Candidates for school board were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Administrators: The Maryland State Board of Education says the Prince George's school system has the lowest ratio of administrators to pupils in the state. Yet critics insist that the school system could have cut more administrators and fewer teachers last fall. Is the school system top-heavy with administrators and, if so, exactly where would you look to cut administrators?
Budget: What would you do to protect the school budget at a time when most boliticians are reluctant to raise taxes and a majority of taxpayers do not have children in the schools?
Angelo I. Castelli, incumbent, 48, 7908 Esther Dr., Oxon Hill, is a senior trial attorney with the Department of Justice. A member of the school board for four years, he has served as vice chairman. He has been president of the Fort Foote PTA and cochairman of the local task force on school closings. He is active in scouting, Lions and church and Democratic groups.
Administrators: I agree with the statement that we have the lowest ratio of administrators to pupils in the state. This is supported by the fact that only 4 cents out of every dollar goes toward administrative expenses. The board and the superintendent have been embarked on a five-year plan to further streamline administration of the system while maintaining effective school programs, at the lowest possible cost. Board action in school year 1980-81 eliminated 157 administrative-type positions. The 157 includes an assistant superintendent, director, coordinating supervisors, supervisors, assistant supervisors, vice principals, specialists, administrative assistants and the like. Additionally, we have eliminated a number of secretarial and other administrative support positions. As vice chairman of the board, I have directed the superintendent to examine the entire administrative support with emphasis on reorganization and consolidation of existing offices. For example, in the coming budget I will focus on the consolidation of the area offices.
Budget: This is one board member who will and has defended the integrity of the school budget. The school budget is the result of countless hours spent by the board members in analyzing programs versus funds necessary to support these programs. I propose to participate in the development of a budget that insures the continuation of quality education for all our children. I personally intend to defend that budget before our County Council or county executive to the best of my ability. In my opinion, it does not necessarily follow that the defense of the school budget also means that we must raise taxes. In the formulation process of the budget, I plan to continue to focus on consolidation of functions, so-called "fat," waste and nonessential areas, thereby releasing more dollars to teachers and key programs. My approach to the budget allows continued improvement in our school programs without necessarily increasing county taxes. We must remember that our public schools are a birthright of future generations. Even though the board does not have fiscal autonomy and must rely on the County Council for its funds, I do feel I have the full responsibility of providing each child with a quality education. In fact, each of us has an obligation to ensure the future of our country by providing the necessary funds to educate its children. After all, they are tomorrow's leaders.
Otis Ducker, 53, of 2203 Owens Rd., Oxon Hill, is an executive with the National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Prince George's Center for Community Development and several Masonic lodges. He is president of the Southern Prince George's Coalition for Black Affairs.
Administrators: I feel the school system is top-heavy not only in terms of administrators but also in terms of administrative services. When elected, I will investigate the feasibility of consolidating decentralized area offices, computer facilities with the county, printing facilities with the county and trash disposal. Teachers are our most important educational resource and their numbers should be decreased only as a last resort. Our system is already beginning to feel the impact of the teascher firing by way of larger classes at all levels. Teachers are presently facing an almost impossible task.
Budget: I don't believe a raise in taxes to fund education is warranted. I have specific proposals that will permit us to operate within the constraints of limited resources yet accomplish our objective -- quality education for children. When elected, I intend to utilize my proven management skills and experience to persuade the board to adopt these proposals. I plan to become a moderating and cohesive force in order to foster teamwork and agreement among members. Only a unified body can create innovative solutions of today's problems. A board acting as a unit can become an effective lobbying force, which can be instrumental in sensitizing the County Council, county executive and state legislature to the needs of the children of Prince George's County.