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School Board Compromise Floated

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz discusses one solution during meetings with county legislators.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz could be talking compromise on a controversial effort to change how members of the county school board are selected.

Kamenetz has been meeting with lawmakers from around the county in the last week in advance of the 2013 General Assembly Session that begins Jan. 9. A number of legislators, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings were private, said the county executive discussed a possible option in which appointed board members would stand for election after being appointed by the governor.

The plan could include the creation of some form of nominating process that includes a commission similar to one that vets judicial appointments. Members of the commission would be selected either by the governor or county executive. Once appointed, members would have to stand for retention election in the next election.

The compromise was first proposed nearly a year ago by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, a proponent of a change to a partially- or fully-elected school board.

Don Mohler, a Kamenetz spokesman, said the meetings with legislators last month were confidential and declined to discuss the details of the compromise.

"We continue to have an open dialogue with Sen. Zirkin," said Mohler.

The discussion may be an attempt to head off another battle royal clash between the executive, who opposes changing the current appointment-only process, and a majority of county legislators who backed proposals to create a so-called hybrid board that is partially-elected and partially appointed.

County legislators came within minutes in April of passing legislation creating a hybrid board. Kamenetz angered legislators by working to hold the bill up in committee. In return, some of them delayed legislation requested by the county executive.

But with framework hammered out, the bill was sure to return again this year.

In August, Kamenetz sent letters to county lawmakers asking them not attempt to change how members of the school board are selected.

Zirkin, an Owings Mills Democrat, responded at the time by saying there was room for compromise  but that "the county executive's letter will be disregarded."

Last week, he struck a more conciliatory tone but said some points are not negotiable.

"We're having conversations about [a compromise]," Zirkin said. "I'm always looking at ways to compromise but no compromise is acceptable if that doesn't give county residents some right to vote for school board members."

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Tony Solesky December 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM
All successes and failure found in the format, the people running the operation should be stewards entrusted to carry out a otherwise well founded plan. We continue to believe that the best solution is to elect the best man for a job that has no foundation, as if Mario Andretti can make an inoperable car run better because he is a good driver. The system is broken and those who are attempting to operate it rather then fix it are just as much to blame. I support the idea of an elected school board as the most successful way to carry out educational stewardship however applied to the current format it is a equally feudal application of a misdirected and misguided effort. It does not address the problem. The Failure is in the Format. This is why in Japan one teacher could teach an auditorium filled with children and in the US we believe the issue is overcrowding. So 26 students we have illiteracy 24 and they are all 4.0 GPA I suppose. If you can politically address the real issues you can’t fix them.
Buck Harmon December 05, 2012 at 02:45 PM
How should a Republic respond..?
Arbutus Town Crier December 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Buck, America is not a Republic, "border line democracy" is hanging on a cliff. Most Americans have no Idea what a Republic is, Most think its a party "Republican Party" The Republic of America only resides only in there hearts who know.
Arbutus Town Crier December 05, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Tony, the system was broken when politicians made careers creating a democracy, and the Republic thrown out. American citizens see the light, and some are blinded by it.
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