Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Schools’ chief recommends denial of charter application

Riverside Academy would increase financial burden on school system

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Garrett County Superintendent of Schools Janet Wilson is recommending that the Board of Education deny an application for a proposed charter school in Kitzmiller. Six committees reviewed the application submitted by Kitzmiller Charter School Initiative Inc. and, for the most part, the analysis of the application yielded unfavorable recommendations, ac-cording to Wilson’s recommendation.

“I concur with the analysis and subsequent recommendations made by members of the six review committees,” Wilson wrote in her recommendation “Although my recommendation to deny the charter school application could stand alone, the addendum to this recommendation also ad-dresses the fiscal implications of granting the charter application during a period of declining student enrollment and unprecedented financial hardships for the Garrett County Public Schools.”

Wilson noted that granting the application for Riverside Academy would increase the financial burden on the school system as a whole and would result in the need of further school closings, student redistricting, reductions in force of staff and the continued inability to meet negotiated employee pay scales.

“What is clear and compelling is that there will be a significant impact to all Garrett County public schools and all students should Riverside Academy become a reality,” wrote Wilson.

Under Maryland law, a county board of education must fund a public charter school with an amount “that is commensurate with the amount disbursed to other public schools in the local jurisdiction,” according to the state Department of Education.

The doors to Dennett Road and Kitzmiller Elementary closed permanently in May of last year and Bloomington Elementary closed in 2011.

“These closures represent 20 percent of the 15 schools that served Garrett County in fiscal 2011,” Wilson wrote. “These closures, as well as corresponding reductions in force and other significant reductions or eliminations of programs, while painstakingly difficult for the elected Board of Education, were necessary to ensure the ability of the Board to continue to meet its obligations of providing a free quality education program to all children of Garrett County.”

The closing of Dennett Road and Kitzmiller elementary schools saved about $1 million and $279,000, respectively, helping to close a shortfall of $2 million.

The school board will vote on Wilson’s recommendation during a special meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Southern Middle School.

To read the recommendation in it’s entirety, visit the BOE website at www.ga.k12. md.us.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.



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Jay Ferguson

Who I Am My name is Jay Ferguson, and I am a lifelong resident of the Deep Creek Lake area. I am also co-owner of the real estate side of Taylor Made. I have been in the real estate business for 21+ years now and I LOVE what I do! I have to say, my career really took off when I co-founded the real estate side of Taylor Made in 2014. Its been an amazing experience, building a real estate company from the ground up and achieving so much so quickly! In August 2016, we purchased Long & Foster Real Estate Deep Creek, where I had started my career in 2000. In 2018, we on-boarded virtually every agent from Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty as they closed up shop and the real estate family grew even more! We now have over 40 sales agents and have expanded to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well. Taylor Made is the #1 vacation rental company at Deep Creek with over 475 vacation rental homes, and over one hundred thousand yearly visitors. Its amazing what we have accomplished using the principles of honesty, teamwork and customer service! Personally, my wife Jessica and I enjoy traveling and especially spending time in the outdoors, hiking and exploring the many diverse areas that Garrett County is naturally blessed with. We have raised two wonderful children here, Kayleah (22) and Noah (13). In the summer, we love spending time on the water with friends & family and enjoying the lake life! We are both active in our church, our community & local school activities, and we fill our schedule with plenty of volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to say that I was named Deep Creek Time’s Favorite ‘Community Champion’ in 2019. I was also named Garrett County Realtor of the Year in 2018-19, as well. I really enjoy promoting my hometown. I am very proud of the resort area that has developed over my lifetime and look forward to growing the area even more! Deep Creek Lake has been described as ‘The Lake Tahoe of the east', and I think that speaks volumes about the potential to own property here! Deep Creek Lake isn't really a town or city by itself; it's comprised of three towns: Oakland, Swanton & McHenry, Maryland. I am very passionate about my hometown and am impressed with how many people know about it as we travel around the country. Deep Creek Lake is an amazing place to visit and even better place to live! During the pandemic in 2020, our market exploded and more and more people left their primary residence in the city to live here permanently. With distance learning in schools and tele-commuting becoming the ‘norm’, many more people were drawn to the area to ‘live where they love to play’. Why You Want Me Working for You: In addition to being an owner, I am consistently one of the top-producing agents in the entire area and the Associate Broker of record for Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I have 21+ years of experience and I am a problem solver. There aren’t many situations that I have not encountered and I have a strategy for almost every scenario that you may encounter. I have extensively trained in all areas of real estate & emerging technologies, and also have trained as an appraiser, as well as served as a full-time Broker. I have a strong knowledge of the industry, as well as many trusted local contacts & affiliations that allow me to perform at a very high level and deliver results. I have a great deal of respect for my peers in this industry and have strong working relationships that I would love to put to work for you. Call me to discuss your situation - I know I can be of great service to you & others you care about! Honesty. Integrity. Results.