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UPDATE: House Bill Could Pave Way for Elected School Board

A hybrid board is proposed to replace the Anne Arundel County Board of Education's eight appointed seats with three appointed and five elected seats.

Updated (7:28 p.m.)— This story was updated to reflect new information about the day the bill will be voted on and to correct the number of government appointees.

A bill proposed by Anne Arundel County state delegates seeks to change the composition of the county’s Board of Education from one that is appointed to a hybrid board that would be mostly elected.

The board currently has nine members. Eight are appointed by the governor and the ninth is a high school student elected by student government representatives.

House Bill 367, sponsored by Delegate Steven Schuh (R-Anne Arundel 31st District), could pave the way for a new, hybrid board. The revised board would consist of three members appointed by the governor and five elected by citizens in each legislative district in the county.

The 15 Anne Arundel County members of the House of Delegates will meet at 9 a.m. Friday to present the amendment to House Bill 367. They were scheduled to vote on the item, but due to absences, the vote has been postponed until next week.

The revised bill proposes a hybrid board to replace the appointed board over time. If the bill becomes law, the current appointed members would complete their terms, and then be replaced by elected members, who would serve no more than two four-year terms.

The original bill called for only two at-large elected members. 

Julie Dettor, the education advisor for the Broadneck Council of Communities, has testified before delegates on the bill before. Dettor said she believes the bill has bi-partisan support, and is hopeful this will pass through the full house and senate.

If the amendment is approved next week, it will move on to the house’s Ways and Means Committee before being presented to the full Maryland House of Delegates.

The Anne Arundel County Delegation meeting will be 9 a.m. Friday in room 142 of the Lowe House Office Building at 6 Bladen Street in Annapolis.

Julie Dettor March 01, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Just to clarify - the Amendment for HB367 calls for 3 Governor appointed members, 5 elected members (1 from each legislative district) and 1 Student. I just received late word that the Education Sub-Committee will be presenting the Amendement; however, the vote on amendment has been rescheduled for Friday, March 9th at 9am.
D. Frank Smith (Editor) March 02, 2012 at 12:34 AM
The story has been updated. Thanks for the heads up.
Suzanne March 02, 2012 at 02:55 AM
After emailing Steve Schuh on this matter (as well as all of the other delegates), I was pleased to see his response. I am copying it below for people to read. It is really important to reach out and make your feelings known to all of our delegates - tell them that we want a say in who is making these decisions for our children's education futures, Anne Arundel County residents want an elected school board! (Email response to me from Steve Schuh) Thank you for contacting me regarding an elected Anne Arundel County School Board. I share your support for an elected school board and have advocated for such a change since my election to office in 2007. As you know, the Anne Arundel County School Board is entirely appointed. This is very unusual on both the National and State levels. Nationally, forty-four states have all-elected or nearly-all elected local county school boards.
Suzanne March 02, 2012 at 02:56 AM
The other six States have some elected and some appointed local county boards; generally, these six States have appointed boards only for their large, urban (and often troubled) school districts. It is highly unusual for a suburban and rural jurisdiction with a good school system (like Anne Arundel County) to have an appointed school board. In Maryland, there are eighteen county Boards that are comprised entirely by elected members, and there are two Counties that have a hybrid of appointed and elected Board members (Harford and Caroline). Only Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Wicomico County have wholly appointed school boards. Accordingly, I have re-introduced legislation this Session to add elected members to the Board (House Bill 367). A copy of the amended version of the bill is attached for your convenience. I expect it to be voted on by the Delegation on Friday, March 2nd. It is important that Anne Arundel County residents have a direct say in the school board member selection process. Thank you again for your email. Best, Steve
Jon Vincent March 02, 2012 at 03:47 AM
With these right wing radiate like Steve schuh we are better off with an appointed board.
Jon Vincent March 02, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Meant rackets Steve Shuh is another corrupt bigot politician sucking on the govt teet and helping out his friends.
Andrew Nicholson March 02, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Wake up people! Steve Schuh and all of his tea bagger friends are pushing this bill so they can pack the board. The current board is comprised of non-partisan leaders in the community. This will be replaced with politicians who owe a debt to their benefactors. While it sounds good to have "elected" board members, the reality is that they are not really elected, but "appointed" by the party leaders in the county.
Julie Dettor March 02, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Respectfully, John & Andrew, you are wrong, very wrong. The elections of school board members would be undeclared - non-partisan - that is how it is done in 20 of the 24 counties in this State. The 5 elected members sought in this amemdment of HB367; would be elected from each legislative district. I encourage you to do your homework before judging this and talk to those who are very well versed in what is happening in our schools. Politics does not belong in our schools and this could not be more political than it is right now! I have spent countless hours researching this subject and I can tell you, your opinions are not based on fact. In 2010, the National School Board Association did a study on active school boards. They found 95% of the school boards in the country are elected! Direct quote from the NSBA Study: “Politically, a plurality of board members place themselves in the center of the ideological spectrum. When asked to identify their general political orientation, 47.3 percent respond as moderates, 32.3 percent as conservatives, and 20.4 percent as liberals.” However, “In large districts (more than 15,000 students - that's AACPS), liberals outnumber conservatives 26.8 percent to 21.6 percent.” Do you know the superintendent was paid $531,199 in salary last year, yes, 1/2 a million of our tax dollars, while teachers have not had their step increases in 3 to 7 years, the huge class sizes, heterogenous classrooms, no money for supplies...etc?
Julie Dettor March 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I would be happy to supply anyone with information regarding this issue. I have made it a point to be very well informed & educated on the facts about elected, hybrid and appointed boards; as well as the many concerns, legitimate concerns, parents, teachers, administrators and EVEN students have with the policies & decisions Dr. Maxwell and the BoE are making. My email address is julie_dettor@verizon.net . However, if you are satisfied with $1,093,920 of your tax dollars going into the pockets of the 4 executives in salary (just salary) at the BoE last year - well then, that's your right...but how does that sound? By the way, in case you'd like more facts - "Fully 73.9 percent of elected board members report that their campaign spent less than $1,000 in their most recent election, and 87 percent spent less than $5,000.” from the National School Board Association. Please, before jumping to conclusions based on your opinion only; get the facts. Steve Schuh and may others, democrats too...see the injustice going on at the school board and until there is some elected accountability to citizens - there is absolutely nothing any of us can do about it. Respectfully, Julie Dettor
Julie Dettor March 02, 2012 at 07:21 PM
In a 2004 Washington University Working Paper by Isenberg, E., Nickerson, J., & Hamilton, Bart “School Board Composition and Student Achievement” found: “The distribution of resources is more equitable with an elected school board as opposed to an appointed one.” A University of Illinois Study “Should Chicago Have an Elected Representative School Board? A Look at the Evidence; A Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education” found: “A board that is representative of the community it serves and directly accountable to the public would be a significant step toward a more inclusive process of decision making to improve education for all students.”
Julie Dettor March 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Do you like censorship? From: Mosier, Bob Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 1:14 PM Principals: At its July 13, 2011, meeting, the Board of Education adopted a revised policy regarding the Countywide Citizen Advisory Committee. For your information, the policy and its accompanying regulation (along with the application for Executive Committee positions) are attached to this email. Of note, the policy and regulation address the existence of a countywide CAC and no longer mandate a school or cluster CAC. However, it is expressly stated that nothing in the policy or regulation forbids the creation or existence of school or cluster CACs. The newly constituted CAC will have a 29-member Executive Committee, with two representatives from each cluster (one from elementary schools and one from secondary schools) in addition to two at-large members and three designees of other organizations. It is critical that the Board, which will ultimately select the members of the Executive Committee, have a good group of applications from which to choose. Dr. Maxwell has emphasized the need for principals to help ensure that dedicated individuals “without an axe to grind” or a personal agenda apply for Executive Team positions. If you have such individuals who have been involved at your schools, please encourage them to apply for these positions. A screening committee will review the applications and the Board will select members, most likely at a meeting in November.
Julie Dettor March 02, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Please see all of the comments below.
Julie Dettor March 02, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Please see all the comments below.
kerry petz March 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Great job Julie! There is so much mis information out ther and it does take dedication to sift through and help the rest of us understand. Keep up the work!
Lynn Jordan March 03, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Great job Julie! It's amazing to me how many people think if they throw around a bunch of mean spirited foul mouthed gibberish, that others would actually listen to them. What garbage! We need an elected school board! Do we not live in a democracy? Then why on earth do we need our authority figures appointed for us? Because we're unable to think for ourselves? It's time we joined the other 94% of school boards across the nation, and selected our own members!
Julie Dettor March 03, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Thank you Kerry & Lynn! Funny, I wonder their opinion if democrats introduced this legislation? These two gentlemen would probably be singing a different tune. But of course, these 2 gentlemen must be satisfied with our governor appointed school board paying our superintendent $531,199; they must be satisfied with the $4.5 million tax dollars wasted on a known defuncted accounting program; they must be satisfied that the superintendent received a 2.9% raise will our teachers were furloughed...need I continue?

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