Fundraising groups need decision, not delay, on Policy 1300

Editorial

  • Nicole Carson, a senior at Loch Raven High School, shows her excitement over finding her prom dress while Katherine Stanka (left) looks on. The Loch Raven High School craft fair included a prom dress swap in which girls could bring in their used dresses. Half the proceeds benefit the school's prom commitees. The Loch Raven craft fair was most likely the last due to enforcement of a county schools policy that prohibits vendors from making profits on school grounds. Carson said she had never been to a craft fair before and was drawn in by the prom dress swap.
Nicole Carson, a senior at Loch Raven High School, shows her… (Staff photo by Sarah Pastrana )
July 19, 2011

If the Baltimore County Board of Education wants to show proof why a shake-up is needed in its all-appointed membership, it's doing a great job.

The public perception is growing that the board defers when decisive action is in order. Last week, the board was handed an opportunity to prove that perception wrong.

At issue: Policy 1300, the controversial rule that restricts the use of school property by for-profit vendors — such as those at craft fairs and the like. The policy has greatly hampered events such as PTA-sponsored craft fairs that raise money to help the host schools.

A proposed revision of Policy 1300, in the works since March, would ease this rule. It was put before the school board for a vote July 12. PTA leaders eagerly awaited the decision in order to begin planning for the coming year's fundraising events.

And what the the school board do?

It delayed. Board members said they weren't comfortable making a decision yet. One said the policy needed more review "in depth." Another said there should be another review of comments by the public and board members.

Reacting to this deferral, organizers of school fundraisers may have been fuming inwardly, but they were outwardly polite.

"Unfortunately, this whole matter is back in limbo," Leslie Weber said. "Summer is planning time (for school-supporting organizations)."

Weber is president of the Parent-Teacher-Student Association at Loch Raven High School, where a community-beloved craft fair has been derailed by Policy 1300.

Why does the school board at times seem oblivious to public opinion? Many believe it's because members were placed in their seats by the governor, not voters.

This may change.

The General Assembly, which has the power to determine the makeup of the school board, is now tasked with reconsidering the all-appointed board, replacing it with perhaps an all-elected board or a "hybrid" board combining appointed and elected members.

We favor the latter — but don't forget that next week is your chance to voice a preference. The task force studying a change in the school board selection process will hold the last of its hearings on July 25, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Towson Library.

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