Transparency News 5/2/19



May 2, 2019


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state & local news stories


Late last week and during a special emergency school board meeting Monday, it was confirmed Prince George County Public Schools’ superintendent Renee Williams will be retiring from the position she has served in since her appointment in 2015, with her successor being formally announced as current school division assistant superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff. During the near half-hour called meeting, School Board Chairman Robert Cox, Jr. confirmed their decision to name Pennycuff as Prince George County Public Schools’ next superintendent, whose slated to move into the role beginning July 1. Cox addressed the concerns of some parents who feel they did not have an opportunity to give their thoughts as the future of the school division’s leadership, with some parents feeling the school board “had already chosen” who Williams’ replacement well before Monday morning’s meeting. “We are tasked as board members and elected officials to do what is best for the school division, and I think that, for the majority of our residents in the county with school-aged kids, they will see what we have done as a positive,” Cox said. “This saves money and time.” “Since hiring a superintendent is one of the most important things a school division does outside of creating an annual budget, the process should be as transparent as possible, give the public opportunities to have input, be at least state-wide, and have a search committee that represents various stakeholders from the schools and community,” Disputanta resident and parent Sharon Jadrnak remarked. 

The Prince George Journal


stories of national interest

A local critic of Washington, D.C.'s Metro system is suing the transit agency after it allegedly denied a records request for the results of a customer satisfaction survey. Unsuck DC Metro, an anonymous Metro watchdog with over 84,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 Facebook followers, filed suit Monday against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority after it said Metro violated public records rules in refusing to release the results of a customer satisfaction survey. The civil complaint asks that Metro produce the results of the survey and that the court require Metro to be more responsive with information in the future.

The U.S. has lost more than 2,200 lives and spent more than $840 billion on Afghanistan, its longest-ever war. But the U.S. public is steadily provided with less and less key information about how the war is going. Now, another crucial measure of the war's progress is no longer public. For years, the U.S. military has released basic information about how much of Afghanistan is under Afghan government control and how much is under control of the Taliban. That data is typically released in quarterly reports from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a body set up by Congress to audit U.S. spending in the war.  In the report released Wednesday, however, SIGAR says the NATO-led mission, Resolute Support, "formally notified SIGAR that it is no longer assessing district-level insurgent or government control or influence."