Yesterday, I spoke with Peggy Higgins, the Education Board candidate in today’s election. I asked her a few questions about her candidacy. (The other candidate Mark Cook couldn’t be reached for an interview).
1. Why are you running?
I’ve a 32 year career as a social worker, 25 years of that I spent working with families and children in the county. This gives me an unique opportunity to serve 125,000 school students in the county.
2. How does your background fit in the position you’re seeking?
I’ve a masters degree in the social work studies from the Catholic University, have another masters’ degree in Administration with concentration in local government from the UMUC, I’ve worked with the students, parents and the educators for the past 25 yrs as administrator. I know the county and the local city officials and how their governments work.
3. Funding is a big issue for the county schools, how can you secure more funding?
That’s true. Unfortunately, county’s school funds come from 3 different sources, county, State and federal. There has been some effort by the outgoing county Executive Jack Johnson to cut the fund through Maintenance of Effort (MOE) contract from the State, which brings $20 million from the State’s $250M school funding. If elected, I’ll fight so that the County does not lose these funding.
4.What will you do to address the overcrowding problems in the Hollywood Elementary School
I support the ideas of expanding the Hollywood Elementary school. Currently, some students have their classes in temporary class rooms outside of the main school building. If elected, I’ll work with the City and the County to have permanent buildings as the extension to the main building.
5.What about redistricting current school districts? Do you support that?
Yes, I know the talks of redistricting are causing some concerns among the local residents (in north College Park). I personally do not want parents to take theirs kids to another school which is far from their homes. However, I think there will be some parents who will be willing to take their kids to PBES (Paint Branch Elementary School), instead of being forced to do so. PBES is a magnet school; it will soon be K-8 school and it has some excellent quality programs with the University of Maryland. These attractions will make some parents to take their children to PBES.