Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – May 26, 2023

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – May 26, 2023

Of the two Cruisin events – one in the spring and the other in October – the May edition typically brings larger crowds than its fall counterpart. In years past, the spring Cruisin has also been the event with more trouble from non-event participants who in the past have come to Ocean City with its unfortunate intentions. In recent years, the good news is the events are much tamer than in years past. A review of statistics from the Ocean City Police Department confirms much progress has been made.

Officer calls for service decreased 22%  last weekend from the same time period in 2022, from 973 to 755, and citizen calls for service decreased 6%, from 362 last year to 229 this year. Total calls for service dropped 18 percent last weekend, from 1,335 in 2022 (1,402 in 2021) to 1,094. Other decreases were seen in traffic citations (410 last year to 386), accidents (12 to seven), total arrests (53 to 35), drug arrests (four to one) and weapon arrests (eight to four). Increases were seen in exhibition driving offenses with 23 citations issued this year compared to 18 last year and 22 in 2021. Other increases were seen DUI arrests (eight compared to five last year), traffic warnings (254 compared to 121) and total traffic enforcement (640 from 531).

Ocean City Police Deputy Communications Manager Ashley Miller issued a statement this week on the weekend recognizing the values in partnerships with the Cruisin organizer as well as law enforcement. “The Ocean City Police Department is thankful for our continued support and partnership with our local allied law enforcement agencies. This past week, the Maryland State Police, Natural Resource Police, and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office provided additional support to ensure our roadways and sidewalks remained safe,” she said. “We would like to thank our partners with the Motor Vehicle Administration Investigation Division for being on hand to address MVA violations. Each year the success of these events is a joint effort. between the Cruisin’ staff, law enforcement partners, the Ocean City community, and our Mayor & City Council.”

There was some new news this week involving the ongoing squabble between the Worcester County Commissioners and the Worcester County Board of Education. The commissioners have submitted a Public Information Act to secure budget documents that have been seeking for weeks from the school board. In fairness, the school system has provided the county with more information as request, but it’s far from what the commissioners are seeking. In fact, Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young said last week the school system provided documentation on about 4% of its budget.

The ongoing debate between the school system and the commissioners seems to be on the minds of many these days. Many teachers are expressing themselves clearly on social media and with more traditional outreach like letters to the editor. Some educators are too worried to put their names on their opinions, but one elementary school teacher did provide some interesting reflections on current matters that I thought was worthy of sharing.

The teacher shared, “1. It’s unfortunate to hear that we will not be getting the raise we thought. It is also extremely concerning considering there is a state law coming down (the blueprint model) saying that new teachers must have a starting salary of 60k by 2025-2026 school year. With that being said I have taught for 8 years now and I do not even make $60k. The thought behind the raise was that they were going to close the gap in salaries. It’s also concerning for the teachers who have been teaching for more years than myself and to know that they may never be compensated for their time in the county based off of the new teacher salary. …

I am not upset with the commissioners at all. They have a responsibility to ensure that the money they are given is necessary and needed and will be utilized correctly and appropriately. Without the board providing them with the proof and documentation they have asked for, I do not blame the commissioners for not giving the money. I do blame the Board of Ed for not being prepared for this. This can’t be the first time we have asked for more money from the commissioners and this can’t be the first time they had to provide proof of a budget. This should be something that is kept on top of and organized and presented without even being asked. This is a public school system, not a private business. Records should be made public and provided upon request. The fact that information is being withheld has caused a ton of uncertainty in teachers. We feel like when you do not provide what you are asked to, in order to benefit your teachers, it is because something shady has occurred that you do not want us to know about.

  1. Additional take on all of this is the level of frustration we feel. There are so many more issues occurring within the school system that the public probably isn’t aware about. Educational assistants are no longer being used to support our general education teachers. They are now being used as babysitters to support students who have behavior needs. These are not just students with disabilities either. If the county could provide the budget and we could ensure money is being used properly, then maybe schools could hire more mental health support and behavioral support staff to help with these students, this way the education assistants can do just that, assist with education.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.