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Maybe he filed for the wrong office?

The Fringe, Part 2

In my last post I hypothesized that there were candidates running for Cecil County Board of Education seats for reasons other than a desire to advocate for the education of the children of Cecil County. Here’s a link in case you missed it 

In that post I provided screenshots that supported my theory from the candidates’ Facebook pages and included links to the actual posts on Facebook to further substantiate the facts.

Those screenshots were just the beginning.

While candidate Ron Lobos may have scrubbed his online presence clean since my last post, I took the time to capture some of his posts for posterity before they disappeared. I’d like to share some of those posts with you so you can see how they measure up against the laws and policies that he would be swearing to uphold if elected. (Anyone noticing the irony that the candidate crying for transparency from the board of education is deleting any comments that question the assertions he makes on his Facebook page?)

State Education Laws

Each newly elected member of the Cecil County Board of Education takes an oath to uphold the laws of the state of Maryland.

From the Md. EDUCATION Code Ann. § 4-101 (2016):

(b) Promotion of schools. — Each county board shall seek in every way to promote the interests of the schools under its jurisdiction.

Let’s compare that law with a post on the Ron Lobos for Cecil County School Board Facebook page from February 21:
 Lobos Public Education

“Just wondering Frances, if the County fully funded the budget requests for the CCPS, County Roads, Sheriff’s Department, Public Works, Libraries, and Parks and recreation, etc. for the last 5 years, what do you think our tax rate would be in Cecil County? It would be wonderful if we had an unlimited amount of money and we could just spend as much as we dream of, but this is not a dream. It is reality and every department must be treated fairly in a common sense fashion. I do not wish for the CCPS to be underfunded but I absolutely seek transparency.” Here’s a link to the page where these comments originally appeared–they have since been deleted. How very transparent of him.

The law makes no mention of board members advocating for other departments in the county yet Mr. Lobos is more concerned about the tax rate and budgets of other departments than funding the budget requests of the school system. These types of concerns are better addressed by positions in county government like county council or even county executive, not board of education.

Let’s look at another state law board of education members are accountable to:

§ 4-108. Duties in general  (2) Maintain throughout its county a reasonably uniform system of public schools that is designed to provide quality education and equal educational opportunity for all children;

In the same conversation from February 21, a commenter posts:

“Choose to go to private schools as I do not (sic) anyone else paying for MY responsibilities. Paying for school is just like buying food and clothing for my kids. If you cannot afford kids, maybe they should not have them. I do not ask the public to feeds (sic) or clothe my kids and will not ask them to pay for their education since I choose not to do it myself.”

Did Mr. Lobos post a comment defending the rights of all students to free public education? No, he or someone responding for the Ron Lobos for Cecil County School Board clicked the “Like” button on the comment instead.

lobos like private education

County Educational Policies

In addition to state laws and policies, board of education members are also accountable to policies at the county level.

From the Cecil County Boardmanship Standards Policy (Policy BBB)

Standards for Intra-Board Member Relationships
Members of the Board are expected to abide by the following standards in their relationships with each other when conducting business.

  1. Make decisions based upon a desire to serve the students in Cecil County in the best possible way;
  2. Represent the entire County, rather than individual election areas, groups or patrons;
The About section of Ron Lobos for Cecil County School Board states: “The average taxpayer has no representation within the board (only direct benefactors).” Since Mr. Lobos doesn’t provide a definition of the “average taxpayer” and the minor students of CCPS aren’t taxpayers, it doesn’t appear that he’s interested in representing them at all.

Lobos taxpayer

Keep in mind that Mr. Lobos identified himself as a conservative shortly after filing to run–despite the fact that school board positions are non-partisan.

We must make informed decisions about our school board     

Two board of education seats will be filled in this year’s election and the field for one seat will be narrowed to two candidates in next week’s primary election. If those seats are filled by candidates whose intentions are something other than advocating for free public education for all students in Cecil County, they could turn the board from the cooperative group that operates in a professional manner into a dysfunctional sideshow that distracts from the business of educating children.

If you think it’s not possible for a school board to be overtaken by a group with its own motives, listen to this episode of the This American Life podcast. (transcript)

Learn where each candidate stands on the issues. Read the candidates’ profiles from Cecil Whig. Watch their responses from the candidates forum on cecil.tv.

Most importantly–vote in the primary election on Tuesday and the general election in November.