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Kasemeyer will support Baltimore County school board bill

Supporters of an elected school board in Baltimore County have reason to be modestly optimistic about the chances of success this year.

Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, D-Howard and Baltimore, said Wednesday he will support a bill that would create a hybrid elected-appointed board in Baltimore County.

Sen. Edward D. Kasemeyer

Sen. Edward D. Kasemeyer

“I’ve been supportive all along,” Kasemeyer said. “I thought [last year] that with the new superintendent, we should be able to allow him time to settle in before making any changes.”

Kasemeyer’s comments Wednesday morning are consistent with statements he made following his vote reversal in 2013.

The county Senate delegation is expected to hold a hearing on the bill this afternoon in Annapolis.

Kasemeyer said that the last year has allowed Dallas Dance to settle in and  now is a good time to re-examine  changing how the board is selected.

Kasemeyer’s support gives hope that the bill would likely pass out of the county’s Senate delegation this year.

Last year, Kasemeyer changed his mind and voted against the bill [after supporting it in previous years]. The bill failed to get out of the Senate delegation on a 4-4 vote.

The four senators who supported the bill last year are onboard to do so again this year. Sen. James Brochin, D-Baltimore, is the sponsor of this year’s bill in the Senate.

Sens. Joseph M. Getty, Carroll and Baltimore, and J.B. Jennings, Baltimore and Harford, are co-sponsors. In separate interviews, Getty and Jennings said they continue to support the effort.

Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore, had led the effort to pass the legislation in each of the last six years. In a text message, Zirkin said he continues to support the effort and would vote for the bill.

That leaves Sens. Kathy A. Klausmeier, chair of the delegation, Delores G. Kelley and Norman R. Stone Jr. as the dissenters. All three have been staunch opponents of the effort to make some of the school board subject to elections.

Baltimore County, with it’s 12-appointed members, is in the minority of school boards in the state. There are 17 counties with elected school boards in Maryland and another three that use a hybrid elected-appointed model.

Anne Arundel County also has a bill in seeking to add elected members to its school board.

The bill will still need to get out of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore City, has routinely expressed concerns about allowing elected positions on the Baltimore County School Board.

In the House, similar legislation has had the traditional support of the House delegation but has faltered in the House Ways and Means Committee where county lobbyists have been successful in convincing Chairwoman Sheila E. Hixon, D-Montgomery, to hold the bill in committee.

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