Senate Approves “Hybrid School Board” for Baltimore County
A Message From Bobby
Dear Friends, It is my honor to serve you in the Maryland State Senate. I would encourage you to contact my legislative office with issues or ideas for the Legislative Session. We welcome anyone to come visit us in Annapolis. In the meantime, please use this website as a... Click here to read more.
Robert Lang, 1090 AM WBAL, March 18, 2014
A bill to allow a partially elected school board in Baltimore County has been approved unanmously by the Maryland Senate
Today’s 45-0 vote in the Senate came one day after the House of Delegates unanimously an identical bill on Monday.
Baltimore County Democrat Delores Kelly and Baltimroe City Democrat Verna Jones-Rodwell did not vote.
Under the bill, seven of the 12 board members would be chosen in non-partisan elections starting in 2018. Four of the board members would be chosen by the governor, from a list of candidates picked by a special commission. That commission would be made up of educators and leaders of the NAACP and other groups.
Opponents of the bill worried that the elected school board would not be diverse racially, and this commission will address that concern.
The board would continue to have a student member.
Last week, aides to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told WBAL contributor Bryan Sears of The Daily Record that he would not oppose the bill.
The bill also received unanimous approval on Friday from the Senate Education Health and Environmental Matters Committee. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Joan Carter-Conway had previously opposed the bill, but noted the nominating commission addresses her concerns.
Baltimore County Democratic Senator Jim Brochin, who is the lead sponsor of the bill, says an elected school board would be more accountable to the public.
The Senate version of the bill is slightly different than the House version, as it adds Democratic Senator Bobby Zirkin to the list of sponsors, along with Republicans J.B. Jennings and Joe Getty.
Zirkin, who first introduced this bill ten years ago as a member of the House of Delegates, calls the bill’s passage “overdue.”
“To finally be able to tell the citizens of Baltimore County that they’ll be able to have true democracy is a great day. It should have happened ten years ago,” Zirkin told WBAL News.
Once each chamber of the legislature approves the other chamber’s bill, the measure would go to Governor Martin O’Malley, who is expected to sign it.