Testimonies on Senate Bill 290 and House Bill 384
Jean Suda, ABCSchools
I am a 21-year resident of Baltimore County. My three children (ages 25, 23 and 19) have attended Baltimore County schools. They had very successful school experiences and are on their way to contributing productively to our great country.
Why, now that my children are out of the Baltimore County public schools am I still pushing for some elected representation on the BOE?
Because I contribute a little over half of my tax dollars to support the public schools. Because my property value is linked to the quality of the public schools in my neighborhood. Because my neighbors’ children are still attending the public schools. Because I cannot, despite repeated efforts to do so, influence the direction of education policy in this county without sustained and unrelenting personal effort.
This level of effort is difficult to sustain, and much of it is futile because the Baltimore County system is structured to marginalize public input. As a result, people are not motivated to participate until the consequences of inaction are too painful (their child faints from heat exhaustion at school, or their child’s classroom is so crowded he sits on a lab stool in science class, or their elementary school has almost as many “learning cottages, i.e. Trailers” as regular classrooms).
They do not know who on the BOE to contact when an issue concerns their school or community. In the past they have often called on their State senators and delegates to get some attention to their BOE concerns….or they resort to protests held outside the County Executive’s office or at his public appearances or at BOE meetings or public hearings.
Yes, the Board of Ed and the new BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance have instituted more ways to contact them and to participate. However, neither the Board, nor the Superintendent are beholden to the public in any meaningful way. Board members will not lose their position because a significant portion of their constituency are concerned or outraged by their actions or lack thereof. Similarly, Board members who may effectively represent the point of view of their area schools, may not remain on the Board of Ed if the County Executive or other Board members do not want that person to remain. The current appointer in chief, the Governor, is far more likely to listen to the County Executive or other politically connected advisor when considering who should sit on the Baltimore County Board of Ed.
The new BCPS Superintendent, Dr. Dance, has submitted a FY2015 budget that requests $1.4 BILLION and asks for $39.7 million more than the Maintenance of Effort would require of the County Executive. This will be the year that tests whether or not Dr. Dance can persuade the county to contribute more to education than it has for the past four years. And if the County Executive decides not to fund the BCPS FY2015 operating budget at the level requested; who do I have on the BOE to advocate for my area’s schools? Who on the Board has ever contradicted what the County Executive decides to allot to the school system? Pressure to increase the amount of money allocated to county public schools can only come from individuals who are able to attend the BOE budget hearings held in the fall and late January, or futilely in May when the County Council approves the final FY Budget. I was the only person to testify in front of the Council last May, and only one of four to appear before the BOE at the budget hearing last Thursday, Jan. 23. I could not get my name into the BOE Box at yesterday’s meeting, because I arrived at 6:30PM and the “box” had already been taken up to the Board. I have sent an email concerning my testimony to both the Superintendent and Board of Ed President.
But I am one of THOUSANDS of people with a stake in the county’s public schools. Why should I expect Dr. Dance or the President of the BOE to be able to take anything but a polite interest in my concerns? BCPS is the 26th largest school system in the nation. I deserve a say in who decides how to spend 52% of my tax dollars. I deserve a more direct link to the people who vote on policies affecting over 100,000 of Baltimore County’s most precious resource…its children, its future.
In the 2012 Presidential Election, over 1.1 million Marylanders participated. Baltimore County voters cast 111,044 of those votes -- 10% of the state total. Yet Baltimore County does not allow these 100,000+ voters to exercise their franchise with regard to choosing members of the Board of Education.
How is that possible? Baltimore County taxpayers may be required to support a requested $1.4 BILLION operating budget in FY2015 without any direct representation on the Board of Education. That just doesn’t seem American to me. Please pass Senate Bill 290 this year! Thank you.
Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today. My name is Erica Mah. I am from Catonsville in southwest Baltimore County and I have two children at Hillcrest Elementary School. I am here to tell you how my experiences have convinced me to support the hybrid school board legislation.
When my son started kindergarten in 2010, I was excited to volunteer in his school. I volunteered in his classroom, with the ESOL program, even in the cafeteria. The halls seemed crowded and it was pretty loud in the cafeteria, but I figured that was how it was. The next year, my daughter started kindergarten. With 28 other kids in her class. 29 5-year olds in one classroom. And I wondered how that could have happened?
I continued my volunteering in the classroom and throughout the school, and noticed more and more the crowds, the noise, the number of times the first grade boys' bathroom backed up. And found out it was not just my impression that we were overcrowded. We were way over our capacity. But of course, the numbers go to the County and our Board of Ed, so they would know. I thought: They'd do something about it.
The following year there were 6 classes in the first grade and kindergarten. And our numbers topped 800 in a school built for 666. Somehow we went nearly 150 kids over our capacity and still no one had noticed?
I joined the PTA and asked about the overcrowding situation at our school. And I found out that there was NO plan to address our overcrowding. I read a Baltimore Sun article that stated “both Hillcrest Elementary and Catonsville Middle are overcrowded, according to state standards for school capacity.” Another article described parent concern about the use of trailers to alleviate overcrowding. These articles were from 2006 and 2007. 7 years later, Hillcrest is still overcrowded and now, every single school in Catonsville is also over capacity and we are still pushing for a real solution.
In nearly any other position, and certainly positions less important than one that determines the education of thousands of children, there are performance reviews and consequences. When work is done poorly, deadlines not met, projections inaccurate, proposals lacking in quality – people are asked to improve, to have a plan or put on probation until improvement is seen. Why has there not been improvement in Baltimore County? Because there is no accountability and no true investment to our children by those who make decisions. They are appointed to serve. Not elected. They did not have to appeal to the families, to the parents they serve. They owe nothing to us – not even basic communication.
When we started an email writing campaign about our overcrowding problems, we tried to find email addresses for the BOE members who are supposed to represent us and our children. It was quite a surprise, and very telling, that those email addresses were not available to the public. The public, and the families, that they are supposed to serve. Even now, they are still not available. Can you think of any other group of people who serve the public and is yet completely shielded by a generic, communal “Contact us” box?
We have some terrific members of the BOE – in particular Catonsville's very own Michael Bowler. And I don't doubt that individually, every single member cares about the education of our children. But something is not working correctly if back to back generations of elementary school parents are fighting for nearly 10 years over the same problem. Someone is not paying attention. The Board members are supposed to represent us and our issues; so why are we spending so much time representing ourselves?
I am here today and missing my daughter's Penguin's Best celebration. Her teacher has the kids individually conference with her to talk about how they did the first half of the year and what goals they have for the second half. The children are dressed up in their best black and white (like a Penguin's tux) because her teacher wants them to do their best and to be accountable for doing their best. That is a discussion that we never get to have with the BOE – either at meetings, over email, or through an election. How can our BOE not be held to the same standard as our children?
I want to volunteer for my children's school - but I want to be there with my kids for Literature Night, for concerts, for International Nights. I don't want to spend next year as I did this part year - going every month to ask our BOE to pay attention to our schools and the problems facing us and to please help us. And I don't want the next generation of parents to repeat the pattern again 6 years from now. We need a BOE with members who are truly and directly invested in our children and our schools.
My four children and three grandchildren attend(ed) Baltimore County Schools. After retirement I worked as a long-term substitute teacher in Baltimore County. As a broadcast journalist, I reported in 1995 on the $300,000 early retirement package Superintendent Stuart Berger was given to make him go away. Two years ago Superintendent Joe Hairston's contract was not renewed. That was shortly after he had spent $500,000 to refurnish his office. The BoE didn't initiate either firing. It was the County Executives who had to step in.
We've been trying to get a Baltimore County hybrid school board for several years. And every year we are rejected, not on the merits of a hybrid board but because of patronage politics. If the current BoE system was working for the people our appeal might not be so urgent. That's just the point. Our BoE is broken. Oh yes, it works for the County Executive, but not for us.
For the past few years many Baltimore County Schools have been overcrowded and nothing was being done or planned until parents waged a publicity campaign to shame the board into action. This same scenario has played out repeatedly in four different areas of our county. Why would we have to play this same publicity campaign scenario four times? Because the BoE is appointed.
There was an episode at Ridgely Middle School. The windows were sealed in preparation for the installation of air conditioning. But the air conditioning was not installed because the money was no longer available. It was spent elsewhere. Temperatures and tempers soared. We made a lot of noise about that. Eventually money was found to finish the job, but not before students spent many miserable fall and spring days when temperatures pushed past 100 degrees. How can anyone learn in an environment like that? Well, students did learn one thing. The BoE doesn't care about them or their education. Why would they? They are appointed.
The BoE created Rule 1300, which halted all PTA and other community fundraising activities on school properties. When challenged, the BoE wouldn't budge, even though the BCPS handbook encourages our communities to use school facilities. Eventually wiser minds prevailed and BoE reversed themselves. Why did this silly power play happen? The BoE is appointed.
Most recently Superintendent Dance has decreed that all county high schools will divide the day into eight periods, replacing a seven-period day. According to Dance this would make it easier for a student to transfer from one school to another and it would eliminate some teachers. There was no intent to improve education. Worse, it would undo an effective seven-class system being used by high-performing schools to prepare their students for college coursework. Later it was revealed that Dance hired a consulting firm to support his eight-class day. That firm has only performed three other contracts and one of those contracts was for Dance himself when he was working in Houston, Texas. Why hasn't the BoE questioned Dance's eight- class policy? Because the BoE is appointed.
It's difficult to help improve our schools when the BoE stands in the way or hides from us when we seek their help. The following words were used by others who have tried to work with the Baltimore County appointed BoE.
"Frustration, unresponsive, unaccountable, broken, opaque, failure, futile, disinterested, rubber stamp, un-American, uncommunicative, inattentive, unilateral, disregarding, silent".
Senators, please, don't you be silent too.
Jayne H. Lee, VP for Leadership
PTA Council of Baltimore County
At a special meeting of the PTA Council of Baltimore County held on February 11, 2013, the council general membership voted to support and advocate for the passage of hybrid school board legislation pertaining to the composition of the board of education in Baltimore County. The attendance at this meeting, held with only one week’s notice, was the largest attendance at any recent council general meeting. The support given to the resolution passed was overwhelming. With the largest and most vocal crowd in recent memory at any council meeting, only one vote was cast in opposition to the resolution.
Speaking as the VP for Leadership for the PTA Council of Baltimore County and on behalf of the over 30,000 council members. I ask that you lend your support for Senate Bill 290 and HB 384.
Our membership feels very strongly on this subject. They want the school board to be more responsive to their schools and communities needs and feel that having an at least partially elected board of education will go a long way toward that goal. We believe that this change will give parents a more transparent and accountable board of education. We also feel that it will help lead to better community engagement in our school system.
Please understand that this in no way reflects on our perception of Dr. S. Dallas Dance as an inclusive and open leader. He has, in fact, stated that he has no stance on this issue. The Blueprint for Progress 2.0 Goal 3, put forth after Dr. Dance took over, explicitly calls for better communication and engagement of the community both inside and outside the system. It is our belief that a hybrid board of education will help facilitate that goal.
Greater Timonium Community Council President Eric Rockel
I am writing to urge support of Senate Bill 290, which seeks to create a partially-elected, or hybrid, school board for Baltimore County. The current, fully-appointed School Board is one of the few that exist within the State of Maryland at a time when nationally over eighty five percent of the school boards are at least partially elected. The citizens of Baltimore County have been demanding a change from the status quo for several years now, and it is time for the Legislature to act on this request.
So why is the citizenry calling for a change in the present process? Simply put, the current, appointed board has not represented the views of the public for some time now, and I believe that a partially-elected board will be more responsive to public concerns. Let me cite just a couple of examples where the current arrangement has been insensitive to public needs. Several years ago the School Board instituted a very restrictive policy for the use of school facilities after nomal school hours. This policy, Rule 1300, placed many impediments to the public’s use of school facilities, and in my opinion violated Section 7-108 of the Education Article, which states that “each county board shall encourage the use of public school facilities for community purposes”. As a result of public outcries to that policy, the School Board reexamined, and ultimately changed, Rule 1300, but it did so without entertaining broad public comment from non-profit groups, community associations and others who use these facilities.
Similar failings to adequately garner public opinion were demonstrated in the School Board’s selection of a new elementary school site for the York Road corridor. As required by State regulation, the Board held a public hearing prior to its site selection. Yet the State Board of Education ruled that the Baltimore County Board failed to adequately provide public notice for that hearing. Ultimately, the State Board required that a second public hearing take place.
To add insult to injury, after the initial public hearing, the School Board made its site selection less than twenty four hours after the close of the initial public hearing, which signaled to the public that the Board was not really interested in a careful consideration of the public testimony at that meeting. That testimony included not only general feelings on the suitability of the recommended site, but a two inch thick binder full of substantive information about other alternatives, replete with cost estimates, alternative site schematics and other information.
Let me close with some anecdotal evidence that captures the essence of the problem with the current board. At a past School Board meeting, I listened to a citizen criticize the Board about its policies regarding the determination of religious holidays. While I certainly thought that this citizen had been excessive in his criticism, I respected his freedom of speech to express those views. As that citizen was walking back to his seat in the audience, a School Board member commanded the citizen to “see me at the end of the meeting.” Within ten or fifteen seconds of issuing that demand, the School Board member walked his statement back and requested “may we talk about your comments after this meeting”, but to my mind the damage had already been done. A true public servant, which is what each School Board member truly represents, would not have demanded a meeting with the citizen. The citizenry is not subservient to the Board. Rather the Board and the citizens should be co-equals, each working for the betterment of the school system and its students. That is why I believe a partially elected School Board is long overdue. Our organization, the GTCC, is composed of nearly fifty community associations in the greater Timonium area, the majority of which supports the creation of a hybrid school board.
My name is Jason Garber. My family and I reside in Loch Raven Village in Towson. While we do not have any school-age children at the present time, we have a 2-yr old daughter. Because we do not have any school-age children, school issues have not been on my family’s radar, that is, until last October, when we first learned of Dr. Dance’s and BCPS’ intention to reactivate and renovate the old Loch Raven ES, close Halstead Academy, and bus the entire Halstead population to the renovated LRES.
Since then, I have spent countless hours getting up to speed on BCPS’ proposal, its numerous problems and failures, the decision-making process, State and County policies, the Capital Budget and funding processes, writing numerous e-mails and letters, attending a multitude of meetings with the Loch Raven Village and Knettishall communities, meetings with our various elected representatives, speaking with various state agencies and employees, and reaching out to other people and communities.
By way of background, in April 2013, BCPS identified certain elementary schools within the York Road corridor in Towson as needing imminent or prioritized overcrowding relief. Parents from certain elementary schools were invited by BCPS to participate in a forum to identify overcrowding solutions, as well as those parents’ priorities and preferences with respect to overcrowding and redistricting. Ten sites for a new school were identified, but by the end of the Summer, all 10 had been rejected.
Contrast that with that conduct BCPS’ exhibited toward Loch Raven Village, Knettishall, Hillendale, and others to be affected. We were not identified as having an overcrowding problem that required immediate attention. We were not invited to participate in any forum to discuss solutions. We were not asked for our preferences and priorities. In fact, we were specifically excluded from the process.
Instead, BCPS told the LRV, Knettishall, Hillendale and other surrounding communities that it had identified the LRES/Halstead plan (as well as CVE) as the only solution to the overcrowding in the York Road corridor schools, though LRES, Halstead and CVE are not within the York Road corridor. BCPS was largely non-responsive to requests for information and could not or would not provide answers to basic questions about the LRES plan. Though BCPS held a meeting in which the hundreds in attendance were united against the plan, BCPS forged ahead the following day. To date, BCPS still cannot answer how LRES and Halstead became part of this process; how it will help solve overcrowding in schools and communities that do not feed into LRES; why we were not notified, let alone invited to participate; why Halstead cannot be renovated in the same manner as intended for LRES, and many other key and pertinent questions for students, the communities, and taxpayers.
Leaving aside CVE’s addition for 189 new seats (which is to cost $19 mil), the LRES/Halstead plan adds as few as zero seats and no more than 100. For that, the County wants $35 million to renovate the old LRES. In other words, to get, at best, 100 new seats, the County intends to spend at least $350,000 per new seat, but it could be $35 mil for no new seats. This figure does not include the costs to bus the entire Halstead population to LRES. This amount does not include infrastructure improvements, including potential eminent domain proceedings, moving of utility lines, and widening of the roadway to access LRES. This plan does not take into account the removal of a neighborhood school from a community. This plan does not consider that Halstead children will not be able to participate in after-school activities as they need to be bused. This plan does not take into account the loss of the community center that served Loch Raven Village and neighboring communities. This plan does not provide any new educational opportunities for the students at any location.
These issues were brought to the attention of our local school board by, not only members in the communities, but also by a number of our elected representatives. Nevertheless, at the Capital Budget hearing (one week after BCPS formally announced its plan), only 1 or 2 school board members voiced any concerns or questions over the process, result, or any other issue related to the plan or its consequences. All voted in favor.
The disparity in BCPS’ treatment of different communities, BCPS’ refusal or inability to answer basic questions, unilateral decision-making, disregard for community participation, and other issues should not be tolerated, but our fully-appointed school board not only did so by largely remaining silent, it affirmatively ratified such conduct by voting in favor. In Baltimore County, there is no one to challenge BCPS’ decisions.
At no point in this process have we been able to have a voice, though our community is to be affected. At no point in this process have we been given a choice, though it is our tax dollars that is to be spent on something that BCPS has yet to justify. The Board’s silence on LRES/Halstead may be considered the canary in the coal mine, as many other communities have similar problems with BCPS and the fully-appointed Board. In short, Baltimore County’s system is broken. The countless hours I have had to spend on these issues are solely attributable to the failures of the fully-appointed Board and the enabling of BCPS.
Elected school board members have accountability to the community. The presence of elected school board members will result in more transparency for not only the Board and their decision-making, but also BCPS. Many of you live in jurisdictions where you have a voice, where you are given a choice. We are asking for the same. One of the important ideas upon which our Country is founded is that communities should have a voice in decisions that affect their communities. I urge you to allow us to have a voice in decisions that affect our children, our communities, and our tax dollars. I urge to you to vote YES on the Hybrid School Board Bill (HB 384).
I am a resident of Loch Raven Village in Towson and I have twins at Pleasant Plains ES. I am representing the Adhoc committee of Loch Raven Village Associates and Knettishall. We support the hybrid school board bill (HB 384) and believe the time has come for all of you to respectfully do the same. This year, in particular, has shown the dire need for a portion of the BC Board of Education members to be elected. I say this because of the numerous parent and neighborhood advocacy groups, such as ABCschools and Hereford Works that have formed in opposition to numerous decisions affecting all areas of the county.
Groups of people don’t customarily organize and name their cause, unless something has seriously motivated them to do so. People are seething over decisions made by Superintendent Dance and supported by the Baltimore County Board of Education. The accountability within this group, by design, IS NOT present in the process and the parents, teachers, students and residents are essentially being ignored. In some cases, intentionally excluded as Barbara McAllister from Hillendale mentioned, and we have believed since Sept., that we were also intentionally excluded.
One of the greatest concerns for all of you should be, what is everyone so upset about? Why are people taking time out of their lives and time off work to be here today, such as myself? Speaking for residents of LRV and Knettishall, we are upset about the following, which we strongly believe would have been handled differently had there been a Hybrid Elected School Board in place:
In an effort to highlight a situation that could have been avoided, and relates directly to
the formation of a hybrid school board, I would like to share an example: Superintendent
Dance’s proposal to re-activate Loch Raven Elementary School.
To relieve overcrowding in the York Rd corridor, Dr. Dance met with parents from schools on Towson’s west side to identify potential solutions and to determine the parents’ priorities in addressing the overcrowding in their schools. Ten options were identified. After a few meetings with representatives from those schools, all ten options were rejected and, instead, Dr. Dance decided to move ahead with a plan to re-open the former Loch Raven Elementary in Loch Raven Village, close Halstead Academy in Hillendale and relocate the entire Halstead population to a new Loch Raven Elementary.
BCPS did not seek any input from the residents of Loch Raven Village or Knettishall. It quickly became apparent to our community that we were on our own to investigate the
proposal as time after time we were put off by Dr. Dance’s office. It turns out that this proposal, which was brought into being to alleviate overcrowding, does no such thing and will cost many millions of dollars more than was thought or stated.
We made every attempt to get our concerns across to the Board of Education and Dr. Dance.
We also contacted our senators, delegates and councilmen. Who do you think responded?
The elected officials. We heard not one word from the BoE or Dr. Dance until it was much too
late. The elected officials have a vested interest in what we, as the people, think. The Board of Ed., in its current all-appointed form, does not.
The lack of public accountability at the school board also results in less accountability and
transparency for BCPS. The decision to reactivate Loch Raven Elementary was made without any input from the Loch Raven Village community. The proposal does not solve
overcrowding in the areas BCPS has determined requires immediate attention or priority.
Moreover, the costs associated are substantially higher than other alternatives and do not
include increased transportation costs or infrastructure improvements. Despite these issues, only one or two members of the school board posed any questions or voiced concerns to BCPS.
All Board of Ed. members voted in favor and this project passed “as-is” though a number of
questions were unanswered. Those same questions remain unaddressed and unanswered.
Publicly-elected school board members might have challenged BCPS on the decision-making
process and on the failure to address the overcrowding and costs. In turn, BCPS would be
forced to answer those challenges, resulting in greater transparency for not only the school
board, but also BCPS decision-making. This helps the public get answers to questions and
increases public participation and interest.
The failures and issues raised by this proposal would have been exposed much earlier and the
public would not have to exclusively rely upon concerned citizens to analyze, understand, and
investigate the proposal.
Public participation is essential and the hybrid school board bill ensures that the public will have greater involvement.
Former BOE Members Ramona Johnson and Meg O'Hare
We are asking all Delegates to vote “yes” on the House Bill 384, titled Baltimore County–Board of Education–Selection of Members. This bill is the companion bill to Senate Bill 290. These bills establish procedures for the election and appointment of the members of the Baltimore County Board of Education; repeal provisions governing the appointment of members of the county board; and will establish the composition of the county board.
Throughout the United States, 95% of Boards of Education are elected. There are 24 local education authorities (LEA’s), known as Boards of Education, in Maryland. Of the 24, 75% have fully elected Boards and 8.3% have partially elected Boards.
As recent former members of the Board of Education of Baltimore County, we know that Baltimore County needs a Board of Education with elected members to best represent the interests of its citizens. We need a Board that is transparent and open. We need a Board with members who answer to the people. Although a fully elected Board would be the best option, a hybrid board is better than the current situation.
One very important issue with any proposed hybrid Board of Education is the ratio of elected to appointed members. House Bill 384 addresses this concern. As HB 384 proposes and what is logical, one member from each Baltimore County Council District or 7 members will be elected and 4 members will be appointed to ensure racial equity. We think all members, including appointed members, should be required to share specific qualifications and resumes prior to appointment to prevent appointees who might only serve political or other special interests.
No one knows the needs of a specific Baltimore County community like people who live in and volunteer in that community. These are people who give of their time to ensure the best quality of life possible in their communities. Board members who are elected in a democratic process are better removed from Baltimore County political control and will make fiscally balanced decisions in the best interest of their constituents, the schools and the students. There are many fine candidates who will put themselves before their communities’ residents and tell them why they want to serve as a Board of Education member in Baltimore County. Most important, Baltimore County residents have the right to choose Board of Education members who are known in their communities as proven education advocates for effective, quality and fiscally effective education for the students of Baltimore County Public Schools.
The topic of how to populate the Baltimore County Board of Education is not a new one. It seems that each year the legislature hears from citizens in one or more of the 4 LEA’s that have an appointed Board who want an elected Board. The 18 Boards in Maryland that are fully elected include: Allegheny, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington and Worcester. Two counties, Caroline County and Harford County, have hybrid boards with a combination of elected and appointed members. Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Wicomico County and Baltimore City have fully appointed Boards. Both Anne Arundel and Baltimore County residents have been lobbying in recent years in Annapolis for the right to have an elected Board.
In Maryland, the residents of Baltimore County, with the support of their legislators, are asking to “vet” potential board of education members via the election process. Currently, Baltimore County resident voters have no input on the appointed boards. In many cases, it appears that Baltimore County Board of Education appointees are being selected for their political loyalties rather than their qualifications. Board of Education members should be selected for their passion and ability to serve in the very important role overseeing the education of the very diverse 100,000 student body.
The public tide has turned toward an elected board of education for Baltimore County, MD. This year, more than in any other year, there is an urgent push to move to a Board with elected representatives, whether hybrid or fully elected. Despite an outcry from many citizens, last year the County Executive went to Annapolis to personally lobby the legislators representing Baltimore County to maintain an appointed school board. It is believed that this is the primary reason the legislation was not successful last year.
As we have witnessed too often, it has been too easy for the appointed Board in Baltimore County to ignore the opinions not only of parents, but of Baltimore County communities and its citizens.
The League of Women Voters, the Baltimore County PTA Council, the Central County Democratic Club, and the Randallstown NAACP have taken a position favoring an elected school board. There are also growing grassroots groups in the County, such as ABCSchools (www.abcschoolsmd.org) and EXPECT (www.expectall.org) that support and are lobbying Baltimore County citizens as well as the Maryland State Legislature in 2014 in Annapolis for an fully elected or hybrid board of education in Baltimore County.