Reform Sasscer movement has always taken a holistic approach to promote good governance. Good governance requires strong institutions, a receptive regulatory environment, and an active citizenry that holds its government accountable. Underpinning all governance reform efforts is the public’s right to information. Where information is accessible at all levels and transactions are conducted in a transparent and open way, citizens are empowered and opportunities for corruption diminish. Conversely, the lack of adequate access to information, whether in election, budget processes or procurement procedures, enables corruption to not only exist but to flourish.
Reform Sasscer movement experience has proven that improving in one area of governance – For example PGCPS Budget reform – without addressing access to information leaves an imbalance which can result in a less transparent and accountable society like we are seeing under the Student Based Budgeting (SBB) in Prince George’s County Public Schools ( PGCPS) under William Hite. Many parents and staff members are in the dark. This was demonstrated recently on May 30, 2012 during the District 6 citizen meeting at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School. Several concerned parents had no idea of how money is being spent.
It is in this background that we wrote to the General assembly on April 23, 2012 asking our elected officials to help push much needed reforms within PGCPS under embattled Superintendent Hite. As a result of our advocacy, Dr. Hite reacted angrily over the weekend promising certain retaliatory measures. He refused to answer the concerns presented in our blogs by denying everything saying “these allegations are not only false, they are slanderous”. (See emails below and our response).
Greater transparency can be achieved in various ways, but one of the most efficient way is through a general right of access to official information. Access to timely, transparent and appropriate information within our school system is crucial to building accountable communities. If William Hite cannot cope with this demand, he should resign hence forth. We have been demanding this for a while now on behalf of PGCPS and the larger community as a whole. Dr. Hite is and has been a distraction because he does not know the job and he is harrassing. The man was selected corruptly for the job.
Bottom line, in the age of social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc.), no leader or civil servant can afford to abuse power and plunder resources without oversight. The consequences can be adverse as demonstrated recently even with our own secret service. Nobody should be above the law in PGCPS. That goes for Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and anyone else involved in the public corruption including Chief legal counsel Mr. Roger Thomas. We will continue with our advocacy until the issues are addressed.
From: Reform Sasscer <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 3:45 AM
Subject: Re: Allegations – A Response To Allegations in This Information
To: “William R. Hite, Jr.” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Senators, Board of Education members, elected officials et alia,
Date: Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Subject: Allegations – A Response To Allegations in This Information
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Thank you for contacting Prince George’s County Public Schools. As a general rule, we do not respond to anonymous emails, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts. The school system has established numerous resources for individuals to voice their concerns and/or make formal complaints (http://www1.pgcps.org/internalaudit/index.aspx?id=20430).
However, rest assured that these allegations are not only false, they are slanderous. The individuals behind these hateful attacks seek to shred the reputation of our employees, students, school system and community. Hateful online speech (e-bullying or e-terrorist attacks) have real world consequences and should not be tolerated.
Finally, Mr. Williams, if you are the person responsible for these communiqués or if you know the individual(s) responsible, please let us know.
William R. Hite
From: Eugene Williams,Sr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Subject: A Response To Allegations in This Information
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Superintendent Hite and Board Members-
I recently retired from the school system, primarily because I did not feel that the the teaching environment was hostile and retaliatory to senior, experienced teachers. Moreover, the alleged age and racial discrimination infuriated me, an experience, competent teacher who helped many students and brought national and international recognition to the system. For more abour my accomplishments and achievements, please see www.academicresourcesunlimited.org.
Now, an Evolutionary Elder, I am desirious of a response to the information in the e-mail I am forwarding to you. I receive such e-mails regularly. Are these allegations true? If so, how do you plan to address them?
Personally, as a citizen of the County, I have several other concerns about the quality of education some of our young people are receiving. I will share them with the Superintendent in a follow-up e-mail.
Thanks for a prompt response.
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 12:43:06 -0400
Subject: Reforms needed at PGCPS -Sasscer.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org