Unity was the theme of the testimony coming from the Harford County Delegation at a hearing Tuesday before the House Ways and Means Committee for the elected school board bill, HB 639.
Delegate J.B. Jennings appeared at the hearing side by side with Delegate Susan McComas, whom he recently replaced as delegation chair in a turbulent changing of the guard. Delegate Wayne Norman, the newly installed vice-chair of the delegation and Delegate Donna Stifler were also present in what they told the Committee was a “show of support.”
Delegate Jennings publicly thanked McComas and commended her for her work on the bill before McComas provided the following remarks to the committee:
TESTIMONY on HB 639 of DELEGATE SUSAN K. McCOMAS
House Ways and Means Committee
February 17, 2009
I am appearing today on behalf of the Harford County Delegation. The delegation has worked long and hard to achieve unanimity on how to select the Harford County Board of Education and I am pleased to announce EACH of the delegation’s eight members—including Delegate Mary-Dulany James—support the compromise approach of HB 639. An identical bill, SB 629, has been introduced by the Harford County Senators.
Currently, the Harford County Board of Education is composed of seven members appointed by the Governor. Under the compromise reached in HB 639, the board would increase to nine members. Of these, six would be elected and three would continue to be appointed by the Governor. In addition, the county superintendent of schools would serve as an ex officio nonvoting member and there would continue to be one nonvoting student member elected each year by the county’s high school students.
Each elected member would be selected by the voters of the councilmanic district he or she represents. These districts have been established for the election of the Harford County Council and it makes sense to have the school board members elected from the same districts. Attached to your exhibits is a map of these councilmanic districts.
As you can see from the exhibits, an overwhelming number of Harford County residents have indicated they want more public involvement in picking the members of their school board. In addition, you have exhibits showing the widespread support of various public entities in Harford County, such as the PTAs, the Harford County Council and the Edgewood Community Council. There is vast support in Harford County for this bill and—now that we have a unanimous delegation in support of this legislation—it is time to pass this bill.
I plead the 7th (district) says
No Impy or McDee? Where were they in this “show of support?” Both McDonough and Impallaria serve as insurmountable barriers to progress, and they should be summarily dismissed by the voters in 2010, whatever offices they choose to run for.
I am actually speechless ….. Just Joking! I know many of you may have wished I was but I can’t be. This time I have to say that I am finally pleased that our representatives stood up and they all supported this bill, which is important as it is the will of the people. So, congratulations to our reps!!
Of course, my other realist side, wonders if it will get passed. Will Mary-Dulany James actually support it behind the scenes or will she still let people know that she is not in support of it? If she doesn’t help lobby for it, she should be removed!
I don’t want to hold my breath, but does anyone have a guess as to how long it would take to find out if this becomes a reality?
Senator Andy Harris’ office reports that the Senate version of the elected school board bill (SB 629) passed out of committee yesterday and should be on the floor of the Senate today (Wednesday) or tomorrow. No word yet from the House side.