Protect the Independence of the Baltimore County Board of Education

Protect the Independence of the Baltimore County Board of Education

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BCPS Advocate started this petition to Maryland State House and

Honorable Senators and Delegates:

I am writing to request that you OPPOSE House Bill 1633 / Senate Bill 1055:  Baltimore County Board of Education - Election of Officers, for the following reasons:

1.    The bill attempts to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

2.    The bill will create a new, serious problem.

For these reasons, House Bill 1633 / Senate Bill 1055 is ineffective, insufficient, and improper and must be OPPOSED.

The bill attempts to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

The Board can elect officers as long as it has at least seven members.  Vacancies don't prevent the election of officers because a member can still receive the required seven votes to be elected as chair or vice chair.

Even with vacancies, and even if new officers are not immediately elected, the Board will always have leadership.  If no one receives seven votes, the current chair and/or vice chair remain in their positions as de facto officers until new officers are elected through seven votes.

Seven votes are required for all board actions.

The Maryland State Board of Education in Opinion No. 20-08 stated:

“Thus in our view, because the local board has 12 members as established by statute, the local board cannot adopt a motion or resolution without seven votes. It is irrelevant to the voting requirement in COMAR 13A.02.01.01 that a vacancy in board membership exists.”

The Maryland State Board of Education in Opinion No. 20-08 further concluded:

"It is our view, as set forth in this Advisory Opinion, that the Baltimore County Board of Education cannot adopt a motion or resolution without seven votes based on the board's membership as currently constituted by statute.  It is also our view that the chair and vice chair of the board remain in their positions as holdovers until their successors qualify by attaining the required number of votes."

The bill will create a new, serious problem.

State statute requires a majority vote of the whole board for all actions.  By creating an exception for the election of officers, the bill would allow for the election of officers without majority support.  When vacancies on the Board are filled, those officers elected may not have the necessary support of the majority of the whole board. 

COMAR 13A.02.01.01 states:

"The rules generally adopted by deliberative bodies for their government shall be observed by the local board of education. A motion or resolution may not be declared adopted without the concurrence of a majority of the whole board; namely: three members when the board consists of five, four members when the board consists of six or seven, and five members when the board consists of eight or nine." COMAR 13A.02.01.01

Without this requirement, the outcomes of school board motions or resolutions could be manipulated through absences and vacancies.

A temporary vacancy on the Baltimore County Board of Education doesn't justify an arbitrary change to established board voting procedures.  There are no grounds for exempting the board action of electing board officers from the current statute requiring a majority vote of the full board membership.

For these reasons, I respectfully request that you OPPOSE House Bill 1633 / Senate Bill 1055:  Baltimore County Board of Education - Election of Officers.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!