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On Connecting Board of Education of Baltimore Dots

Growing relationship between the Board of Education and County Government

Mark Twain knew what he was talking about when he observed, "...first God created idiots, but that was just for practice, then he made boards of education." Here's the latest insight into the Board of Education of Baltimore County (BOE).  Before hiring Dr. Dallas Dance, a neophyte educator, the BOE took a hike on a key piece of legislature forwarded by the county executive that would  have gutted the BOE responsibilities and granted them to a committee formed by elected officials.

House Bill 1281, if passed, would have "THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF BALTIMORE COUNTY MAY ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR THE COOPERATIVE OR JOINT ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAMS WITH THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE OF BALTIMORE COUNTY." 

"Agreements made under this section may include the cooperative or joint administration of programs that relate to: personnel, purchasing, accounting, data processing, printing, insurance, building maintenance, and transportation."

It should be noted that the BOE took "NO POSITION" on this piece of legislature, but they did oppose an elected school board.

Picture first the county executive's involvement in personnel.  He appointed two individuals with questionable relationship behavior to top staff positions. He appointed a former county councilman who could not be reelected because of several DUI convictions to the position of lobbyist.  And, the county executive appointed to an environmental position another former county councilman who chose to "double dip" rather than run for reelection; this individual receives a salary equal to his donation to the the county executive's election campaign--along with a pension.

With that appointment background, one can picture the county executive getting a principalship for his unemployed brother-in-law or a guidance counselor position for one his wife's bridge friends.  They need not be qualified, the BOE has already demonstrated they can obtain waivers for unqualified personnel.

Had the legislation passed, this "joint administration" would been involved in "...undertaking and of establishing and maintaining its budget, including the manner of receiving, holding, and disbursing federal and other grants and appropriations...."  This would be the same group that lost $21 million in investments and found a method for granting the county executive more than $300 thousand lump sum if he lasted for two terms and an annual pension in excess of $100 thousand.

When does the inexperienced Dr. Dance take office? When would this legislation have become effective?  Answer to both: July 1, 2012.  It's time to start connecting Board of Education and Baltimore County government dots.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Meg O'Hare May 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
The only way to keep Baltimore County from taking over the Baltimore County Public Schools is to move as quickly as possible to an elected Board of Education. Civic groups need to get together and brainstorm to develop a list of quailifications for Board candidates, study the pay of other elected Maryland Boards of Education and determine fair compensation for nonpartisan, but none-the-less political candidates, study how student compensation is handled by other Maryland Boards of Education. This can be done in conjuction with the legislators, but the citizens should take the lead and tell the legislators what they want the Baltimore County Board of Education to be composed and how to pay the elected members. If the decision is to have a hybrid board, I do not think that appointed members should be paid. They do not have to run for office. They are not vetted by the public.
Buzz Beeler May 03, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Ed, you must have be a carpenter in your second job. You hit the nail on the head on this one.
Ed Veit May 04, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Thank you Buzz-- when you find a horse going your way, ride it!

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