Md. Lawmakers to Review Prince George’s School Board

Prince George's County Public School Board holds a special meeting in Upper Marlboro on Dec. 19 to review recommendations from a state audit on grade changes for high school seniors. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Prince George's County Public School Board holds a special meeting in Upper Marlboro on Dec. 19 to review recommendations from a state audit on grade changes for high school seniors. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

The highly anticipated state legislation to revamp the Prince George’s County School Board will be discussed Thursday afternoon in Annapolis.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee will review a proposal on whether to change the structure and governance of the school board.

Critics of the board’s current hybrid structure — four appointed and 10 elected — argue it doesn’t hold the board accountable and allows the school system CEO Kevin Maxwell to manage without stronger oversight.

Other proposed changes include making the panel an all-elected board, allowing members to select the board chair and vice chair and choose a chief executive officer, also known as the superintendent, and shrinking the current 14-member board to 10.

The legislation basically strips the power of the county executive to appoint three members to the board and another by the county council.

Delegate Darryl Barnes (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro organized an online survey last month that drew slightly more than 1,200 respondents to answer four questions.

A breakdown of the results:

• Would you like to see an all elected school board? – 84 percent yes, 16 percent no

• Do you think that the county executive should have the authority to appoint the school board chair and vice chair? – 10 percent yes, 90 percent no

• Should the county executive have the authority to appoint the superintendent? – 24 percent yes, 76 percent no

• Should the members of the school board have the authority to select the chair, vice chair and hire the superintendent? – 67 percent yes, 33 percent no

“Before we hear governance bills, I want to do my homework,” Barnes said. “I want to hear what the public is saying and then get an opportunity to hear both sides of the story.”

If state lawmakers approve the law as written, it would go into effect June 1 and the four appointed members would be terminated the next day.

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About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 557 Articles
I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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