can do any quality work on a budget and not know how the money was spent in the past year. There also seems to be a question on the bidding process. All contract bidding should be open and above board. I recognize that the good ole boy process lives well in Talbot County but deserve nothing less than transparency in all purchases, contracts and any other expenditures.

  3. Alice Lippson says:

    If this is true it is a disgrace.

    • Richard Marks says:

      And if it is not true, it is a particularly unfortunate castigation of our school superintendent. Regardless, I would surmise ‘our county and way of life are not doomed’. That hyperbolic statement, in and of itself, makes me wonder about the writer’s frame of mind and intent with such accusations. If Mr. Criniti is correct and wants to affect change, why is he quitting after such a short tenure?

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