Last Hearing Before Maryland Legislators Get Prince George’s County Public Schools Takeover Plan

Arguments over who should control Prince George's County Public Schools were heard again in Annapolis Monday at the last hearing before the school takeover plan goes into the hands of lawmakers.

The Prince George's County public school system is the second largest in Maryland and has some of the worst performing schools.

Monday evening, Maryland senators and delegates from Prince George's County heard County Executive Rushern Baker ask for legislation putting him in charge of hiring the new school superintendent, administering the school budget and reducing the power of the school board.

“The chief executive officer for the county should be responsible for making sure our education system improves, and as the county executive I want that responsibility,” Baker said. “Right now, we have the responsibility of putting together a $1.7 billion budget that we turn over to the school system, but we’re not held accountable for making sure our education system improves.”

The hearing was packed with Prince George’s County teachers, whose union is vehemently opposed to letting the county executive run the schools.

“The best argument against the takeover plan is that executive takeover plans haven’t worked elsewhere,” PGCEA President Kenneth Haines said.

School board members said they were elected and should be allowed to do their jobs.

“We oppose the bill because to date the county executive hasn’t been able to articulate how his plan will actually raise achievement or accelerate achievement above and beyond what the students have already been achieving in Prince George’s County,” school board member Zabrina Epps said.

Follow Chris Gordon on Twitter at @chrisgordonnews

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