School Board Commission Follies

Just to prove how much of a half-assed idea the Anne Arundel County School Board Nominating Commission is, check out this story from the Capital:

They don’t really know when or how or where, but the new county School Board Nominating Commission is planning to do a thorough job choosing two new school board members this year.

The commission, which was created last year as an answer to calls for a more democratic county Board of Education, met for the first time last night to organize and plan, only to find they had more questions than answers.

“We’re starting from scratch,” said Joshua C. Greene, a Crofton attorney who is the commission’s chairman. “We have to work the process through.”

OK. All of that makes some sense. It’s a new commission, everybody is working out the kinks.

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But clearly, those politicians who thought that this was a good idea spent a lot of time on the concept….not so much on the execution:

(There is more below the fold…)

Little aside from the commission’s makeup and charge was included in the law. So far, the commission has neither a budget, a meeting place, a mail box, a Web site, a staff or rules, the members pointed out.

“The law was more or less just the creation,” Matthew C. Tedesco, one of the members, said at last night’s meeting. “There’s no bylaws, no nothing.”

Which of course brings up numerous questions. Why was this not included in the state or county budget? Why did the law not address the issue of bylaws, or rules, or anything like that? Why were the Commission members not appointed until November? Why did the Commission not take the initiative have a meeting prior to yesterday’s meeting to try and answer some of these questions before the process started?

Then, there is this sticky wicket:

Ms. Johnson is at the end of her first five-year term and before she can be reappointed for a second, her district will cast a confidence or no-confidence vote on her performance so far. Whether that vote will be binding is still unknown, Mr. Greene said.

Yes, nobody apparently has bothered to spend the time to determine what the law actually means and whether or not the law actually binds the decision of the voters to who will sit on the Commission.

Clearly, the School Board Nominating Commission is an idea that was poorly planned, and is now going to be poorly executed. It was a bad idea to start with, given the fact that it stems from petty politics and the desire of GovernorO’Malley and John Leopold to put the appointment power of the school board in the hands of their political cronies. But it’s painfully obvious that the members of the General Assembly who supported this cockamamie idea did not spend enough time considering the implications of this new law, and how this new law would direct the Commission to act. As usual, there was too much posturing, and too little thought put into the process.

So now, the residents of Anne Arundel County, after being subjected to a new process designed to curtail their ability to influence who sits on the Board of Education, now gets to watch a Commission make it up as they go along. How sad. I could not figure out a way that this Commission could serve our public school students any worse, and just emphasizes the need to have an elected school board over anything else…


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