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Jim Roenick, Board of Education Candidate

Jim Roenick
Jim Roenick (Submitted photo)

Jim Roenick is one of three Carroll County Board of Education candidates, along with George Harmening and Charles "Bud" Nason, running in a block to abolish Common Core from Carroll County Public Schools.

Incumbent Virginia Harrison, Bob Lord and Devon Rothschild are also running for the three seats that are being contested in the November election.

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Common Core, a controversial set of standards in math and English language arts, were implemented in Maryland schools during the 2013-2014 school year.

According to Roenick, Common Core is having a profound impact on students by pushing for standardized learning. Teachers, he said, are pushing students along to meet milestones for the complementary test — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment — without ensuring that students understand the material.

Roenick, 62, of Taylorsville, said he believes the school system should consider other educational standards that could help increase American students' educational competitiveness with other countries that are surpassing them.

"I'm not willing to subject my grandchildren to [these] standards, which may completely destroy their professional career because we don't know if they will or will not work," Roenick said. "They were not piloted."

If elected, Roenick said he will encourage the board to write a letter to Maryland Schools Superintendent Lillian Lowrey to allow Carroll to withdraw from Common Core or at least pause it.

"Let us be the guinea pigs to see if we can do education better than Common Core in Carroll County," he said.

He said he will also push for legislation in the Maryland General Assembly to halt Common Core and form a coalition of counties that are against the standards.

Roenick said he wants the students in Carroll to receive an adequate education, similar to the one he received in public schools in Montgomery County, where he said he was "very well prepared" for college.

Roenick's children attended both parochial schools and public schools, and all three graduated from South Carroll High School.

While his children were in the public school system, Roenick became involved in the Parent Teacher Organization, PTA and the South Carroll High School Athletic Boosters.

Like other candidates running, Roenick said a major issue is teacher pay. Carroll teachers have received one salary step increase in the last five years, with a lagging starting salary compared to other Maryland counties.

The starting salary for a teacher hired in 2009 was $40,400, which is scheduled to be increased to $43,000 in fiscal year 2016, school officials have said.

The school system reported a $15.5 million fund balance at the end of fiscal year 2013. A portion of those funds were negotiated for a 2.5 percent bonus for teachers, one-time operating expenses and to make up for state revenue shortfall for FY2014. The fund is set to be used for a 3 percent negotiated bonus in FY2015 and to cover a one-time budget shortfall, and a 1 percent bonus negotiated in FY2016. It is expected to drop to $2.2 million.

Roenick said he does not understand how more of the surplus money did not go toward teachers' salaries.

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"The students are our primary resource and our teachers are the second-most precious resource, so why aren't we paying them?" Roenick said. "We need to find out where this money is going."

If elected, Roenick said he would push for a performance review of the Carroll County Public School system to answer those questions.

"You have people in the central office making over $100,000 a year and teachers are not getting step increases. How does that happen?" Roenick said.

If elected, Roenick said he will also work to address other issues, including the lockdown procedure in Carroll schools, bus transportation schedules and remediation.

A percentage of Carroll public school graduates who enroll in Carroll Community College need remedial education classes to help them meet expected competencies in core academic skills such as English, mathematics and reading.

Data from the community college showed that, of the 604 CCPS graduates who enrolled there in fall 2012, about 27 percent needed developmental reading, about 34 percent need developmental English and about 71 needed developmental math. Those numbers were nearly identical — 28, 31 and 71 percent in reading, English and math, respectively — to the 118 students that fall who graduated from high schools outside Carroll, attending private school or were home-schooled.

College officials also note that roughly one-fourth of CCPS graduates attend Carroll Community College each year, so the data is only representative of those students attending the community college, not all CCPS graduates.

Reach staff writer Krishana Davis at 410-857-7862 or krishana.davis@carrollcountytimes.com.

Jim Roenick

Website: jimroenick.com

Hometown: Taylorsville

Profession: Power Plant Operations

Company: C&E Services Inc.

Years Experience: 32

Political Experience: Political Activist, 5 years

Marital Status: Married

Children/Age: Sons ages 32 and 30, daughter age 27

Education: B.S. zoology, B.S. medical technology

Community Groups Involved In: Habitat for Humanity, Teens Offering Others Love and Service Inc.; Member of St. John's school board

Carroll County Board of Education Election

The Carroll County Times will be profiling the six Carroll County Board of Education candidates running for three positions.

Monday: George Harmening

Tuesday: Virginia Harrison

Wednesday: Bob Lord

Thursday: Charles "Bud" Nason

Friday: Jim Roenick

Saturday: Devon Rothschild

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