2018 Primary election results

Kathleen Causey

Kathleen Causey
  • Non-Partisan
  • Age: 53
  • Residence: Monkton

About Kathleen Causey

Education

Attended Alexandria City Public Schools from Elementary through High School. Graduated from TC Williams High School. Virginia Tech , 1989 Bachelor of Science Management Information Systems Maryland Real Estate Commission 1995 -2000 Complete requirements to become Licensed Residential Realtor and Continuing Education Courses Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Annapolis, MD 2015 to present - Complete Numerous Professional Development Courses including: 2 day New Board Member Training, PARCC Assessments, Understanding the Work of State Board, Appeals Process, Communications Guide for School Boards. M.A.B.E Conference - Workshops and Committees 2015, 2106, 2017 National School Board Conference - Workshops and Continuing Education, 2016, 2017, 2018

Background

25 year career marked by strong analytical and organizational skills, creativity, enthusiasm and success as a team member and a team leader. Utilize interpersonal and communication skills to understand goals, gather relevant data, brainstorm options, research solutions, employ consensus and implement the established plan. Provide Project Management services. 2002 – Current Real Estate Project Management, Corbett Overlook 2, LLC, Owner Projects include: • Property Acquisition – research location and land use; financial analysis; contract negotiations • Property Development – Evaluate development options; design best use based • New Home Construction and Renovation Management – research and hiring of necessary professional • Property Management 1995 – 2000 Residential Realtor, O’Conor Piper & Flynn (purchased by Coldwell Banker) 1988 – 1995 Information Technology Consultant • Managed marketing, sales, configuration, training and support programs for Information Technology systems for variety of organizations. • Developed working relationships with a broad range of industries including: healthcare, education, government, legal services, financial services, electronic manufacturers and software companies.

    Questionnaire

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    1
    Why
    Why do you want to serve on the county school board?
    Causey: I want to remain serving on BOE, to continue advocating for the highest quality public education for Baltimore County. There is no more important mission in this world than educating, nurturing, and preparing our young people so they can fulfill their potential and lead our neighborhoods, county, and country to a safer, more equitable, and prosperous future. It is because of my family’s commitment to public education and community service that I applied to be on BOE. Governor Hogan appointed me to BOE in July 2015. We have made progress. However there is much work to be done, especially since the Board has recently learned of chronic misconduct of the former Superintendent and other BCPS staff. My experience will be crucial given possible turnover of the entire BOE. Additional transitions include Superintendent, County Executive and County Council. I have gained needed institutional knowledge. I know how things work and how things don’t work, how they can break down and fail to optimally serve our students, families, and faculty. I know the effort, knowledge, and courage it takes to serve. I didn’t have many allies, for example, when I voted against 2016 re-appointment of previous superintendent. The same goes when I voted against his lavish contract. I have recent graduates and current student in BCPS. I strive to make principled decisions at the right time for the right reasons, regardless of detractors and pressure. Stakeholders can be confident I exercise my independence to do what is right and just for students.
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    2
    Technology
    Has the county’s use of educational technology in the classroom been appropriate? Do you support the system’s expenditures for student laptops?
    Causey: I believe that developmentally appropriate, equitable, financially-sustainable and effective implementation of technology is beneficial for teaching and learning. However, I am not convinced that hurtling rapidly down the current path directed by our former superintendent is in the best interest of our students, teachers, staff and communities. The teachers clearly need laptops to effectively leverage the increasingly digital classroom management, grading, communication, instruction materials and tools. However, BCPS has been implementing a massive experiment in digital instruction with disruption to programs of education, students, teachers, staff and parents. Even as schools adapt over the years to STAT (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), academic achievement is only slowly ticking up, while in some cases PARCC scores have declined. It is necessary to completely evaluate all aspects of STAT initiative: curriculum, teacher workload and workflow, and “budget re-alignment” including the level of spending in each area: devices (laptop), technology, marketing, utilization, professional development and travel of administrative personnel. See how we can provide benefits needed in more cost effective way, to allocate more of budget to teachers and in-school support positions and salary. We have spent about $260 MILLION in first years of STAT initiative, while there are schools with basic needs unmet: clean water, working HVAC, overcrowding, aging schools, insufficient support staff, transportation issues. If BOE was more effective, BCPS would not spend more than double what is recommended for student and teacher laptops. Increasing research suggests negative impacts of inappropriate screentime: student data privacy, behavior, Health, and vision issues. http://one-to-oneinstitute.org/images/remository/Finance_Brief.pdf
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    3
    Resource equity
    Are the system’s resources fairly and equitably divided among its schools? Does the system provide adequate support for students with large populations of minority or low-income students?
    Causey: There have been efforts to improve fair and equitable resources among schools. But I think a thorough examination is in order. While Title 1 schools have additional resources, in general other schools with large populations of needy students may not. I think we need additional resources to support minority, low-income students and other student populations, ESOL, Special Education that need specific interventions for students to achieve their potential. Needed Resources include: more teachers for smaller class sizes, and support personnel: social workers, counselors, PPW, ESOL teachers, Special Ed teachers and paraeducators, nurses, certified behavior therapists, other student supports. It is a matter of budget priority, with much going to STAT that may be more successfully applied to direct student supports. Also, I support local efforts to create and support community schools in areas of concentrated poverty. In visiting schools and communities throughout Baltimore County, it is evident some need more support for students from socioeconomic struggling circumstances. It is a win-win for students and the wider county, state and nation. Each student that has academic success and graduates is better able to live a happy life and support themselves, which is ultimately better for the wider community.
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    4
    Oversight
    What additional steps, if any, need to be taken to ensure that the board exercises adequate oversight over the superintendent? Do you see a distinction between the disclosure failures that led to former superintendent Dallas Dance’s guilty pleas and those that interim Superintendent Verletta White has admitted to?
    Causey: See the answers to # 11. My experience and institutional knowledge will be crucial, with few returning members. I know effort and courage it takes to serve. I have seen how things work and how things don’t work. Proper Superintendent Oversight. Engage with all BOE members to become highly effective governing Board. Return the Board of Education to its proper role of governance and oversight. The Board should revaluate policies and procedures that have weakened the Board’s accountability, transparency and effectiveness in providing the highest quality education to each student in our care. The Board should be engaged and inclusive with all stakeholders in the system: students, teachers, staff, administration, parents, families, communities, elected officials, etc. The Board should ensure compliance with all policies and procedures so that the program of education is highly effective for all students, with the proper use of all our resources, financial and staffing. The BOE needs to design a strong and clear contract for the next superintendent. It should contain specifics related to accountability and transparency. There should be no outside work, no other earned income, no time spent away from the district unless pre-approved by the full Board, not just the Board Chair. The BOE needs to operate diligently to monitor adherence to all policies and procedures related to conduct and ethics. Mrs. V. White http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/investigations/bs-md-white-ethics-panel-disclosure-20180411-story.html Former Superintendent Dallas Dance: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/k-12/bs-md-dallas-dance-document-20180123-htmlstory.html http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/investigations/bal-dallas-dance-pleads-guilty-statement-of-facts-from-maryland-prosecutor-20180308-htmlstory.html
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    5
    Ethics
    Are the system’s rules on ethics, conflicts of interest and financial disclosure sufficient?
    Causey: No, the current policies and rules are not sufficient. The current process of the Ethics Review Panel and the financial disclosure form and processes need to be improved to provide proper oversight and transparency. As a member of the BOE Policy Review Committee I realized almost all Policy development was Superintendent administration directed with little BOE or community input. Many policies were changed to limit the governance of the BOE. Many need to be evaluated and updated to increase BOE accountability of BCPS. All polices need to be evaluated, especially ethics, conflicts of interest, financial disclosure, Internal Board Operations, oversight of the Superintendent and system, and procurement. Also, after an independent comprehensive forensic audit is completed, the BOE needs to evaluate and implement recommendations. The audit was directed by the BOE in September 2015, but through lack of leadership by BOE and BCPS it has not yet started. Hopefully, contract will be approved in May 2018 and work started immediately. After policies are updated the Superintendent needs to update the system’s rules and procedures to align and implement them as directed by the BOE. The BOE then needs to monitor for adherence and effectiveness. In order to do that we need to increase staffing in our office of Internal Audit which has not kept pace with rising student enrollment, employees and budget. BCPS has 113,282 students and 18,572 employees. The Current Operating Budget is over $1.6 BILLION Dollars.
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    6
    Discipline
    Do you think the school system's discipline policies keep students safe while appropriately disciplining students who exhibit poor behavior? What, if any, changes would you propose to the school system's discipline policies?
    Causey: The system’s discipline policies need improvement to effectively keep students safe, appropriately discipline students and encourage proper behavior that is conducive to teaching and learning. A positive school climate is vital for all to do their best: teachers, students and staff. There must be order in schools and classrooms before learning can take place. Hiring more teachers and assistants to reduce class size will improve student behavior and academic achievement. Also, educational program policies need to be evaluated to see how program of instruction is affecting teacher workload and workflow. One very impactful policy is the Grading Policy and BCPS Grading and Reporting Procedures which were and remain problematic since the rollout in August 2016. Teachers, students, parents and administrators still report inconsistent application of the procedures. Also, teachers, students and parents point to the “50 is the new zero” or Low Score is counter productive to students completing all work in a timely and accurate way. So that content Mastery is not sufficient even though a student may “Pass” the class.
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    7
    Common Core/PARCC
    What are your views on the Common Core and the PARCC exams?
    Causey: It is appropriate and effective to provide a program of education that is rigorous and provides opportunity for students to strive for highest academic achievement. Schools across the State in 2013-14 have implemented Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards. Maryland was one of the first states to adopt the standards in reading/English language arts and mathematics. The Maryland State Board of Education adopted the standards in June 2010. The Common Core State Standards initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. These rigorous education standards establish a set of shared goals and expectations for what students should understand and be able to do in grades K-12 in order to be prepared for success in college and the workplace. The standards are research and evidence based and internationally benchmarked. They have been voluntarily adopted by 45 states. Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards form the foundation for Maryland’s new State curriculum framework. Hundreds of classroom educators, instructional leaders, administrators, and higher education representatives continue to assist State officials in developing the Framework. However, The PARCC testing results have been lackluster, such that the State Board issued waivers for school systems in using results for high Stake criteria, graduation, etc. I would note, Massachusetts, which is high-performing state in public education, pulled out of PARCC. With the passage of ESSA, I support a review by MSDE to see if an alternative assessment would provide accountability, with less cost and disruption to instruction time.
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    8
    Diversity
    Should diversity be a factor in decisions about drawing new school attendance zone lines?
    Causey: Yes. It is a factor in Rule 1280 which aligns with Board Policy 1280 Boundary.
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    9
    School construction
    How would you set priorities for school construction and renovation? Has the county devoted adequate resources to maintaining or replacing school buildings?
    Causey: I have aggressively advocated for equitable safe, healthy, climate-controlled and modern schools to positively impact teaching and learning environments for highest student achievement. Success is through amplifying community concerns; researching best practices; collaborating with all stakeholders, county and state leaders. In a system as large as BCPS with increasing enrollment and aging infrastructure it is challenging to equitably set priorities for school construction and renovation. The County and State are providing an large amount of funding, but there continue to be unmet needs. There are many needs that the County and State have to balance across all resident needs. Also, the BOE needs to make sure we are using every dollar wisely and effectively, so that our funding partners can be encouraged we will properly use all funds provided. In 2019, the Newly elected Board should pursue a 10 year plan Strategic Facilities Plan. The Board should work with the County Council, County Executive, and the Superintendent to develop a comprehensive and equitable facilities plan, specifically like the successful Anne Arundel County Public Schools plan. AACPS is in their second decade of implementation. Much time and energy has been spent by parents, schools, superintendent and staff, the Board, and both county and state elected officials on the concerns of equitable and timely distribution of capital construction funds and priorities, and the negative sense that communities need to advocate against each other for those precious funds.
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