County executive should appoint Balto. Co. school board

February 11, 2011

There should be no question that the Baltimore County School Board should be more accountable to the citizens and elected officials of Baltimore County. This is not the case with a board appointed by the governor. Recent revelations of management issues which raise considerable questions about the judgment and accountability of the superintendent and the school board further underscore the need for reform now ("Hairston aide got no-bid contract," Feb. 9).

The Baltimore County School Board should consist of four members appointed at large, seven members appointed representing each legislative district in the county and one student member appointed at large. All 12 appointments should be made by the county executive with the advice and consent of the County Council.

This gives authority and control of the local school board to those elected to govern Baltimore County at the executive and legislative levels, without the political ramifications of school board members running for election. Current proposals to elect a majority of the school board members leave open the external influences of candidates raising campaign funds, political patronage and requisite campaign activity for candidates.

This proposal equalizes each member of the school board, as they have all been appointed under the same process with input from the county executive and council, and none are under the possible influence of major campaign donors. The school board oversees the largest portion of the Baltimore County budget, approximately 52 percent, and should be as impartial and free of external influence as possible. Running for office has all the potential to corrupt that.

Glen A. Thomas, Phoenix

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