Lower Shore Delegation Obstructs Wicomico Legislation Designed For School Funding Accountability
December 23, 2021 - by Sandra Prindle, Journalist
Back in January of 2021, the Wicomico County Council sent a letter of support to the Maryland delegates requesting Wicomico County be added to the already existing state legislation giving the legislative body access to view the public school systems allocation of funding. The county executive has an exclusive knowledge of school funding that is not currently shared with the citizens.
Councilwoman Acle introduced the existing state legislation with a request that Wicomico be added along with the other counties, but not without strong opposition. Councilmen Dodd, Holloway and Davis supporting the proposal sharing incidents where they or their constituents have tried to obtain financial information and were denied access. Councilmen Cannon, Hasting and McCain were opposed as they felt Superintendent Hanlin and her administration did an outstanding job with financial transparency, and they have never received complaints from citizens. Councilmen Cannon shared that he spoke with Acting County Executive John Psota the day before, and stated that Psota was also opposed to the legislation. We reached out to confirm this statement but received no response.
Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin, Assistant Superintendent Kimberly Miles, WCPS Chief Financial Officer Micah Stauffer, and the School Board President Gene Malone all injected themselves into the work session to voice their opposition. You can view this work session that starts at the 1:44:07 mark.
They also sent this letter to the Lower Shore Delegation asking them to ignore the legislative process and not submit the state legislation. View the letter here.
The Superintendent’s wishes were honored and the enabling state legislation was never submitted.
At a post session briefing with Wicomico Council, Delegate Adams, Anderton, Hartman, and Mautz; Senator Carozza and Eckhardt, and Speaker Pro Temp Sample-Hugh’s all ignored the will of the people, disregarded the legislative process, and did not submit the requested legislative inclusion for the county for their reason that the Superintendent nor the Acting County Executive agreed to it.
Delegate Adams also added that he himself has never had an issue receiving information from Dr. Hanlin. Holloway responded: “Unfortunately the people are not being afforded that luxury.”
To date, Wicomico County is the only county in the state of Maryland with the executive form of government that has not been added to the already existing legislation giving the citizens oversight into our public education funding.