Em­merich aims to add con­ser­va­tive voice to school board

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— Kevin Em­merich is run­ning for the Ce­cil County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to bring a con­ser­va­tive voice to the school board.

“I at­tended a cou­ple of school board meet­ings and I just felt that they needed a con­ser­va­tive view­point on the board,” he said. “I don’t know what goes on prior to the pub­lic meet­ings, but most of the votes I’ve seen — or 99 per­cent of them — have been 5-0 and no­body asks ques­tions. I find that a bit odd.”

Em­merich, a re­tired Ver­i­zon su­per­vi­sor/projects man­ager, is chal­leng­ing in­cum­bent Wil­liam Manlove for the District 1 school board seat, which cov­ers the Elk­ton area south of Route 40 and all of the south­ern county.

Early vot­ing be­gan Thurs­day and runs through Nov. 3 with the gen­eral elec­tion sched­uled for Nov. 8. All vot­ers can cast their bal­lot in the BOE race re­gard­less of what district they live in.

ELK­TON

Em­merich, a for­mer mem­ber of the Ce­cil County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, ini­tially ran on a con­ser­va­tive ed­u­ca­tion slate along with Ron Lo­bos, who filed for the District 2 school board seat but was knocked out of the run­ning af­ter a three-way pri­mary con­test.

A self-pro­claimed fis­cal con­ser­va­tive, Em­merich has made op­po­si­tion to the Com­mon Core cur­ricu­lum a cen­tral part of his plat­form. Em­merich dislikes the fed­eral gov­ern­ment dic­tat­ing how stu­dents should be ed­u­cated and pointed to the fact that the math cur­ricu­lum of­ten gives stu­dents mul­ti­ple ways to solve the same prob­lem, as one ex­am­ple of how the cur­ricu­lum con­fuses, rather than helps, stu­dents.

“I’ve met a lot of peo­ple up at the Repub­li­can head­quar­ters and a lot of par­ents aren’t happy with Com­mon Core at all,” he said, not­ing he would vote to do away with Com­mon Core if such a vote ever came be­fore the board.

How­ever, Em­merich is a fan of Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s re­cent ex­ec­u­tive or­der man­dat­ing all schools to start af­ter La­bor Day and end be­fore June 15. While Em­merich rec­og­nizes there are chal­lenges when it comes to fit­ting in the re­quired 180 days, he be­lieves the man­date will be good for the state in the long run.

“It’s go­ing to help the state gen­er­ate rev­enue to help pay for school main­te­nance and bud­gets,” he said. “It’s more or less a sched­ul­ing is­sue, and I think the schools can work it out.”

The other main el­e­ment of Em­merich’s plat­form is mone­tary is­sues re­lated to the school bud­get. When it comes to the state-man­dated main­te­nance of ef­fort laws, Em­merich said he be­lieves CCPS needs to do a bet­ter job of re­mov­ing one-time ex­penses from its base­line bud­get so they don’t count for MOE ev­ery year.

Em­merich would also like to see the schools pri­or­i­tize whit­tling down its nearly $50 mil­lion in de­ferred main­te­nance by putting all its ex­cess funds in this area. CCPS just re­cently trans­ferred $3.3 mil­lion into its fund bal­ance, a move Em­merich said he doesn’t agree with.

“I don’t see where the schools are strug­gling for money,” he said. “Fund bal­ance is im­por­tant, but if you have all this de­ferred main­te­nance — boil­ers and dif­fer­ent things like that that you need for heat and hot wa­ter in the schools — then you should be tak­ing some of that and mov­ing it into those ar­eas.”

(At a Septem­ber board meet­ing, CCPS of­fi­cials in­di­cated that some of the fund bal­ance will be used for emer­gency HVAC re­pairs at two schools and that this is the first time since 2013 that the sys­tem’s fund bal­ance has been above the 5 per­cent re­quired un­der board pol­icy.)

But while Em­merich sees much room for im­prove­ment, he also praised CCPS for its in­creas­ingly high grad­u­a­tion rate, its good build­ing main­te­nance and its ca­reer and tech­ni­cal pro­grams.

“On the whole, we prob­a­bly turn out a rel­a­tively good crop of stu­dents,” he said.

Em­merich spent 33 years as a Ver­i­zon su­per­vi­sor/ projects man­ager and was also pre­vi­ously a heavy con­struc­tion in­spec­tor in Har­ford County. He is mar­ried and has one son from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage. He has lived in Ce­cil County for the past 12 years. Though he hasn’t had any kids go through the county school sys­tem, he plans to start vis­it­ing county schools if elected.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF KEVIN EM­MERICH

Kevin Em­merich is run­ning for the District 1 school board seat.

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