With a contingent of local elected officials and representatives in attendance, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the controversial and long-debated Harford County Elected School Board legislation Tuesday morning.
Sen. Barry Glassman, Del. Susan McComas, Harford County Councilmembers Mary Ann Lisanti and Dion Guthrie and Edgewood Community Council member Jansen Robinson were in Annapolis for the signing ceremony.
“It has been a long hard struggle but pressure from parents and PTAs helped us get it done,” Glassman said.
Here is a summary of the bill from the Governor’s Office:
HARFORD COUNTY – BOARD OF EDUCATION – SELECTION OF
Requiring that specified members of the Harford County Board of Education be elected; requiring that specified members of the county board be appointed within a specified period of time; establishing the composition of the county board; providing for the qualifications, terms of office, and the filling of a vacancy of members of the county board; establishing a procedure for the election and appointment of members of the county board; etc.
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2009
Brian Young says
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped get this bill passed and signed! This is a great accomplishment and benefit for Harford County.
What a sad day in the county it is. Now we will have people running for the school board whose only interest is their own,which is using this as a stepping stone for other elected office.
Or maybe we will actually get parents of the students in HCPS who actually care about the education their children are getting.
“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Winston Churchill (1947)
Confused in all fairness some members of the BOE have been parents of kids in or had kids in the system. I am afraid for the same reason as Tony. I saw the deterieration and wasteful spending and poorly planned policies of the PG County BOE when it was elected before it got appointed. Some examples include schools that got underfunded because they where split between districts and did not make up a bulk of votes in any of those districts. The worst antics occured in election years. The rush spending on a centralized textbook program that caused some schools to recieve new books after spending school based funding on new books in anticipation of their needs. The final insult was they bought the number from class enrollment not accounting for what they had. I saw one HS book room with 1,500 Earth Science books with only 500 kids in the class. because of this gaff. This was all because someone wanted to say it was their idea and they supported education when they ran for County Council in 4 months. I fear the system will become victims of those with hire political ambitions and will not have the back bone to make the unpopular choice even though it is the right choice. That said it is a done deal and I can hope to be suprised. AFter all just like in PG County the state legislator can take it away if it goes crazy.
Mark…I mean Cdev,
Great example of money mismanagement. Of course I’m sure you could find similar examples of financial foolishness with appointed boards as well. The point is, BOE members can’t hide behind the curtain anymore. As for political…how isn’t getting appointed because of who has the Governor’s ear not political? For everyone who criticized the complicated nature of this pro-democracy bill, I challenge you to describe the prior appointment process. Not what was written, but what was the real process. At least now we’ll know who is interested in running before the actual appointment!
An elected/blended BOE is not the answer to the many challenges we face in public education. It is however a step in the right direction because the public has been empowered. Now we the public have to step up to the challenge and get involved!
A special shot-out goes to Cindy Mumby for representing the public and bringing this issue into the spotlight! Now it’s our turn to follow her lead and get involved!!!!!!
I am not a member of the BOE and I know it had it’s problems as well. I just fear in election years this board will be prone to large scale blunders. The one I described is one I personally witnessed and lived with. The many problems of that BOE is well documented in the Washington Post circa 1995-2005. Yes we are empowered. Let’s hope we do not get a large block of single issue voters. I think the untimely passing of Dr. Hass will ease tensions as that would have been a single polorizing issue. Although the new superintendent may screw up enough between now and then to polorize some people. The problem with single issue voters is not the issue but the hidden agenda of the person they vote for. After all Hitler was democraticly elected.
PMS Mom says
I think the biggest “single issues voters” will be those of us who are fed up with the mediocre education HCPS dishes out and the Board who does nothing about it. My guess is that if the current Board had been elected, they would have been voted out long ago.
I previously lived in a school district that had elected school board and it was well run, fiscally responsible, and most importantly delivered a high quality education to my children. It was NOT a stepping stone for higher elected office, it was a way to make sure the kids got a great education.
Did that board have taxing authority?
PMS Mom says
All the bonds and tax increases that the school needed had to pass referendum first. But yes, they controlled their own budget and taxes. Which meant that the BOE had to work hard to keep the budget level year to year. They didn’t get automatic budget increases. Districts were smaller, not county wide. Schools were well maintained, and school construction kept up with the rapid population growth. We could build as many schools as needed without the state telling us we couldn’t because we paid for them ourselves. Pretty good system if you ask me.
Yes PM mom I was just asking because in PA for example the BOE can levy a school tax and it does not need a referendum they just do it. That is however where all their money comes from. BOE’s with taxing authority tend to be highly functional. Small districts tend to be highly functional since there is little infighting between schools.
THANK YOU to everyone who made school board elections a reality for Harford County – it was truly a group effort!
I don’t remember hearing that an Elected School Board would be perfect…but a blended one will likely be an improvement to an all appointed one. I am grateful for this change and am cautiously optimistic as we move forward. It was a group effort and on behalf of many, I know this is what the majority wanted. Thank you to all.
Great to hear you on Maryland Morning on WYPR today, Cindy. If anyone else wants to listen here’s the link http://www.wypr.org/MD_MORNING.html. The prof from Bucknell was pretty interesting too.
To Tony in post #2. The real sad part is that we have had to live with an appointed board for so long. I am so tired of the ridiculous argument that an elected board will politicize the process. What could be more political than political appointments!!! As I recall, one of the recently appointed members publicly voiced how they campaigned in Annapolis for the position.
As an aside, please site for us what good things the current appointed board has brought us? None that I can think of.
Thank goodness there will now be some accountability!!
Maybe we will get some folks that deal with the results of the education system. People that work in the outside world and are responsible for supervising and hiring the products of the education system. Someone that knows what it takes to be a success.
Too much to expect!
Is that not what we have now?
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