The Washington Post

Baker seeks County Council input on school board vacancies under proposed bill

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III (D) during a news conference in Landover Hills, Md., on July 16, 2013. (Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post)

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who filled two seats on the Board of Education last year when two elected members resigned, is asking the General Assembly to change the way selections are made to the county school board when an elected member vacates their seat.

Under a bill being considered by state lawmakers, Baker would send the name of his appointee to the county council clerk.

If the council doesn’t vote against the appointee by a two-thirds vote of all members within 30 days, the appointment is approved.

The legislation is the first that revisits the legislation that changed the governance structure of the county school system.

Last March, Baker asked the General Assembly to allow him to take over the school system. Under compromise legislation, Baker was granted the ability to select the schools chief, name the school board chair and vice chair and select three members of the school board.

The new law also allowed Baker to fill vacancies left by departed elected members. Last year, former board members Carletta Fellows and Donna Hathaway Beck resigned from the board in the span of a couple of months. Baker appointed Lyn Mundey and Sonya Williams, respectively.

“While there have been no problems with the first two, there has been some ambiguity about what the process is,” Rhodes said. “This is bigger than County Executive Baker or [Council Chairman] Mel Franklin; it’s about how this process will move forward in the future.”

If the legislation is approved, it will take effect Oct. 1, 2014.

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.

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