More than 150 applications come in for Prince George’s school board seats

About 160 Prince George’s County residents have applied for appointment to four newly created positions on the Board of Education, county officials said Monday.

The positions are the result of a law that takes effect June 1, legislation that expands the nine-member elected board and gives County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) the power to select the new schools chief.

Although Baker sought a complete takeover of the county’s public school system — asking for authority to select the superintendent and control the system’s $1.7 billion budget — under the measure approved by state lawmakers, Baker will hire the superintendent (now known as the chief executive), name three of the new board members and select the board chairman and vice chairman. The County Council’s appointee must be a parent with a child enrolled in public school.

The law requires that Baker appoint board members who have experience in education, business, finance, higher education or management.

Christian Rhodes, Baker’s education liaison, said the applicants have a wide variety of experience.

“It’s a mixed bag,” Rhodes said. “There are activist parents, CEOs, vice presidents of large organizations, university professors.”

Rhodes said the immediate rush of applications is an indication that the community wants to be engaged in the school system.

He said Baker and the council “will have their work cut out for them” as they select the four appointees.

There is no firm date on when the appointments will be made, but Rhodes said Baker would like to make them “as close to June 1 as possible.”

“He’s going to go through and make sure it’s the right people,” Rhodes said.

There are no experience or education requirements to serve in the elected board positions, and county voters have chosen board members who do not have four-year college degrees, including five members of the current board. The Prince George’s body is the only education board in the region with a majority of its members lacking college degrees.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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