by Genevieve Demos Kelley
The governance system of Prince George’s County Public Schools was restructured in 2013 under House Bill 1107. Many people know that HB 1107 changed the structure of the Board of Education from an all-elected board to a hybrid of elected and appointed members. But there are several other features of the bill that have significantly changed the way the school system is governed.
Here’s a before-and-after table highlighting some of the changes made under HB 1107:
|Before HB 1107||Under HB 1107 (Effective June 1, 2013)|
|Members of the school board are elected.||Board is a combination of members who are elected and appointed. (Section 3-114)|
|Nine elected school board members, each of whom resides in a different school district; one student member of the board.||Nine elected board members, one student member, and four appointed board members (three appointed by the County Executive and one appointed by the County Council). (Section 3-114)|
|Board needs a simple majority to pass a motion.||The school board requires a two-thirds vote to take an action that is contrary to an action of the CEO. (Section 4-403)|
|Board members elect a chair and vice chair of the school board once a year, from among the members of the school board.||The County Executive selects the chair and vice chair of the school board for a two-year term. The vice chair is appointed from among the elected members of the board. (Section 3-1004)|
|If a seat on the Board becomes vacant more than 180 days before the end of the term, it is filled at a special election.||If a seat held by an elected member of the Board becomes vacant, the County Executive fills the vacancy by appointment. (Section 3-1002)|
|The head of the school system is known as the Superintendent of schools.||The superintendent is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the school system. (Section 4-101)|
|The school board has authority to consolidate schools.||The CEO has the authority to consolidate schools. (Section 4-120)|
|The school board selects and appoints the superintendent of the school system.||The County Executive selects the CEO of the school system from a list of three candidates provided by a search committee. The school board then appoints the CEO after agreement on contract terms negotiated by the chair of the county board. (Section 4-201.1)|
|The county superintendent is responsible for the administration of his office.||The CEO is responsible for the administration of his office, including hiring and setting the salaries of the executive staff. (Section 4-204)|
|The county school board shall employ individuals in the positions that the county board considers necessary for the operation of the public schools in the county.||The CEO of the school system shall hire and set the salaries of a Chief Operating Officer, a Chief Financial Officer, a Chief Academic officer, a Chief of Staff, a Board Liaison, and any other necessary executive staff in the office of the CEO. (Section 6-201)|
Note that this isn’t the only time in recent history that the PGCPS governance structure has undergone substantial change. And it may change again. The language of section 4-403 of HB 1107 makes it clear that further changes to the governance system will be up for consideration in the 2018 legislative session:
b) On or before December 31, 2017, the County Executive, the Chief Executive Officer, and the Prince George’s County Board of Education shall submit a final report on academic progress and improvement in the management of the Prince George’s County public school system, and recommendations concerning the continuation, modification, or termination of the governance system established by this Act for the public school system, in accordance with § 2–1246 of the State Government Article, to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Prince George’s County Senators, and the Prince George’s County Delegation.
(c) During the 2018 regular legislative session, the General Assembly shall deliberate and determine whether the provisions of this Act shall be terminated and of no further force and effect. If the General Assembly does not take any action to terminate this Act, the provisions of this Act shall continue to be in full force and effect.
Read more about HB 1107 at the General Assembly of Maryland website here.