Tag Archives: Alonzo Washington

Prince George’s school board approves credit card ban.


Prince George’s school board has the green light to cut up their credit cards after a unanimous Feb. 12 vote to adopt a reimbursement policy.

The new policy will take effect in April, said school board chairman Segun Eubanks.

The board decided to take action following of dollars in local meals on their board-issued credit cards.

Delegate Alonzo Washington (D-Dist. 22) of Hyattsville proposed House Bill 707 to the General Assembly that would take away the county-issued cards, but Washington said he would withdraw his legislation if the school board passed the ban themselves.

David Cahn, co-chair for the education watchdog “Citizens for an Elected Board,” commended the board for the move and said it was preferable for the board to ban the cards themselves.

“A lot of times, legislation like this is created to get the target of the legislation to do it voluntarily,” Cahn said.

The new policy also caps the amount board members can get reimbursed for local meals to $39 for dinner, and lesser amounts for breakfast and lunch, and limits the number of local work-related meals for which a board member may be reimbursed to two per week.

Board member Verjeana Jacobs (Dist. 5) motioned to amend the policy to allow board members to carry over unused amounts of their expense accounts to be donated to school-based programs in the following fiscal year, pending approval from the board.

Prior to Jacobs’ amendment, the revised policy stated that unspent funds could be donated to schools or school programs at the end of June, when schools are not in session, Jacobs said.

“So what happens is funds left over from this year will go over to next year, and that will give board members an opportunity to present to the board different activities or events or things that they feel are good for schools, and make recommendations for funds to go there,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs’ amendment was approved unanimously.

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Prince George’s legislator aims to create alternative to suspension

Pilot would provide community service for some offenders


Prince George’s high school students may be assigned community service as opposed to suspension or expulsion under a proposed pilot program.

“I went to school in Prince George’s County,” said Del. Alonzo Washington (D-Dist. 22) of Hyattsville who proposed the alternate suspension program. “I’ve seen the numbers, I’ve talked to principals, I’ve talked to students, I’ve talked to parents, and we need another solution.”

During the 2013-14 school year, 13,846 students were suspended or expelled from Prince George’s County Public Schools, more than half — 7,463 — for insubordination or disruption, according to information from the Maryland State Department of Education.

Washington’s bill would create a program at three county high schools that would assign community service rather than suspension for nonviolent, nonsexual offenses committed on school property.

“We can’t continue to suspend our kids and keep them out of the classroom,” Washington said. “We need to find a way to keep the learning going.”

Washington said it is difficult for many working families to provide daytime supervision to suspended students, and that lack of supervision, combined with idleness, can lead suspended students to get into more trouble.

“By providing community service, we would be providing more of a learning experience for students,” Washington said.

School board chairman Segun Eubanks said the school board has yet to take an official position on the bill. Eubanks said the board’s Policy, Legislative and Legal Review Committee will consider the bill during its next meeting, which has yet to be scheduled.

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Md. General Assembly Considers Taking PGCPS School Board Credit Cards


Maryland state legislators will consider a bill to strip government-issued, taxpayer-funded credit cards from members of the Prince George’s County School Board.

The bill, already formally drafted and submitted, would take effect July 1, 2016. The legislation’s supporters referenced recent reports by the News-4 I-Team, which detailed controversial credit card expenses by board members, while lobbying on behalf of the bill.

The proposed legislation, authored by Prince George’s County State Delegate Alonzo Washington, would require school board members instead pay their future expenses upfront, then seek reimbursement through vouchers. The use of credit cards would be prohibited.

An October review of Prince George’s County School Board credit card expenses by the I-Team revealed some members of the board purchased dozens of meals at local restaurants with their cards, totaling several thousand dollars over the course of a year. Those meals included steak, seafood and desserts and were purchased at local restaurants within minutes of offices and members’ homes.

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Prince George’s bill would create tax for school construction

Opponents say legislation would have chilling effect on business recruitment


Prince George’s shoppers may soon be asked to help foot the bill to reduce the school system’s $2 billion school maintenance backlog.

“If Prince George’s County is going to excel, if we are going to give our students a 21st century education in safe, modern buildings, then we need to get our schools in shape,” said General Assembly Del. Jay Walker (D-Dist. 26) of Fort Washington, co-sponsor of the bill.

Prince George’s 413-15, sponsored by Walker and Del. Alonzo Washington (D-Dist. 22) of Hyattsville, would allow the county to create a 1 percent sales tax, with the funds to go to school renovation and construction.

The bill would require approval from the County Council and referendum approval by voters in the 2016 November General Election.

Walker said the bill, if approved, would generate at least $60 million yearly in revenue for major renovation and construction projects.

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