School panel taking board applications

June 15, 2008|By Madison Park | Madison Park,Sun Reporter

A temporary committee that will review candidates interested in serving on the Harford County school board will accept resumes and letters of intent for the next week and a half.

The new Harford County Board of Education Recommendation Committee is expected to interview school board candidates and make recommendations in a public meeting July 7. The committee cannot force the governor, who appoints the county's school board members, to accept its recommendations.

The group, which was created last month, consists of three County Council members, Richard C. Slutzky, Dion F. Guthrie and James V. McMahan; two members from the county executive branch, Roxanne Lynch, director of government and community relations for the county, and Frank Boston, human relations manager for the county's division of community services; a Harford County delegate, a post that will be shared by several delegates; and a county state senator, a post that will be shared by Sen. Barry Glassman and Sen. Nancy Jacobs.

In its first meeting Thursday, the councilmen and the two officials from the county executive's office determined that school board applicants should have been Harford County residents for at least the past two years, be at least 21 years old and have no felony convictions.

Employees of the Harford County public schools and elected officials are not eligible, the committee determined.

None of the delegates or state senators attended the Thursday meeting because of other engagements.

"We welcome people with interest in education in Harford County and with experience through having their children in the schools, or involvement with the PTA," said Slutzky, the county councilman from Aberdeen. "Mainly, we're looking for people who are committed and interested. My personal belief is that we need to have independent thinkers and decision makers."

Two applicants have submitted resumes and letters of intent, Slutzky said.

Two seats on the seven-member school board are up for appointment this year because the five-year terms of Salina M. Williams and Thomas L. Fidler, the president of the Board of Education, are expiring this summer. Williams has expressed interest in another term, but Fidler is not seeking reappointment.

His term is to end July 7, which would be extended until Gov. Martin O'Malley appointed a new member.

Fidler said the committee is not the "one and only entity" and recommended that interested applicants make an inquiry to the group and to Annapolis.

Slutzky said the committee is not a re-creation of the nominating caucus of several years ago. That caucus, which was made up of community groups and parents, reviewed candidates for school board appointments. It fell apart when the governor began ignoring its nominees.

The governor could ignore the work of the county's temporary committee, Slutzky said.

"This is a recommendation committee, and whether the governor uses it as a tool in making decisions is up to him," he said.

Having such a committee creates a process where none had existed and presents it to the public, Slutzky said.

"Many felt it was inappropriate to make recommendations when we didn't know who the candidates were," he said.

The temporary committee will exist for one year unless the County Council renews it next year. In the General Assembly this year, a bill calling for a blend of elected and appointed school board members did not pass.

madison.park@baltsun.com

Candidates

Each person interested in serving on the board should submit a resume and letter of intent, mailed or given to County Councilman Richard Slutzky, 212 S. Bond St., Bel Air 21014 by June 24.

A meeting has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 24 at 212 S. Bond St.

An interview with the candidates has been scheduled for July 7.

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