City schools reorganization panels created Walter Sondheim to lead transition committee

December 11, 1996|By Jean Thompson | Jean Thompson,SUN STAFF

Taking the first step toward a proposed reorganization of Baltimore school government, officials this week created committees to plan the changeover and screen candidates for a new city school board.

A transition committee representing the governor, the mayor and the state school board will lead the way, according to a recent settlement of city-state disputes over school management and funding.

Walter Sondheim, a state school board member and a former city school board president, will serve as the group's chairman, city and state officials announced yesterday.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's representative will be the Rev. Arnold Howard of Enon Baptist Church, a stalwart of the city's politically powerful Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.

The governor's representative will be retired Judge Harry A. Cole, who in the past has headed a city charter review commission and a gambling commission.

Yesterday, the state school board appointed a subcommittee to screen nominations for the nine school board seats.

State board members Edmonia Yates, Philip Benzil, Jack Wisthoff and Edward Andrews will screen the nominees, who must be city residents.

"This first time around we don't have a lot of time, so we'll have to come up with a candidate list very quickly," Andrews said.

Baltimore business, labor, education and community groups as well as Sondheim's committee may make nominations to the state board, which ultimately will send 18 names to the governor and the mayor.

As they have in past years, city students will nominate a peer who will serve as a nonvoting member, said state board President Christopher Cross.

The new school board would take office in the spring if the General Assembly approves a bill that revamps school management and appropriates $254 million in new school aid.

A nomination form will be available from the state school board office by the end of the week, Cross said.

Pub Date: 12/11/96

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