UPDATED (5:16 p.m.)—Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston came to Annapolis for breakfast on Friday and left with a list of questions two legislative leaders said need answering.
Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Del. John A. Olszewski Jr., who chair Baltimore County's Senate and House delegations, met with Hairston over breakfast at the Annapolis Marriott. During the meeting the pair presented the superintendent with a list of more than a dozen questions.
"We were very clear on our expectations and what we expect to happen," Olszewski said in a meeting with reporters held after the breakfast and a second meeting with four delegates and senators.
Klausmeier described the meeting as cordial and an attempt to increase communications with the school system.
"I got exactly what I thought I'd get," she said, adding that what they didn't get from Hairston was answers to most of their questions.
Hairston has agreed to meet again in a month with the entire House and Senate delegations. The meeting would be open to the public and press, Klausmeier and Olszewski said.
Issues on the list ranged from use of schools facilities, school overcrowding, the salary of a newly hired deputy superintendent and how the school system has handled , a as well as the purchase of new furniture for Hairston.
Hairston did not attend the meeting with reporters. The legislators hesitated to discuss Hairston's response saying they didn't "want to put words in his mouth."
Charles Herndon, a schools spokesman, said Hairston "found the meeting very positive and thought it went very well."
The meeting didn't please everyone.
Del. Steve Lafferty, vice chairman of the delegation questioned the delay in getting answers.
"I don't know much about the meeting other than (Klausmeier) said she asked questions and didn't get any answers," Lafferty said.
When asked if he was satisfied with the outcome Lafferty responed: "We shouldn't have to wait a month."
Klausmeier and Olszewski asked Hairston for the meeting last month after learning of the hiring of Renee Foose to be the new deputy superintendent.
Hairston responded by requesting a private meeting with Klausmeier and Olszewski rather than with the entire delegation in a public forum.
"He didn't want to be under attack and answer these kinds of questions," Klausmeier said. "That's just my interpretation of it."
The legislators questioned Foose's salary, reported to be about $214,000, at the same time that the system is proposing the elimination of nearly 200 teaching positions.
More than a dozen legislators signed a letter asking Kamenetz to .
The county executive said he would need nearly $16 million to restore the positions—a task made difficult because of overall reductions made in state aid to the county by the General Assembly. Additionally, Kamenetz, in a letter Thursday, told legislators the county also had to come up with an additional .
One situation that appears to have some resolution is the controversial issue of the public's , a school system policy known as Rule 1300.
Klausmeier said Hairston told them the school system "worked it out" and would allow the public to use the facilities for events such as community meetings and craft shows.
Last month the school board voted to review the rule in a committee and make changes that would bring school system policy in line with state law that requires school systems to encourage community use of the public facilities.
"He said they pretty well worked that out," said Klausemeier, adding that Hairston told her "if anyone has any problems they could contact his office."
Klausmeier said Hairston did not offer specifics on what had been "worked out."
Klausmeier also said she wanted Hairston to address concerns brought to her that the school system spent as much as $500,000 on new furniture for the superintendent.
The senator said Hairston confirmed that new furniture had been purchased but could not confirm how much has been spent.
Klausmeier and Olszewski also questioned how the school system has handled the release of information related to Foose's salary. The Baltimore Sun reported that they were able to obtain the salary information one month after filing a written request.
Patch, which asked for the salary information 29 days ago, was told the figure even though the state Attorney General and courts have ruled that government employee salaries are public information. Most state and county agencies routinely release salary information immediately without a written request.