By John Kinnunen
As I explained in my last article, our government is a "committee" form of government and all items voted on and approved at monthly meetings of the county commission are first investigated by a committee. Items must first be approved by a two-thirds majority of committee members before being passed on to the monthly agenda of the entire county commission. In this article and subsequent pieces I will describe the various county committees' duties and the current projects on which they are working.
School and Education Committee
The duty of this committee is to meet and work with the board of education on all matters pertaining to bond requests, as well as the long range programs of education in Cumberland County. It's responsibilities include the school district's budget as well as any new funding requests for amounts greater than $5,000. All requests from the board of education for budget transfers within the school budget and all other budget related requests go directly to the budget committee. At least one member of the committee should attend the regular Cumberland County School Board monthly meeting.
The education committee also informs the commission members as to any current legislative matters affecting the county commission. So far this year the education committee has had one meeting welcoming Donald Andrews, our new director of school, to the area. At that time the director discussed his goals and vision for our county's schools. Other meetings have focused on the 2013 - '14 district school budget as well as the introduction of a SRO or school resource officer in all of our schools.
The committee has now invited members of the board of education to attend and participate in the education committee meetings. This has not occurred in the past, but the current county education committee members feel that being able to discuss current and future ideas with the board of education members in a face-to-face manner will solidify our unified path forward for the betterment of our educators and their students.
Our director of Cumberland County schools is now hosting a series of workshop style meetings made up of educators, students and county business leaders to discuss and develop plans for the future of our local school. The various areas of discussion include: vision/mission core beliefs; high school student performance; healthy students in a safe, orderly and caring school environment; quality teachers, administrators and staff; and lastly, operations and administrative leadership. These groups have just begun meeting, but plan to present a final draft to the board of education at their March 2014 meeting.
My next article will cover the county budget committee and how it deals with the county's growing budget. It will also include how this committee approves purchases and how Cumberland County spends our money. This is the main safeguard for your tax dollars.
Until next week remember, if you ever have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 267-5112, my cell, or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org