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Baltimore County School Board Commission Named, Meeting Dates Set

A task force will review and recommend possible changes to school board, including some form of elected membership.

A task force charged with reviewing how members of the Baltimore County school board are selected will meet three times beginning next month.

Sen. Kathy Klausmeier announced the dates and task force appointments in an email late Sunday night.

Currently, the governor appoints school board members to their five-year terms. Over the last several years those recommendations have come from the county executive.

The 12-member Task Force on the Selection Process, Accountability, and Professionalism of the Baltimore County Board of Education is expected to review that system. Also to be reviewed are systems that include a return to the school board nominating convention, as well as a hybrid or fully elected board.

The group was created earlier this year by state law after legislators took up the issue of creating a hybrid school board.

Some senators and delegates say making half the board run for election will make the independent group more responsive and accountable to lawmakers and the public. Others say it will add an element of politicization that should be kept away from school system operations.

The task force is made up of members of the state legislature as well as appointments by the County Council and executive.

Klausmeier and Del. Steve Lafferty, Democrats from Perry Hall and Towson, respectively, will lead the group.

Klausmeier is the chairwoman of the county Senate delegation and has previously opposed efforts to create a hybrid or elected school board. Lafferty, co-chairman of the county's House delegation, has been supportive of a change to a partially elected board.

Also named to the commission are Republican Sen. J.B. Jennings, Democratic Sens. Delores Kelley and Bobby Zirkin, Democratic Dels. Dana Stein and Emmett Burns and Republican Del. Wade Kach.

Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat and father to Del. John A. Olszewski Jr., will represent the council. The younger Olszewski recused himself from the commission because he works for the Baltimore County Public Schools system.

Three other appointees have yet to be selected by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The commission will meet three times in July, including:

  • July 6 at the Reisterstown Library at 6:30 p.m.
  • July 7 at the Essex Library at 6:30 p.m.
  • July 25 at the Towson Library at 6:30 p.m. 

From these meetings, the task force is expected to deliver recommendations that could possibly include changes to how members of the county school board are selected.

In addition to taking testimony from the public at the three meetings, the task force will also take written comments.

Those comments can be mailed to:

Sen. Kathy Klausmier

Attention: Baltimore County School Board Task Force

4100 Walter Avenue

Baltimore, MD 21236

Testimony can also be e-mailed to katherine.klausmeier@senate.state.md.us.

All testimony should be submitted no later than July 25, 2011.

John June 20, 2011 at 01:40 PM
I was hopeful that, after all these years of putting the issue off, this would be a chance for real change. Now, seeing the names of state delegates who think the current system "is working fine" or "has no problems" I'm very doubtful there will be any change at all. The current system is severally broken with a school board that is non-responsive to the public or elected officials. The tax payers of Baltimore County, who fund millions of dollars in unproven and often useless programs year after year, must have a say in who is making Baltimore County Public School decisions.
David Marks June 20, 2011 at 02:55 PM
I am glad that an attempt was made to include legislators from both political parties, and to select members from throughout Baltimore County. I know several of these task force members and think they will add real value to this process. My personal opinion is that the county needs an elected School Board, but the key issue is localization. While there have been many good appointments over the years, there is no reason why the Governor should select members of the Baltimore County Board of Education.
johnny towson June 20, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Keep speaking up Mr. Marks. It takes courage to fight the existing system, and soon enough, you will be in the cross-hairs. You are making a difference.
David Marks June 20, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Thank you - I think there have been some good members of the School Board over the past few years, but that ultimately, the members should be determined locally.
Julie Henn June 20, 2011 at 06:59 PM
The county does need an elected School Board. Only local accountability will bring the change so desperately needed.
John June 20, 2011 at 09:48 PM
We need members that represent the families of Baltimore County and make the children of the county a priority. Members seemed to have forgotten that personal agendas and service as a rubber stamp should not be the goal. I am very grateful that the Governor saw fit to "go another way" and not reappoint those members that have been the source of chaos within the system. It is amazing that the recently relieved board member now says that she is in favor of an elected board... way to stand on principles, Meg!
Buzz Beeler June 20, 2011 at 11:36 PM
Out of all the people on the council Olszewski gets the nod. When is he going to have time to deal with education issues when he is busy writing the PUD for Fort Howard. I also hear from community leaders that there are problems at the Yorkway development. Its bad enough the former members of the Sea Horse Inn are now serving in county government. It doesn't help that he's leading the charge to stop any potential changes to the PUD with his new legislation just introduced. He is now attempting to revive a PUD in Councilman Quirk's district over the political cronyism. It seems the developers did not take kindly to Tom's nixing their plans even though the county said it was a bad fit. So what you have is a disgruntled developer plus the connected law firm with ties to Jablon who works for Kamenetz whom Olszewski supported ... You get the drift. I would love to read the memo from the county attorney to Olszewski about their take on the council acting prematurely in nixing the pud. We will see who gets separated from the cronyism when some of these PUD's come up for vote. That is why an elected school board is vital. The people will do the talking and not the politically connected.
Robert Armstrong June 21, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Oh Lord! More Tinfoil Hat "County Government is Corrupt"Conspiracy theories from Buzz. Nothing factual just "I hear things".
Buzz Beeler June 21, 2011 at 04:07 AM
There is something factual regarding your comments. You made the claim that you spent the better part of your adult life in the United States Military. I asked you to provide some evidence of that claim weeks ago. You have failed to do so. You dishonor yourself by this cowardly act. You dishonor the brave men and women who have served their country in the military. You dishonor our wounded warriors. Making such a false claim is unconscionable and despicable. Any person that would stoop that low does not have any standing. You committed a cowardly act. What say you Mr. Armstrong about such the cowardly act you have committed. That is not the only lie you've told. You claimed to speak five languages. I'm still waiting to hear just one written sentence in those five languages. You have made accusations that I was fired which is false. If I were you I would read the law under "The Stolen Valor Act." I have no use for cowards who steal the honor that comes with serving one's country.

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