Parent and Severna Park resident Dana Schallheim is running for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Board of Education, representing County Council District 5. Schallheim’s daughter is a first grader in Folger McKinsey Elementary School.
“Volunteerism and advocacy have always fed my soul,” she said. “Although I have never run for anything before, I feel that now is the time for me to advocate for all AACPS students.”
Schallheim, who has an MBA and was an energy consultant to the Federal Government, is a frequent volunteer at Folger McKinsey. She is not comfortable with ever-increasing class sizes, and teachers’ salaries which don’t match those of neighboring districts.
“If I’m successful, I want to fight for our teachers,” she says. “These amazing women and men who have the awesome job of educating our children need to be properly supported.”
Other top priorities Schallheim would address include aligning school start times with known research, working with state officials to update education funding formulas, and ensuring equitable access to all AACPS programs and resources.
Schallheim currently serves as a volunteer on the Parent Involvement Advisory Council (PIAC) of Dr. George Arlotto, Superintendent of Schools. She serves the Severna Park Cluster alongside another PIAC member. The PIAC meets six times per school year to share information from their clusters and learn about AACPS programs and special events.
Schallheim is not a stranger to presenting her ideas to AACPS Board of Education (BOE) members and local elected officials. Last fall she spoke twice at BOE meetings as well as at the Anne Arundel County House Delegation Priorities meeting on November 28, 2017 regarding her opposition to the current school calendar executive order. Specifically, Schallheim would like to see the current mandated school year end-date of June 15 relaxed.
“Choosing a date, not a day, is problematic because sometimes that day falls on a weekend as it will next year. The school year box gets even smaller when that happens and negatively impacts students, teachers, and staff. School districts should be afforded the flexibility to develop school calendars which meet their unique needs and priorities.”
Schallheim has been working alongside AACPS School Board President Julie Hummer and Dr. Arlotto in pursuing statewide legislation to enable school districts to schedule school until the third Friday in June. HB679 has 50 co-sponsors. A hearing for HB679 in the Ways and Means committee is scheduled for February 22 at 1 p.m. School districts across the state have been vocal about the unintended consequences caused by the school executive order, from the removal of holidays like Rosh Hashanah, to the elimination of MSEA Day and spring break. Maryland is the only state with a mandated start and end date to the school year.
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