By Scott Broom
The Prince George’s County Chapter of the NAACP is calling on Maryland’s legislature to support a bill that would dissolve the partially-appointed Prince George’s County Board of Education in favor of an all-elected board.
In addition, the bill would take away the authority to hire and fire the school system’s CEO from the county executive and give it back to the Board of Education.
“People are tired of the way the school board is operating right now,” said NAACP Prince George’s County Chapter Director Bob Ross.
Ross is investigating the possibility of a petition drive to put the issue to a voter referendum in the fall, if Maryland’s legislature fails to act on the bill proposed by Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who is a candidate to succeed current County Executive Rushern Baker.
Muse’s campaign is tapping into widespread voter anger over a series of scandals and missteps by the current administration of Prince George’s County Public School’s CEO Kevin Maxwell, who was appointed to the job in 2013.
“We’ve had more calamities under this appointed school board with no accountability,” Muse said.
The latest scandal involves allegations of secret pay raises for favored administrators, which has enraged teachers’ and administrators’ unions.
Also, in 2017, a state audit found that hundreds of students had graduated without documentation that they had met the state’s legally required standards. The controversy called into question the administration’s claims of increasing graduation rates.
Maryland’s legislature created the hybrid appointed-elected Board of Education in 2013 and gave hiring and firing power for the school’s CEO to the county executive after the Washington Post pointed out only 25 percent of the then-elected board members had college degrees. The school system had been struggling to find stable leadership for years, churning through 8 superintendents in 14 years.