May 22, 2022
This past General Assembly session in Annapolis brought about legislation that passed and will affect the composition of our County’s Board of Education considerably. This included House Bill (HB) 355 and Senate Bill (SB) 444.
HB 355 will establish a workgroup on the membership and operation of the Prince George's County Board of Education. It will require the workgroup to study and make recommendations regarding the Board as to how to implement an electoral process for an all-elected board, appropriate compensation, and an appropriate phase-in period for changes to Board composition. The legislation also requires the Board to elect a chair and vice chair from the Board's members beginning December 5, 2022. Finally, a requirement that each member be provided with certain training materials to help improve the facilitation and operation of the Board was also included.
SB 444 will alter the boundaries of the school board districts for election of the members of the Prince George's County Board of Education. This legislation was required because by 2024, all the School Board members will be elected, as opposed to the current hybrid model where some members are elected, and some are appointed by the County Executive. Why this is important: With an all elected Board and new districts being re-drawn, RGMS and other schools may find its representation changing due to the nature of this legislation. We rely on our representatives to listen to the needs of our school and our students, and advocate for us accordingly. We saw this first-hand when the School Administration proposed to move RGMS to Bowie and make our current campus a permanent swing-school. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of these two pieces of legislation, because it may change our school’s representation, and thus the future outcomes of our school.
As all of you should know, this is an election year and several School Board Districts will be having elections for members to serve and represent their respective constituents. School Board District 2 and District 3, both which have students within its boundaries that attend RGMS, have candidates (both incumbents and newly-running) that are scheduled to be in the July 19th primary (the primary date was moved from June 28th due to an order from the Maryland Court of Appeals, related to a State redistricting issue). The RGMS PTSA is considering having a candidate forum, most likely online, that would give the top two candidates in each District from the Primary an opportunity to present themselves, their qualifications for school board member, how they see the challenges in our school system, and how they would like to resolve them. Note that each candidate would speak on their own behalf: this would not be a debate, or a “cross-talk” forum to criticize opponents. The workings of this forum is still in progress, but if you have suggestions or comments on this event, please contact Alex Hirtle at email@example.com.