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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fwd: Update on school board legislation - ACTION

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: electedboard@aol.com
Date: Feb 8, 2006 3:01 PM
Subject: Update on school board legislation - ACTION

February 6, 2006
First Things First - We must commend Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard (District 24, Chair of the Prince George's County House Delegation) for her outstanding leadership on moving PG 401-06 through the legislative process thus far. Delegate Howard displayed courage under fire, endured disrespectful behavior and comments from fellow Delegates and other elected officials, and fought hard to represent the interests of the people of Prince George's County when others did not. Please contact Delegate Howard. Let her know that you support her and THANK her.

The Prince George's County House Delegation met February 3 to consider PG 401-06.

Members approved two amendments, but retained the bill's essence (elected board, nine single-member districts).

Delegates present today
: Benson, Conroy, Davis, Frush, Gaines, Griffith (late), Healey, Holmes, Howard, Hubbard, Kelley, Menes, Moe, Niemann, Parker, Patterson, Proctor (late), Ramirez, Ross, Turner, Vallario, Vaughn.
Delegate(s) Absent:

These amendments were considered:

Delegate Howard 1
Amend PG 401-06 so that it focuses on the election process and the establishment of nine single member districts aligned with County Council district boundaries. (Passed on January 25 in County Affairs Committee). Further amended by Howard Amendment 2.

Delegate Howard 2
: Establishes nine, single-member districts. The new district configuration resembles the nine school board districts that existed prior to 2002. Delegates worked with Karl Aro of Legislative Services to assure that the "new" districts met legal requirements. AMENDMENT PASSED.

By show of hands - in Favor: 14

By show of hands - Against: 4 (Griffith, Healey, Hubbard, Vallario). [Note:
Hubbard expressed support for aligning districts with County Council Districts]

Other notes related to Howard Amendments 1 and 2:

Frush questioned whether boundaries in Howard 2 Amendment were clear.
Niemann asked if boundaries in Howard 2 Amendment met constitutional requirements.
Benson wanted clarification on residency requirements for candidates.
Healey sought to divide the question to separate out the issue of boundaries; supported by Gaines and Griffith-unsuccessful.

Delegate Davis
: Extend the current appointed board for two years. AMENDMENT DEFEATED.

By show of hands - in Favor: Davis, Griffith
By show of hands - Against: All other Delegates present.

Delegate Healey
: "Hybrid" Board (5 members elected by district, 4 at large)

By show of hands - in Favor: Frush, Gaines, Griffith Healey, Ross
By show of hands - Against: All other Delegates present.

Delegate Kelley
moved /seconded by Griffith to establish a School Board Nominating Commission.
Members of the Commission would be appointed by the County Executive with the consent of the County Council. There would be no Primary election. Names would be advanced to the General Election Ballot. Questions arose re: staffing the Commission, party affiliation as a factor in appointments to the Commission, etc. AMENDMENT FAILED .

Vote on the PG 401-06 as amended (Roll Call):

Voting for: Benson, Conroy, Davis, Holmes, Howard, Hubbard, Kelley, Menes, Niemann, Parker, Patterson, Proctor, Ramirez, Ross, Turner, Vaughn;

Voting against:

Brown, Frush, Gaines, Healey, Moe, Vallario

PG 401-06 will soon be given a "House Bill" number and move to the next step (House Ways and Means Committee). Click http://mlis.state.md.us/Other/Roster/Committee.pdf for a listing of Ways and Means Committee members.

Other News:

Appointed board passed a resolution on February 2, seeking to extend itself for two more years. The same resolution supported establishment of a combined appointed/elected board for a period of time "
to provide continuity." The appointed board forbid public input on their resolution.
Individuals who called to sign up were denied and opportunity to speak on the resolution.

Senator Green submitted SB 390 seeking "technical" amendments to the 5-district map. Once reviewed, CEB concluded that the amendment does little to change the configuration of 5-district map. District 5, for example, remains huge - stretching from south Laurel to Bowie, south to Clinton, Baden, Accoceek and Eagle Harbor. Huge districts will not permit board members to adequately represent the interests and concerns of parents and communities, support regular monitoring of schools in the district, or enable elected board to build school-community partnerships.

There are rumors of another map. CEB will continue to press for a nine single-member district map.

ACTION: Call, e-mail, write to Delegates and Senators today. Tell them to vote:

YES on PG 401-06 as amended. We will alert you of the "House Bill" number as soon as it is known. This bill establishes nine single-member districts.
NO on at large elections. NO on the "hybrid board" idea.

NO on extension of the appointed board. KEEP YOUR PROMISE. Elected Board in 2006.

Questions? Contact Citizens for an Elected Board (CEB) at electedboard@aol.com or 301/464-5168.

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