Tag Archives: Rushern Baker

Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County school leaders face tough questioning from Maryland lawmakers


ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A confrontation played out in Annapolis between Prince George’s County leaders over the school system and how it is being run.

On Tuesday, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell and School Board chair Dr. Segun Eubanks faced tough questions from Prince George’s County state lawmakers who are considering changing the structure of the school system after a host of problems.

Several years ago, lawmakers voted to allow Baker extraordinary control over the school system after a high turnover of superintendents. It allowed Baker to select the superintendent as well as part of the school board. In most districts, an all-elected board chooses the superintendent.

Maryland State Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s), the co-chair of the Prince George’s County House Delegation, asked about accountability.

“Who do we hold accountable for fraudulent graduation rates? Walker asked. “Who do we hold accountable for nepotism in the school system? Who do we hold accountable for graduates crying on their graduation day? Who do we held accountable for sexual predators taking advantage of our kids in our school system?”

In response, Baker said he is responsible. He didn’t point to his choice for head of schools and said he still stands behind Dr. Maxwell.

FOX 5 asked Baker what he says to those who believe the experiment to give him greater control over the school system has failed.

PGCPS CEO Maxwell to meet with lawmakers next week
“I would tell them to look at the progress we’ve made in Prince George’s County,” Baker said. “I think the number of people putting their children back in our school system, you look at the scholarships the children are getting, look at the programs that we’re coming up with.”

Walker said he has seen no evidence this system of governance benefits students.

“I asked [Baker] time and time again to show me something that has been better and there has been no indicators here,” Walker said. “It hasn’t been test scores, it hasn’t been attendance, it hasn’t been college readiness. So we need to find accountability.”

When asked if he had faith in Dr. Maxwell as head of Prince George’s County Public Schools, Walker responded, “Absolutely not.”

The process to potentially take away the county executive’s control of the school system is just beginning, with efforts underway to make it a reality this legislation session.

Baker is running for Maryland governor, so he is definitely leaving his county post later this year, but he said he will still fight for this governance structure of the school system because he believes it is best for the county.

via Fox5DC


Democratic party machine in Maryland set for major losses in 2018 after coverups.


Here is a poster which will cost the Democratic Party in Maryland dearly in 2018. Unless Democratic Party machine in Maryland does something to change the perseption, Mr. Baker appears determined to go down with the entire Democratic Party system in Maryland after engaging in a series of misleading posts such as the one shown above.

Everybody knows Mr. Baker did not fight corruption. If anything, he promoted and covered up serious issues to the detriment of Prince George’s county. There continues to be major political violations including promotion of candidates with ties to corruption and corrupt networks such as Mr. Calvin Hawkins.  (See post below) Money disappeared under Mr. Hawkins and then covered up, yet he wants to be elected for at large seat in 2018. How is that going to happen without accountability?

In this paper, we study candidate self-selection with respect to two dimensions of character: public spirit, which is defined as altruism toward other citizens, and honesty, which is defined as susceptibility to corruption. Those two characteristics impact the quality of governance, defined as the net benefit the representative citizen derives from the public sector. In our model, citizens who run for office may hope to benefit from both legitimate compensation (salary and ego-rents) and illicit compensation (contributions or bribes from interest groups). Moreover, dishonest citizens extract greater rents from holding office because of special interest politics. As a result, the citizens with the greatest incentive to run for office are those who are maximally dishonest, and either maximally or minimally public-spirited.


There continues to be major political violations including promotion of candidates with ties to corruption and corrupt networks such as Mr. Calvin Hawkins.  (See post below) Money disappeared under Mr. Hawkins and then covered up, yet he wants to be elected for at large seat in 2018. How is that going to happen without accountability?

On another note, Others online feel that, Mr. Baker should retire and spend more time caring for his wife who has been sick. (See posts below). Either way, if Mr. Baker is going to be in the ballot for any position in the next several months, watch this space, the Maryland Democratic machine in Maryland will suffer loses never seen before. They will pay the price for cover up of corruption in multiple areas starting with the school systems.

The problem for Democrats is not money, Trump, or, even as some suggest, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The problem for Democrats is they suffer from a cultural detachment as shown in this case here or in the recent elections in the South and areas of the Midwest and now promotion of candidates such as Mr. Baker in Maryland. Until they are willing to accept candidates that don’t adhere to left-wing orthodoxy promulgated by the party at the national level, they’ll keep losing, just like they did in Georgia and South Carolina.

Contrary to the false narrative many helped build about people who live in the south, many of them are not the all-encompassing right-wing fanatics people make them out to be. They are sympathetic to Democratic positions on issues such as healthcare, entitlements and the economy.

Trump won big in the South because he stressed economic issues above all else, but he aligned himself with voters on cultural issues such as abortion and the Second Amendment. People in the South have concerns with trade practices, NAFTA and the lack of manufacturing jobs. But they also have guns to protect their homes and go to the range from time to time to shoot. They also sympathize with the unborn, and when Democrats condescendingly dismiss their concerns with a finger wag or adhere to Pelosi-held viewpoints, they look to Republicans.

Democratic Party in Maryland has been making positive statements on the surface and then doing the complete opposite is what will bring the party down hard. For example,..  …”Democrats know that achieving the American dream requires strong public schools that level the playing field for young people regardless of income, gender or race. And it requires an open heart and warm welcome to immigrants who seek opportunity to work and become Americans in our land of opportunity. Those are the values we will celebrate this holiday weekend at picnics, parades, and family parties all across our beautiful state of Maryland.” …. Those who are in touch with reality knows the opposite of this statement to be true.

Democrats have to change how they recruit candidates to run for offices in Maryland, the south and midwest. If they keep using the same playbook, there will be plenty of moral victories, but it will be Republicans taking oaths of office as the democratic party shrinks in numbers never seen before.

more to come.





Prince George’s New Planning Director Is Not Actually a Planner


Ms. M. Andree Green – Prince George’s New Planning Director Is Not Actually a Planner. She began her tenure as Planning Director on January 18. She replaces Dr. Fern V. Piret, who retired after serving 26 years in that position.

Via @PGUrbanist

In a curious move, somewhat reminiscent of President Trump’s recent cabinet appointments, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has selected someone with no formal training or professional experience in planning to serve as the director of the Prince George’s County Planning Department. No other jurisdiction in the Washington region has made such a choice, and for good reason: such a decision defies common sense, and it likely contravenes Maryland law.

Attorney M. Andree Green (Checkley), of Upper Marlboro, began her tenure as Planning Director on January 18. She replaces Dr. Fern V. Piret, who retired after serving 26 years in that position. For the past six years, Green worked as the County Attorney for Prince George’s. Before that, she worked for approximately eleven years in the legal department of M-NCPPC, the quasi-independent state agency responsible for planning, zoning, parks, and recreation in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Without question, Green is an experienced government lawyer, with nearly two decades of experience working in Prince George’s County. But Green is not a planner. She has never worked as a planner as has no educational background in planning. So how and why is she now being paid $192,000 a year to be the county’s Planning Director?

Green is Unqualified for the Planning Director Position

The Prince George’s County Planning Director is supposed to be an experienced planning professional. The position description for the job, which we obtained from M-NCPPC, states that the minimum qualifications are “at least 12 years of progressively responsible and broad-ranged planning experience that includes four years of planning experience at the managerial level, preferably five years at the department manager level.”

Green has zero years of professional planning experience, either at the managerial or non-managerial level. The American Planning Association’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the national body that verifies and certifies the professional qualifications of planners. According to AICP standards, Green lacks even the minimum level of professional planning experience to be eligible to take the certification exam.

Thus, Green did not meet the minimum qualifications for the job when she was hired. Indeed, Green does not even meet the minimum qualifications for the currently-posted position for Deputy Planning Director, which requires 10 years of professional planning experience and preferably two years at the managerial level.

By contrast, nearly all of the other planning directors in the Washington metropolitan area had more than 15 years of prior management-level experience in planning before assuming their respective positions, and most are AICP-certified. [UPDATE: For a comparison of the qualifications of the region’s planning directors, see this chart.]

M-NCPPC Likely Violated State Law By Hiring Green

The state law creating M-NCPPC specifically provides that the Planning Director and Deputy Planning Director in Prince George’s County “shall have education or professional experience in a field relevant to the responsibilities of that department.” As judged by the agency’s own criteria, as set out in the job descriptions, Green does not possess the requisite education or professional experience for either position. Therefore, M-NCPPC’s hiring of Green was arguably arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to Maryland law.

M-NCPPC spokeswoman Andrea Davey stated that the Planning Director position was posted on a variety of websites for approximately three months, from August 2–October 31, 2016, and that a total of four candidates were selected for interview. The agency would not disclose the identity of the other three candidates, citing confidentiality laws. However, Davey did indicate that the agency “did not deem it necessary to employ an executive search firm” in connection with this position.

Dorothy Bailey, Vice-Chair of M-NCPPC’s Prince George’s County Planning Board and a member of the selection committee, stated that Green was “second-to-none in her commitment to Prince George’s County, and in her know-how of the critical nuts and bolts involved in the planning process.” Board chairwoman Elizabeth M. Hewlett also cited favorably to Green’s “proven managerial experience and keen legal acumen.”

Green may well be a committed public servant, and she certainly has relevant legal knowledge and managerial experience. But she lacks any prior professional experience or training in planning—and that makes her selection as Planning Director untenable, and possibly unlawful.

How Can M-NCPPC Fix This?

Green’s employment contract is for two years, and it contains a “sweetheart” severance provision requiring the agency to pay her 12 full months of salary ($192,000) if it breaks the contract without cause. However, M-NCPPC could likely still void the contract without penalty, since Green did not have the requisite experience for the job to begin with. Additionally, the severance provision could itself be unlawful, since state law requires that the Planning Director and Deputy Planning Director shall “serve at the pleasure of the Prince George’s County Planning Board.”

Ideally, M-NCPPC should consider reopening the Planning Director position and conducting a national search for a truly qualified and experienced professional planner with a proven track record in leading a large urban planning department. If possible, Green could be offered another position within the agency that meets with her actual qualifications and experience (e.g., a position in the legal department or in intergovernmental affairs).

Perhaps more than any other jurisdiction in the Washington region, Prince George’s County needs an experienced and innovative professional planner to lead its planning department—someone who can advocate effectively against the county’s overdependence on outer-Beltway sprawl development, help develop a workable plan for transit-oriented development and revitalization around the neighborhood gateway Metro stations near DC’s border, and oversee the implementation of a new 21st century zoning ordinance, among other priorities. Let’s hope M-NCPPC will make that happen.



Petition to County Executive Baker for trash removal Currently Underway!

Full trash bins in Prince George’s County

The petition which has already attracted over  5,481 supporters reads in part:

The decision to reduce trash pickup to once a week is having a negative effect in our community.  The smell of rotting garbage, neighborhood filled with overflowing trash receptacles, and the attraction of animal life is not what we the taxpaying citizens of Prince George’s County want or deserve.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen services and incentives for business such as National Harbor increase, while the services for our families such as leaf collections, school repairs, and now trash pickups have been cut back, without even having us be a part of the decision making process.  It’s time to have our voices be heard by the County Executive, and the Prince Georges County Council.  Not just at election time.

Sign up here >>> https://www.change.org/p/county-executive-rushern-l-baker-iii-we-want-trash-collection-in-prince-george-s-county-md-to-return-to-a-twice-a-week-schedule

Wusa 9 and NBC 4 previously covered the trash mess in Prince George’s County  as shown here and here.


County Executive Rushern Baker III is presiding a county with major trash problems this year.


Full trash bins in Prince George’s County



2 PGCPS Students Arrested for the May 8 homicide

LARGO – Detectives from the Prince George’s County Police Department’s homicide unit have made arrests in the fatal shooting of an Upper Marlboro man that occurred near Prince George’s Community College earlier this month and it involves two (2) Students in Prince George’s County Public schools (PGCPS).

Homicide detectives have arrested 17-year-old Christopher Pineda of the 800 block of Narrowleaf Drive in Largo, and 19-year-old Erik Parham Jr. of the 5900 block of H Street in Fairmount Heights, in relation to the homicide.

Around 9:30 p.m. on May 8 2016, police responded to the 500 block of Harry S. Truman Drive for the report of a person shot. Upon arriving, they found 22-year-old Alim Rahim in a car suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Preliminarily, police said the motive appears to be a marijuana-related robbery. The two suspects have admitted to their involvement in the homicide and are charged with first-degree murder. They are in custody of the department of corrections on a no-bond status.

Court records show that Rahim was arrested in April 2012 for several counts of burglary, destroying property and theft. He was also arrested in Charles and Calvert County on a number of other charges.

Court records also show that in June 2015, Parham was arrested and charged with over a dozen traffic violations, ranging from failure to stop after an accident to leaving the scene of an accident.

The Reform Sasscer Movement argues the county Executive and the school board to commit resources on social services to avert these social problems which are on the rise within the Prince George’s county.




….He Admits System Failed in Child Porn Case


Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III)

The Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is in disarray amid allegations of corruption at the highest levels leading to calls from the members of the public for a thorough audit and a full investigation after latest sexual molestation of children. There are also demands that certain members of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County to be replaced and that the Board of Education for Prince George’s County take responsibility for growing scandals, financial mismanagement and debts of which they accuse the Maryland Governor of withholding US $20 million while the same Board is spending more than US $30 million in salaries and other issues unrelated to education at Sasscer administrative building in Upper Marlboro for personal glory. We will update you with more in-depth reporting and the way forward in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III has emerged from a closet to try and calm waters. NBC4  Reports that, the Board of education is considering ways to address the issue and protect children from sexual predators after outcry from the community.

After an elementary school choir director was accused earlier this month of filming child pornography inside a school, Prince George’s County Public Schools leaders are reviewing the district’s protocols on reporting abuse.

School board members told News4 on Thursday they want to figure out how Deonte Carraway, 22, was able to videotape and molest as many as 17 students during school hours, according to Prince George’s County police.

“These are our students. We have a duty to keep them safe, and we need to do whatever it takes to make that happen,” Board Member Ed Burroughs said. “That might mean adding teeth and penalties to certain aspects of our policies. I hope there are a coalition of people willing to do that.”

Prince George’s County Schools Review Policies After Sex Abuse Reports

Prince George's County Schools Review Policies After Sex Abuse Reports

The Prince George’s County school board is meeting to discuss proposals to better protect children at school from sexual abuse. But as Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins shows, there are questions about just how far the board can go. (Published Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016)

Carraway, of Glenarden, is accused of filming “vile sexual acts” between childrenages 9 to 13 while working as a volunteer school aide and youth choir director at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary.

According to court documents, the FBI discovered dozens of videos depicting child pornography, some of which appeared to have been recorded in a school restroom. Carraway can be seen in one video molesting a child, according to the documents. In other videos, he can be heard directing the victims.

Police said Carraway victimized children at school, the Zion Praise Tabernacle Lutheran Church, Glenarden Municipal Center, Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center and inside homes.

“Clearly, based on what happened, something failed,” board chairman Segun Eubanks said.

The school district allows volunteers, like Carraway, to be alone with students on school grounds.

“There is not an explicit administrative procedure that I know of that says explicitly that no volunteer can ever be alone with a student,” Eubanks said.

The school board will review that policy, along with its volunteer-hiring procedures, background check policies and protocol for reporting abuse within schools.

In a lawsuit filed against the school district, Principal Michelle Williams was accused of taking no action after the guardian of a 9-year-old boy discovered a sexually explicit photo Carraway allegedly sent the child using the app Kik.

Asked what is the district’s procedure for responding to the report, Eubanks said, “The principal is legally obligated first to report to Child Protective Services and to report to his or her immediate supervisor.”

Nothing criminal was found in Carraway’s background check before he started working for the school in November 2014, officials have said.

However, he did have a juvenile sex offense record, sources told News4.

The background checks are conducted by a private company, officials said.

Parents outside Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary said a review of school policies is a step in the right direction, but only a step.

“A background check is not going to bring out what type of person you are at heart,” one mother said. “That is nothing but paper.”

The board member said he’s hoping administrators will act fast to prevent other students from being victimized.

Read more  NBC4 pgcps_logo


County refuses to release names of Board of Education applicants

imageUPPER MARLBORO – Eight people have applied for the Board of Education seat vacated by Dan Kaufman, but county officials refused to disclose the names of the applicants to The Sentinel.

Tehani Collazo, the county executive’s education policy advisor, said County Executive Rushern Baker III’s office will not release the names, citing issues of confidentiality and privacy. The legal counsel for Baker suggested that under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) general provisions (GP) four through 101 and beyond, they have a justification for withholding names since they are only in the “accepting applications” stage of selecting an at-large board member.

“If you are simply jotting down a list of names to consider for the BOE vacancy, a strong argument can be made that the list of names could be withheld as an ‘intra-agency letter or memorandum’ under the MPIA exemption, found under GP 4-344,” Collazo said in an email response to The Sentinel.

In addition, the legal counsel advised that because the application process remains ongoing, all information pertaining to the applicants will come from the application documents, which are also considered “personal documents.”

“If you are at the stage where you are accepting applications, under GP 4-311, the names of those seeking appointment to an office may not be disclosed if the information is derived from their applications because they would be considered as ‘personnel records,’” Collazo said.

Baker’s legal counsel sought the rulings of the case of Office of the Governor v. Washington Post Company from 2000 and a letter from Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe to Senator Leo E. Green in 2002. The case in 2000 ruled that government officials have no obligation under the MPIA to disclose any memoranda, letter, or similar internal government documents, which contain confidential conversations, that are used in the decision-making process. The letter from Rowe to Green speaks specifically to the release of the names applicants to the Board of Education citing applications as personal records, which are prohibited from being disclosed under law.

While Baker’s office cites the law as justification for not disclosing the applicants’ names, some citizens involved in Prince George’s County Public Schools said feel the county administrations needs to have more transparency.

Felicia Meadows, an employee and “product” of Prince George’s County Public Schools, said she believes one person shouldn’t have “sole responsibility in the selection of something that affects a large organization.”

“There is a distrust of political officials overall, therefore transparency is needed to regain the trust of the people,” Meadows said. “In every other arena, full disclosure of applicants is made available to ensure that candidates are qualified and can meet the needs of the positions for which they are applying.”

Meadows, said she hopes Baker will select a board member who is dedicated to the needs of the children in the district, rather than personal agendas.

“People who are selected to sit on the Board should have a vested interest in education and our children and not use their position for personal or professional gain,” Meadows said.

Via Prince George’s county sentinel


Prince George’s County Seat Could Be Moving to Largo


The Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III is buying a new building for his office, and it could mean a big transition for a central part of the county’s government. The idea is suprising as the County is said not to have money. Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports, the move has people wondering about the future of the county’s seat. (Published Friday, Jul 10, 2015)

A new multimillion-dollar building in Largo, Maryland, for the Prince George’s County Executive’s office could mean a major move for part of the county government.

Details are still being worked out, but the possible move has some folks wondering about the future of the county seat, which has been in Upper Marlboro since its founding in 1696. But Upper Marlboro is considered somewhat remote and hard to get to, which is why the county government has slowly moved to Largo since County Executive Rushern Baker took office.

Largo is right off the Beltway and in the center of the county. The county has been buying property in that area – most recently 1301 McCormick Drive, purchased for $21.7 million. Sources close to the purchase say it was bought to be the new home of the County Executive’s Office and the County Council.

The County Council withheld the $12 million needed to actually move those offices. Some council members aren’t clear on why that particular location will benefit workers and residents, sources say.
Meanwhile, Upper Marlboro’s Main Street business owners, who depend on those county workers, are concerned.

>>> Read more NBC 4

imageCurrent Prince George’s County HQ is in perfect shape.prince-large1***

Rainy-day fund in Pr. George’s is at its lowest point in several years & Baker refuses to take responsibility.


Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III has not done a good job as a county executive. High level of mismanagement and plain sight corruption includes among other issues $10 million for “snow removal” which drove the deficit to $62.5 million. This suspicious activities are not helping the county. The effects of corruption on Prince George’s County socio-political and economic development are myriad. Prince George’s County Government officials have been shifting government expenditures to areas in which they can collect bribes easily, it appears.

The rainy-day fund maintained by Prince George’s County is at its lowest level in more than five years after county officials’ withdrawal of money to cover budget shortfalls, snow removal and economic-development incentives.

County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and the County Council each blame the other for the depletion, with Baker officials saying the council should have approved cost-saving furloughs and layoffs in recent years while county lawmakers say the executive branch should have shelved other priorities to save money.

The county has $4 million in cash reserves, down from $116 million in 2010 and $22 million in 2014. The latter amount was enough to maintain the AAA bond rating that allows Prince George’s to borrow money relatively cheaply.

County officials say they want to build the fund back up to $30 million in coming years — enough to cover emergencies and ensure that the bond rating will remain strong.

“We are really concerned, because there is no more cushion,” said Thomas Himler, the county’s budget administrator. “It’s like having someone who makes $100,000 annually but only has $140 in their savings account. . . . That is where we are, and it’s not a good place.”

The county safeguards 7 percent of its annual operating budget in an “economic stabilization fund,” which cannot be touched except in cases of extreme and dire emergency. There is about $200 million in that fund.

The remaining cash reserves include whatever other revenues exceed expenditures. That is the fund from which officials have withdrawn $65 million over the past two years to cover shortfalls and one-time expenditures, and it is the fund that county officials say must now be replenished.

“The truth is that it doesn’t matter how we got here, because we are here,” said council member Andrea Harrison (D-Springdale).

But she and other council members have balked at furloughs and layoffs included in Baker’s latest budget proposal, which will go to a council vote on Thursday.

Council members say they will definitely not agree to fire or furlough county workers as a way to curb spending.

“Nobody has an appetite for furloughs,” Baker said. “I campaigned on not doing furloughs,” he added. But then he held up two fingers close together and said Wall Street was “this close” to reducing the county’s credit rating.

The county is still reeling from the recession and foreclosure crisis, which sapped much of the collective wealth of the nation’s most affluent majority-black jurisdictions. Property values are sluggish, and so far, Baker has failed to generate widespread support for his proposal to raise the tax rate as a way to increase funding for public schools.

The county is at “such a low point that we risk losing our Triple-A bond rating,” Baker said. “We have to make do with what we have.”

Previous county executives balked at withdrawing money from the reserve fund, especially for ongoing costs. In 2009, then-county executive Jack Johnson (D) refused to use reserves to plug budget gaps, opting instead for a hiring freeze and furloughs. Before Johnson, Wayne K. Curry (D) vowed to set aside a percentage of county revenue for cash reserves and resisted pressure from the council to spend that money on other things.

Baker’s aides say that initially he, too, was reluctant to dip into cash reserves. But consecutive years of spending cuts and unforeseen expenses have left the county without good options, they added.

Baker and the council tapped the fund to cover millions of dollars in cost-of-living payments to police officers after an arbitrator ruled that the county’s pay freeze was unlawful.

The fund was tapped again after snow removal cost millions more than expected during the winter of 2013-14. And it was used to fund economic-development incentives for private companies.

In addition, after teacher pension costs were shifted from the state to counties in 2012, it became harder to set aside money for the reserve fund, officials said.

David Jacobson of the ratings agency Moody’s said that Prince George’s has historically had a “stable financial position” and so far has not reported numbers that have caused worry. But the agency has not yet analyzed the 2015 numbers.

When ratings agencies assess cash reserves, they are interested in whether a local government can meet its debt obligations with the money it has or generates, said George Mason University’s Frank Shafroth.

If elected officials are taking money out of reserves, the salient question might be not how much they are withdrawing but for what purpose.

At the same time, the ratings agency Fitch did issue this warning in 2014, when the reserves had dipped to $22 million: “Failure to improve financial performance by adhering to structurally balanced budgets and stabilizing reserves would likely result in negative rating action.”

By Arelis Hernández covers Prince George’s County as part of The Washington Post’s local staff.


Prince George’s Baker gives up on raising property taxes 15 percent


County Executive Rushern Baker III

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – A proposed plan to help turnaround the Prince George’s County school system has been dramatically scaled back.

Through a spokesman, council members declined to comment on the revamped proposal in advance of Thursday’s vote. Before Wednesday, not a single council member had come out in support of the 15 percent tax increase.

Now, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is instead asking for $65 million to pay for improvements designed to make the struggling school system one of the top 10 in Maryland.

Originally, Baker called for a 15 percent property tax increase to the tune of $133 million to pay for his plan. The new proposal is about half of the original amount, but would still likely require some form of a tax increase.

However, Prince George’s county is consistently in the top 5 spenders amongst large school districts in the country. Many of us don’t think the amount is the problem… the problem is what they are spending it on… and the other parts of the equation – i.e. quality of parenting, home life, value placed on education at home. Lack of transparency and accountability is destroying the county to the ground.

“$65 million is the minimum investment we can make that will move us forward and significantly improve our ranking in the state,” Baker said. “Any investment less than that will not move the needle.”

Baker had repeatedly said the original increase was necessary to improve the county school system. However, some school board members were skeptical about any tax hike.

“If you’re going to have a serious compromise that you want to benefit kids, you can not increase property taxes at all without having a conversation about accountability, transparency and performance metrics. Whether you go halfway or all the way, if you don’t talk about auditing you’re not helping kids,” Edward Burroughs, a Prince George’s County School Board member said.

In addition to scaling back funding, Baker is also suggesting any tax hike for schools should only be temporary. Instead, he’s proposing a tax hike should only last for five years until the MGM Casino and other development projects in the county are completed and begin producing revenue.

While Baker calls the revised plan a comprise, critics call it a last ditch effort in the face of certain defeat. His original plan had no chance of passing the town council, and Baker is running out of time to make good on his promise to make the county school system one of the top 10 in the state in five years.

one blogger asked Mr. Baker to his face where the money was going to go. (See below). However, Mr. Baker did not respond. The problem with politicians like Baker is that they look for the easy way out. Instead of doing an overhaul of education to fix the problems of waste and graft, they just raise taxes and leave the problems to fester. The voters in Maryland are tired of this lazy approach.

The county council will vote at 1 p.m. Thursday on the proposed plan, which council members opted not to comment on Wednesday.

wusa9 contributed to this story.


imagesca79dd12pgcps_logoPRINCE-large ***