Capital Commentary

Korbelak, Stacy, Board changes prompt some mixed feelings, Capital, February 13, 2016.

Snider Commentary

“the entire board and our superintendent discovered we had two new colleagues via a tweet posted by reporter Cindy Huang on The Capital’s Twitter page on the afternoon of Feb. 6.”

This is a feature, not a bug, especially given the board’s past practices with regard to insider control of public information. There was a time, such as under Governor Paris Glendening, when Maryland governors publicly announced and explained their school board (and School Board Nominating Commission) appointments. For many years, that has not been the case. I have been especially focused on gubernatorial practice in making announcements with regard to the SBNC, which nominates school board candidates to the governor.  To provide just one example: Last year I asked the SBNC chair and his legal counsel as many as a half dozen times for information regarding the terms of the SBNC commissioners, information that was not posted on the SBNC website. I asked this question again and again to the point of rudeness but both refused to provide me with the requested information. I was informally (and incorrectly) told the appointment dates would expire in January 2016, probably late January 2016. But I could get no documentary confirmation of this answer. This, as it turned out, was highly sensitive political information because it related to whether the incoming governor would have the power to appoint two additional members of the school board during his term of office. Alas, this insider control of material public information is not restricted to the SBNC but has become the modus operandi of the Board of Education. The public, not just the school board, deserves courtesy when seeking the public information it is legally entitled to see.