In 2007, the Maryland General Assembly passed and Governor Martin
O’Malley signed into law, H.B. 1114, which established The School Board
Nominating Commission of Anne Arundel County (hereinafter
“Commission”). The Commission’s structure, function, mandate, and
authorized powers are set forth in §3-110 of Title III of Education
Article of the Maryland Chapter Laws.
Generally, the Commission is comprised of eleven
members five of whom are appointed by the Governor as representatives of
the five Legislative Districts within Anne Arundel County (21, 30, 31,
32, and 33), and the remaining six members are appointed as follows: one
from the County Executive; one from the Teacher’s Association of Anne
Arundel County; one from the Annapolis and Anne Arundel Chamber of
Commerce; one from the Anne Arundel County Council of PTAs; one from the
Anne Arundel County Community College Board of Trustees; and one from
the Association of Education Leaders.
Commissioners serve four year terms and the
Chairman of the Commission is named by the Governor and must be selected
from one of the Legislative District appointments. The Governor may
reappoint the Chairman for a second term.
The Commission’s statutory mandate is to select
nominees from whom the Governor must choose appointments to the Anne
Arundel County Board of Education when such a vacancy of the Board
occurs. In addition, as part of the creation of the Commission, the
enabling legislation created an additional seat on the Board of
Education thus increasing the size of the Board from 8 members to 9.
The additional seat created will now enable citizens of Anne Arundel
County that reside in Legislative Districts 21 and 32 to have their own
separate Board representation. Lastly, the enabling legislation also
instituted a new requirement that Board members will be subject to a
“retention vote” at the next General Election after their initial
appointment. The retention vote will also apply to Board members who
serve a second consecutive term.
Historically, members of the Anne Arundel County
Board of Education, prior to their appointment by the Governor under
state law, first engaged in a vetting process more formally known as the
School Board Nominating Convention (hereinafter “Convention”)The
Convention, which was created by county citizens in 1979 to help inform
the Governor on Board of Education appointments, would meet annually in
May and prior to its meeting would accept Board candidate applications
and hold public hearings in and around the County. At the Convention,
analogous in many ways to a caucus, potential Board applicants and their
supporters (also known as “delegates”) would gather to question
applicants and demonstrate their support for or against particular Board
candidates. Ultimately, a “Convention Committee” would vote on the
candidates presented and would submit the names of the top two vote
getters from the Convention process to the Governor for possible
appointment to the Board.However, while the
Convention process was designed to afford the citizens of Anne Arundel
County an opportunity to play an active role in selecting candidates for
the Board of Education, the process was ad-hoc in nature and did not
bind the Governor. In another words, the Governor was under no legal
obligation to select for appointment to the Board any individual from
the Convention process. It is with this background, as well as
additional mitigating factors, that the Commission finds its origins.
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