Capital Article

Sauers, Elisha, Anne Arundel delegates spar over diversity in school board nominating process, Capital, February 6, 2016.

Snider Comment

A modest proposal: I agree with the plan to rotate the SBNC’s Chamber of Commerce commissioner position. But why stop there? There are many other positions on the SBNC that are democratically unrepresentative. For example, a large fraction of the 120 or so schools in AACPS have PTOs rather than PTAs. Why not rotate the parent rep. among the PTAs and PTOs? And while we’re at it, since PTAs are such an intimidating organization for many parents, especially parents who might not always agree with school staff on every issue important to the staff, why not give the CAC repss a rotating seat? After all, the Legislature originally set up the CAC system in AACPS specifically to deal with that PTA problem. And, of course, why stop there? Only two of the four major AACPS bargaining units are represented on the SBNC. The other two deserve reps, too. And how about informed representation? The Community College rep. has either showed up late or not all at every SBNC meeting during this election cycle? How can a rep. represent when she isn’t even present and seems befuddled when she is?

And what about the principle of one-person, one-vote? Since 2008, I have argued that the SBNC violates that principle, which incidentally means it may violate the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause. Since the 1960s, the 14th Amendment has been interpreted to mean a one-person, one-vote requirement for local general elections, including public school elections. For example, it was found unconstitutional when voting for representatives on local school councils was limited to parents or property owners. But who would bring such a case? Traditionally, it has been the unions, but they already have 3 seats on the SBNC. Parents? No chance; everybody’s business is nobody’s business.