Monday, March 07, 2005

Above the (School) Board

There have been rumblings of support for an elected School Board in Anne Arundel County for the past several years, and last year there was even discussion of introducing a bill that would put the question to the voters in a referendum. However, I've been around a bit, and I've never heard the suggestion offered by Executive Owens in yesterday's Sun mentioned. The County's miffed monarch is apparently so frustrated with the current system (and her inability to exercise absolute control over the schools) that she would like to see the option to disband the school board entirely.

Currently, the governor appoints Anne Arundel County School Board members, which seems like a bit of a breach of local autonomy. The Bill currently before the House would put that option, along with 2 others, "give the county executive power to appoint seven members who would be confirmed by the County Council; or allow the county executive to appoint three at-large members and voters to elect four others" on the ballot in 2006. I would argue that an option to have all 7 school board members elected by the citizens of Anne Arundel should also be on the table.

Thankfully, the Executive-controlled School Board will never come to pass under the Owens administration (she's term limited in 2006), but one needs to look no further than her other executive appointees, like the Department of Planning and Zoning head, whom she has neutered and undermined, to realize that a school superintendent under a plan such as that which Owens proposes would be nothing more than a puppet.



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