HYBRID SCHOOL BOARD EFFORT - THE LATEST
* 3/17/14: From Delegate Steve Lafferty: "The hybrid school board bill just passed in the House - 136 - 0!!!"
*3/18/14: Thanks to Bryan Sears of the Daily Record for posting this on Facebook:
Curious Case of the Missing School Board Bill Votes
Baltimore County residents advocating for a form of elected school board moved significantly closer to their goal Tuesday when the Senate voted 45-0 (roll call: http://goo.gl/D1GM3h ) in favor of an amended version of a hybrid elected-appointed school board bill. Missing from the roll call despite being in their seats for the vote were Sens. Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore County, and Verna L. Jones-Rodwell, D-Baltimore City.
* 3/19/14 Fox 45 news segment on the hybrid school board vote and 3/17/14 Baltimore Sun Editorial: Baltimore County Should Have a Hybrid School Board
* Posted by Sen. JB Jennings on Facebook, 3/14/14: "We just passed the Baltimore County Hybrid School Board bill (SB290) out of the Senate EHE Committee – UNANIMOUSLY!!!"
* NEWS FROM ANNAPOLIS: On 3/13, the Baltimore County Delegation voted through HB384 with an amendment suggested by Del. Adrienne Jones to have a nominating commission of engaged stakeholders for vacancies and appointees. The bill will go into effect in 2018. The bill needs to come up for a vote in the House Ways & Means Committee before reaching the House floor.
* READ BALTIMORE SUN ARTICLE AND LISTEN TO WPYR COVERAGE ABOUT THE HYBRID SCHOOL BOARD BILL'S BEST CHANCE IN A DECADE
* The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (EHEA) Committee heard SB290 on 3/12. Everyone's testimony was greatly appreciated!
* The House Delegation heard HB384 on 2/21. Thanks to all who testified. The House Ways and Means Committee heard the bill on 2/19 -- 22 speakers FOR, 0 against. View the video and read testimonies.
* 2/5/14: As reported by Bryan Sears of the Daily Record, "Baltimore County Senate Delegation voted favorable on SB 290. The vote was 7-1 with only Sen. Delores Kelley voting against." READ the Sun's coverage from 2/7/14 about the Senate Delegation's overwhelming support for the bill.
Senate Bill 290 - Baltimore County - Board of Education - Selection of Members - establishes procedures for the election and appointment of the members of the Baltimore County Board of Education. The Baltimore County Delegation heard the bill on 1/29 (READ TESTIMONIES HERE).
Bill information can be found online here, and the bill here.
PTA Council of Baltimore County Resolution in Support of Hybrid School Board
League of Women Voters of Baltimore County Support
Support from CBCDC
2013 Hybrid School Board Effort
ABCSchools Statement of Spring 2013
Our coalition would like to thank Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegate Steve Lafferty for again championing the cause of democracy for the people of our county by sponsoring bills to allow for some elected members on the Baltimore County Board of Education (SB 10 and HB 413). Thank you to Senators Brochin, Getty, and Jennings for their staunch support. Senator Jennings co-sponsored a similar bill last year with Senator Zirkin.
The Baltimore County Senate delegation voted on February 19, 2013 on Senate Bill 10. Five of the eight senators representing Baltimore County were needed to support the bill for consideration by the full Maryland State Senate. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated. The vote broke down in the following manner:
Senator Bobby Zirkin (D) District 11 (bill sponsor)
Senator Jim Brochin (D) District 42
Senator Joseph Getty (R) District 5 (Baltimore and Carroll Counties)
Senator J.B. Jennings (R) District 7 (Baltimore and Harford Counties)
Senator Ed Kasemeyer (D) District 12 (Baltimore and Howard Counties)
Senator Delores Kelley (D) District 10
Senator Kathy Klausmeier (D) District 8
Senator Norman Stone (D) District 6
We are deeply disappointed that even when the citizens of Baltimore County unite in a very big way, our combined voice is not heard by certain of our Annapolis senators – Senators Kasemeyer, Kelley, Klausmeier, and Stone -- who believe that Baltimore County is somehow different from most other Maryland counties, not to mention 96% of the nation, when it comes to having a say in who makes decisions relating to our public schools. The school board helps decide how 52% of our county budget is spent, yet the citizens of our county do not meet new school board members until their first post-appointment Board of Education meeting.
We’d like to remind everyone that 20 of 24 Maryland counties have some elected members of their school boards. In 2009, neighboring Harford County moved to the hybrid model. Both Anne Arundel and Wicomico Counties, too, have worked for years to move away from all-appointed boards. Baltimore City is also working for elected representation.
THOUSANDS of folks from Catonsville to Parkville, from Liberty Road to Perry Hall, and from Dundalk to Towson got involved in the legislative process at the state level this year, encouraged in no small part by the League of Women Voters, only for their voices to fall on deaf ears.
The PTA Council of Baltimore County, representing its 35,000 PTA members, overwhelmingly decided to support moving to a hybrid school board selection process for Baltimore County. HUNDREDS of parents from all over Catonsville reached out to Senator Kasemeyer urging him to support this legislation – his turned out to be the deciding vote that killed the bill. Not only did Senator Kasemeyer vote against a bill he supported last year, his reason for doing so was extremely weak – he stated that he wished to give the Superintendent more time with the current Board when the Superintendent himself has stated publicly that he has no position on working with either a hybrid or elected board.
Annapolis legislators need to remember why they are in Annapolis -- to REPRESENT their constituents. Let’s vote for candidates in 2014, who will reject the status quo of politics, power, and patronage. If the senators who voted against this bill are in your district, please tell them loud and clear how disappointed you are! Do you want legislators representing you who won’t even give you the chance to decide who should be on the school board?
ABCSchools will not rest until the Baltimore County Board of Education has some elected representation. We encourage citizens from all corners of Baltimore County to stay informed on this and other pressing school-related issues on this website. In that way, we may again join forces in the 2014 legislative session to advocate for hybrid school board legislation and WIN!
HOUSE BILL 413
Delegate Steve Lafferty cross-filed HB413 to match SB10. The bill was heard by the House Ways and Means Committee on February 13, 2013. ABCSchools, county PTAs, the League of Women Voters, the Randallstown branch of the NAACP, and former BOE member Meg O'Hare spoke in favor of the bill. Committee members were attentive, asked questions, and offered compliments and advice. Thanks to all who supported this effort and thanks to Del. Lafferty for his leadership.
From a Late February 2013 ABCSchoolsMD Legislative Alert:
" ... in the next 5 years, Dr. Dance will present a long-term plan to consolidate schools and set up a plan to address the needs of our aging schools, and that the County will spend close to 1/2 billion dollars on school infrastructure. Dr. Dance has explained publicly that over a billion dollars has been spent in the last 10 years and we can expect another billion over the next 10 years.
What will BCPS look like in 2018? The school system projects an additional 12,000 students to join BCPS. At this critical juncture, when we know 1/2 billion dollars will be spent, the details of a massive overhaul of our infrastructure will be implemented, and countywide school redistricting will take place, where will the accountability and transparency for the body, the Baltimore County School Board, that will oversee all of this be?
Clearly Baltimore County citizens are demanding more democracy on their school board and it should start with our next election cycle."
President of the Greater Timonium Community Council, Eric Rockel, wrote in support of a hybrid school board in the GTCC Newsletter
Carney Improvement Association President Meg O'Hare, who served on the BOE, strongly supports a change to how school board members are selected. Here are some of her comments:
"I am in agreement with the ABCSchools position that the school board should be elected--fully elected."
"When I was on the school board, I was told by those "in the know" that I should support an appointed school board."
"As a school board member I watched the attempted and successful political manipulation of the Baltimore County Board of Education, which transformed it to the "rubber stamp" Board for the County Executive/Government."
"We must have a Baltimore County Board of Education that will remain independent and make decisions in a non-partisan way. It is time to get the focus back on the children and their education by giving citizens the right to choose who will best represent them as members of the Baltimore County Board of Education."
"We are trusted to elect everyone else, but politicians think we the citizens are not smart enough to decide who will sit on the School Board!"
Superintendent's Position on School Board Composition
As reported in the December 6, 2012 Baltimore Sun, Superintendent Dr. Dance held a student town hall to hear from high school students from a number of schools. In reply to a student's question about the school board,
Dr. Dance stated:
"My position has been clear ... I work for the students of Baltimore County Public Schools ... I really have no position for or against [changing the board]." The article notes that the board selection system is one "some state lawmakers and parents are pushing to change."
Read the full story here:
School Board News 2013
Baltimore County NAACP Randallstown Branch
County Executive's Fall 2012 Letter to County Legislators
ABCSchools believes County Executive Kamenetz is attempting to censor the entire Baltimore County delegation in Annapolis.
His fall 2012 letter requests that our legislators “avoid any discussion of how the County school board is selected in the foreseeable future.” Does Mr. Kamenetz have so little faith in Dr. Dance, BCPS, and his constituents that he believes discussing a change in the school board selection process would “destabilize” the school system?
Superintendent Dance has publicly stated that he has no preference regarding how Board of Education members are selected.
Mr. Kamenetz has started his campaign for maintaining the status quo by instructing our legislators to remain silent on the issue months before the legislative session.
While we agree with Mr. Kamenetz that Dr. Dance seems to be a responsible superintendent with an inclusive management style, the hybrid school board bill is a completely separate issue. Having elected representation on our school board has nothing to do with any particular superintendent. Elected representation is about democracy and accountability to the public.
Please write to your legislators and ask them to speak out publicly on the need for elected representation on our school board.
In Spring 2012, Delegates Morhaim, Cardin, Stein and Lafferty and Senators Zirkin and Brochin did just that when they issued this statement in the Sun: