Capital News Article
Yeager, Amanda, School Board Appointment Commission to meet this summer, June 7, 2017. This story was buried in the June 8 edition on page A10. The meeting that it reports on was held June 6.
“Appointment commission members include:”
Amazingly, this is the first time the Capital has published the names of the stakeholder groups that select the 13 commissioners as specified in the General Assembly’s enabling legislation. The sponsors of the General Assembly legislation didn’t want to mention the specific names of the stakeholder groups because they feared it would be controversial. Instead, they focused on selling the commission as fostering representation by diverse community groups, which was smart politics. The Capital then echoed that framing in its coverage.
None of the stakeholder group official documents appointing representatives to the Commission has been published on the Commission’s website.
“With voters set to begin electing school board members in 2018, the commission will now focus on appointing replacements in the event a school board member leaves before their term is finished.”
This is a highly misleading formulation used by politicians who wanted to deemphasize the importance of this Commission, as it implies that it will be disbanded and not play an important role in school board elections after elections begin in 2018. My guess is that after one or more model selection rounds (I expect an excellent pick its first time out to help establish the Commission’s reputation) the public will come to treat it with more contempt than the previous Commission.
“The newly formed group charged with choosing a replacement for former school board member Tom Frank has announced four meeting dates this summer.”
The group met at a public meeting on June 6, 2017, which the Capital reporter did not attend. Although the Commission sent a public notice of this important meeting, the Capital did not print it. Only three members of the public, including myself, attended the meeting, and I was the only person to testify (my testimony can be found at eLighthouse.info).
“State lawmakers created the commission this legislative session as part of a measure creating an elected Anne Arundel County Board of Education.”
At a recent public forum for three of the four representatives from General Assembly District 33, the representatives touted their accomplishment in creating an elected school board. But they also didn’t know the name of the new selection commission (calling it by the old designation, the “Nominating Commission”) rather than the new designation they approved (the “Appointment Commission”), the number of commissioners on the Commission (13 rather than 11), that the new appointees fundamentally changed the nature of the Commission’s private stakeholder representation (e.g., giving private stakeholder groups a majority of votes and a mere six veto power over appointments), and the duration of the Commission (claiming it would expire when the elections began in 2018). But no bother because they were assured by somebody important that the Commission would not meet to select a replacement for the currently vacant seat and after that it wouldn’t matter anyway.