December 15, 2017
Politics & Opinion
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Choosing The School Board

Senator Ed Reilly
Senator Ed Reilly's picture
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March 8, 2017

The process of selecting a school board in Anne Arundel County has been an ongoing issue for many years. Currently, members are chosen by the governor of Maryland from names that are submitted by the School Board Nominating Commission. Too often, citizens of Anne Arundel County have cried “politics” in this selection process because the governor is the sole selector of our school board members.

In this year’s General Assembly, there are three bills being worked on by the legislators to change this process. Two are House bills, one that would be a fully elected school board, and the second that would be nine-member board – seven elected members (one from each councilmanic district), one member appointed by the county executive to an at-large seat, and one student member.

The third bill, which I am supporting, is Senate Bill 131, which will incorporate both elected and appointed members. The school board will consist of 10 elected and appointed members. There will be seven nonpartisan elected members, with one member being elected from each of the seven councilmanic districts in the county. The three appointed members will be chosen by the School Board Appointment Commission of Anne Arundel County (formerly known as School Board Nominating Commission). Finally, there will one student member.

The governor is removed from the appointment process in this legislation, and the School Board Appointment Commission will be making the appointments directly. The commission will consist of nine members. One member will be designated by the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC), one member designated by the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, one member designated by the Anne Arundel County Community College Board of Trustee, one member designated by the Association of Educational Leaders (AEL), one member designated by the Anne Arundel County Council of Parent Teacher Association, on member designated by the NAACP, one member designated by Casa de Maryland, one member designated by the Anne Arundel Special Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee and beginning June 1, one member designated by a chamber of commerce based in Anne Arundel County.

Diversity on the Anne Arundel County School Board has become a requirement so that the board members better understand the needs of the students in our county school system. Elections may not always provide that needed diversity, but adding the three appointed positions will have more of a control factor of who is sitting on the board. An entirely elected school board might miss the mark with this requirement, thereby losing much needed insight to the needs of the students in our district.

The process to come up with the perfect solution for how the Anne Arundel County School Board is selected has been imperfect for too long. We as legislators have been working hard to find a solution to this selection process. Having a hybrid board of both elected and appointed members appears to be the best solution to the process. I want what is best for our students, and will continue to work on this issue to be sure that their educational needs are represented to the best of our abilities. As always, I am available for you to contact me at 410-841-3568 or by email at edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us.


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