WASHINGTON - Prince George's County State's Attorney and county executive candidate Angela Alsobrooks is calling on Rushern Baker to fire of embattled Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell. She joins Gov. Larry Hogan as well as two other candidates she is running against, former congresswoman Donna Edwards and state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, seeking Maxwell's removal.
"This is not a new issue and that is the unfortunate thing about this," Alsobrooks told FOX 5. "I have been in living rooms, I have been in civic association meetings, we have been in churches and this is all people are talking about. The truth of it is, we need a change and we really do need it now. We have talked about adults for long enough.
"I think I share the sentiments of so many who live here. I am sick of talking about adults and how they have failed children. I want to return to a conversation that talks about our kids - what they need from us, what their parents need, what their teachers and educators need for them to move forward. We cannot do that until we make the necessary change so we can move our school system forward."
The school system has dealt with several scandals during Dr. Maxwell's tenure, which include a state audit that revealed widespread grade changing that violated district policies along with students graduating without meeting requirements. A former school aide pleaded guilty after he sexually abused children at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School where he volunteered. In 2016, the federal government pulled a $6.5 million grant to fund the school district's Head Start program following reports of misconduct and abuse that were apparently never addressed by the school system.
Recently, some school board members said central office employees have received unauthorized pay raises. Earlier this week, a hidden camera was found inside an administrative office at a school, which has led to Prince George's County police to investigate.
"It's foolishness and I am sick of hearing about it," said Alsobrooks. "It's incompetency at its highest and I knew nothing about this. I have no idea why anyone in a school system would surveil a person in the school system. If that kind of investigation was needed, it seems to me that the police department would do it. Once again, here we are before graduation talking about school cameras, not kids, not their academics, not their scholarships, but how we failed kids, and you know what, it needs to end now."
Baker, who is running for governor, appointed Maxwell as Prince George's County Public Schools CEO in 2013 and was reappointed last year.
Scott Peterson, a spokesperson for Baker, said in a statement:
"State's Attorney Alsobrooks, Senator Muse, Former Representative Donna Edwards or any others running for Prince George's County Executive will eventually have the opportunity to decide who they would like to be the next PGCPS C.E.O. thanks to the reforms County Executive Baker has implemented to PGCPS oversight.
"County Executive Baker does not believe the best course of action on behalf of the students and teachers is to throw PGCPS leadership into disarray for the next 8 months just for political expediency."
Edwards said in a statement:
"Real leaders lead. Was it the loss of $6 million/year in Head Start funding that put you over the top? Or the grade fixing? Or the unethical contributions? Or the 12% pay raises? Or the $450k CEO contract? Or that PGCPS is still 23 of 24 school systems in MD? Or your polling?
"For months, parents, teachers, students and members of our board of education have been calling for Kevin Maxwell to be fired. Now after getting permission from her handlers, the establishment candidate deems it politically safe to call for his removal. This is the sort of leadership we can expect from Ms. Alsobrooks -- finger to the wind, bowing to interests at the expense of our children's futures. That isn't the sort of leadership our county needs or deserves.
"For months, I've called for a ban on developer contributions, I've pledged to clean house in our county and our county school system. I first called for Kevin Maxwell's removal last August before I made my run for county executive official, and I've remained consistent in the months since -- it's time for transparency and accountability, but we also need to have proven, fearless leadership in place to get the job done. I know I'm ready for the job -- the question for voters: is Angela ready?"
State Sen. Muse said in a statement:
"It is good the State's Attorney has finally realized that the Public Schools CEO has to resign. I have been calling for this resignation since 2016 and long before this was political... in shaping the County Executive race. Being complicit as part of the cabal that installed this sham of a Superintendent who has let parents, principals and pupils down shows just how out of touch with the people she really is.
"We hope that people who care about kids in public schools continue the good work that has been done in Prince George's County said Senator Muse."