Howard Co. lawmaker drops hybrid school board plan
A move to change the makeup of the Howard County school board stalled Wednesday, as a state lawmaker announced that he would drop a bill that would have added appointed members to the all-elected panel.
Del. Frank Turner, a Howard County Democrat, announced that he wouldn't pursue the legislation a day after a public hearing on the measure. School Board Chairwoman Janet Siddiqui complained Tuesday that Turner's measure would jeopardize the search for a superintendent and could hamper the progress of a high-performing school system.
The bill had called for five members elected by district and two to be appointed by the county executive. The board now has seven members who are elected at large.
The hybrid school board model was voted on by a school board study commission created in August by County Executive Ken Ulman, who said he sought to address concerns by some county citizens that the board needed more racial and geographic diversity.
"This debate points to some of the frustration that many individuals experience on a daily basis." Turner said in a statement. "Achievement gap, possible loss of voters’ rights, geographic under-representation, economic disparity, recruitment of candidates, district vs. at-large seats and appointed seats were thoroughly discussed and I believe that the citizens are more aware of these complex issues as we move forward as a county.