Please accept the following clarifications regarding recent local “fake news.” As a member of the elected Allegany County Board of Education for the past two terms, I appreciate the opportunity to clarify the facts in response to some inaccurate allegations made by candidates running for the school board.

1. School board members are encouraged to visit schools. They are expected to let the superintendent or principal know they are coming prior to the visit as a professional courtesy and also to avoid disruption of instructional time. All visitors, including board members, are expected to sign in at the main office. This is standard safety protocol practiced in schools across the country. (Policy BH)

2. All members of the current board support and realize the importance of school resource officers. Safety for our students and employees is our number one priority. We continue to advocate for funding and seek funding sources (local, state and federal) to support having a school resource officer in each school.

3. It is a current board goal to seek efficiencies within the operations of the school system in an effort to reduce class size, particularly in K-2. We have implemented several cost-saving measures during the previous decade including renegotiation of health care costs, selective replacement of positions, and reallocation of resources based on changing program needs. The number of employees at the Central Office on Washington Street has decreased by a dozen positions since 2009.  

4. School board members, per policy BH, are encouraged to have open dialogue and communicate with staff, teachers, and all employees of the school system. It is never appropriate for board members to discuss personnel matters. Board member contact information is listed on the Allegany County Public School system homepage, www.acpsmd.org,

Thank you for taking the time to read these clarifications. Please research all candidates to learn what each one is proposing to do if elected.

Ask about their student-friendly ideas and how they propose we sustain and grow our system and community. These are important questions, and community awareness is critical.

Sara-Beth Bittinger, Ed.D.

Board of Education president

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