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Berliner says budget aggression will not stand

  • Published in Local

Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner reassured activists and professionals in the Jewish community last week that the County’s proposed budget that includes a 1 percent cut in funding for nonprofits will not stand.

“It just simply can’t stand, and I know my colleagues feel the same way,” Berliner told the 60 participants at the 12th annual Jewish Community Relations Council’s Montgomery County Advocacy Day on April 6.

The reduced funding is proposed to come out of the Department of Health and Human Services Non-Developmental Disabilities Provider Services Contracts budget, which many nonprofits rely on to provide services to County residents.

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Parents and teachers express education concerns

  • Published in Local

GERMANTOWN – Teachers, parents of students and family members of teachers said at a budget meeting Feb. 15 they were concerned about items such as minimum wage, allocation of staffing, availability of materials and class size.

County Council member Craig Rice (D-2),chair of the education committee, Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard and Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith led the town hall at Northwest High School.

Rocky Hill Middle School teacher Lisabeth Belman said she wanted their concerns to be heard.

“My issue is that teacher voice,” said Belman.

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Leggett proposes investing $2 billion in new school construction projects

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Calling it a critical investment for schools, infrastructure and housing, County Executive Ike Leggett last week released his capital budget for fiscal year 2018.

In his proposed Capital Budget, Leggett said he wanted the County to invest $2 billion in education, most of which would go to school construction during the next six years.

 “This FY18 Capital Budget and amended six-year Capital Improvements Program represent critical investments in schools, jobs, transportation and housing while also being prudent with future borrowing,” said Leggett in a statement.

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Letters to the Editor published July 7, 2016

Road rage, road signs and road kill

To the editor;

County Council member George Leventhal’s measure to prohibit all temporary advertisement signs on rights-of-ways is right-on. How many multiple numbers of road sigsn does it take to sell mattresses, cleaning services, junk removal, sport enrollments, gutter cleaning, travel agencies, turtoring services, Realtor new development alerts and other road sign advertisements?

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Letters to the Editor published June 30, 2016

Privilege, Power and the Government

 

To the editor;

I wholeheartedly agree with your editorial about the lack of transparency in Government. It seems the mentality of Politicians and government public servants is that they have 'won the lottery' of privilege and power and they are now somehow 'above' being responsive and accountable to the public. Instead it is a privilege to serve, and if they fall this far short they should be removed from their position and replaced by someone (much) better. There are many, many more competent folks out there who are ready and more able to do a good job.

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New school chief begins

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superintendent JackSmith-courtesyMCPSNew MCPS superintendent Jack Smith. COURTESY PHOTO 

Jack Smith, the new superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, said he will not turn a blind eye on one of the school system’s continuous goals: reducing the achievement gap between racial groups.

Smith brings more than 25 years of experience in education, including 2.5 years at the Maryland State Board of Education.

Smith’s term began July 1, the start of the MCPS fiscal year. Smith hasn’t said how he plans to reduce the achievement gap but said he plans to prioritize it.

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90-year-old lives history and teaches students

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Florence Binstock 1Florence Binstock greets her two daughters at the Springbrook High School luncheon honoring Binstock's many years of service.   PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH 

SILVER SPRING – For one local substitute teacher teaching history may just involve remembering significant events from her own life.

Florence Binstock Avigan, a 90-year-old school teacher, has several stories to tell about growing up during the Great Depression and her formative teenage years during World War II – not to mention her 49 years of substitute teaching for Montgomery County Public Schools.

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Local leaders say MCPS grades without final exams OK

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ROCKVILLE— While parents and teachers ask the local school board how students can be prepared for college without finals, local elected officials involved in education say county- created quarterly assessments, college entrance exams and tests for college credit will do the job.

In a letter, Montgomery County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers rebutted multiple concerns from parents and community members. One such concern was that scrapping two-hour final exams could pose a disadvantage to students applying to colleges and universities.

“Colleges and universities report that curriculum, grades, and college placement tests are the most important factors in college admissions,” Bowers said in November. “Exam grades do not appear on student transcripts.”

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MCPS administrator Abrunzo to retire after 53 years

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Pat Abrunzo 1Currently the Director of School Support and Improvement of Elementary Schools, Pat Abrunzo prepares to retire after 53 years with Montgomery County Public Schools. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

ROCKVILLE — Retiring Montgomery County Public Schools administrator Pat Abrunzo said he was about nine years old when he started waiting on customers in his father’s shoe repair shop.

Some of his father’s responsibilities involved a lot of physical labor, working on his feet for 10 to 12 hours per day, so he had his son deal with the public to realize the difference between “working with your hands versus working with your mind.” Abrunzo continued to assist his father throughout high school, helping at the shop whenever he was not playing sports or other extracurricular activities, and later as he attended Lycoming College in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Abrunzo learned to be respectful regardless of how people acted. He remained kind if customers complained about prices they thought were too expensive or services they thought weren’t quick enough. He grew to understand that individuals displayed different personalities in various situations.

Abrunzo’s ambition for teaching began in his junior year at Lycoming when the director of the college’s education department asked Abrunzo to read stories to an elementary school class in neighboring South Williamsport. At the time, Abrunzo was a biology major with plans to become a pharmaceutical salesman, but he had also been taking a few education classes and said to the director “OK, sure, no problem.”

After seeing the enthusiasm and excitement from those children as he read to them, Abrunzo’s career path changed.

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Northwest Principal named Associate Superintendent

  • Published in Local

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ROCKVILLE — The Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education appointed a local high school principal Tuesday to be the new associate superintendent for the Office of Human Resources and Development.

Associate superintendent of Human Resources appointee Lance Dempsey is currently the principal of Northwest High School and was previously the principal of Shady Grove Middle School for six years. She will enter her new position at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1.

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