Emmerich aims to add conservative voice to school board
— 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.
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.
Kevin Emmerich is running for the District 1 school board seat.