Dysfunction continues as PGCPS board chair refuses to resume normal meetings

Dysfunction continues on the Prince George’s County School Board as the new chair refuses to resume normal board meetings for the second time this month.

Dr. Juanita Miller canceled the Feb. 11 board meeting and then on Monday the agenda that went online for this Thursday’s meeting was truncated to just two action items about expenditures and budget.

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There will be no executive session, no public comment, no rescheduled votes from the last meeting and no planned discussion on reopening schools.

Miller was recently appointed by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. Alsobrooks has refused an interview or comment to FOX 5 for over a week.

Miller has made a host of allegations against some elected members of the board saying they’ve acted unethically with regards to contracts and hiring. She said she wanted to stop the board from meeting until an investigation was completed and that six board members agree with her. Those board members have not responded to a request for comment.

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Miller’s concerns have been sent to Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon. Salmon’s office said Monday Miller’s letter is still under review.

Seven elected board members say Miller is wrong and they’ve indicated they’ll try to have her removed.

Community advocates have expressed outrage over the board’s inaction on important agenda items. The group "PG Change Makers" held a rally Tuesday outside the county executive’s office.

"I thought that advocates were heard loud and clear when they asked for the meetings to be resumed," said Krystal Oriadha, co-founder of PG Change Makers. "But again, it’s a slap in the face to move forward with resuming meetings, but to not put any of the items advocates have been fighting for on the agenda."

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One of those items would help the district’s most vulnerable students through learning hubs. Students would meet in person in small groups to do virtual learning with an adult there to help them.

Newly-elected board member Shayla Stafford-Adams has been working for months to make learning hubs a reality for students including those who have not signed on for virtual learning, homeless students and students without Internet access or adult supervision at home.

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"Honestly, this came from the community so community members contacted me, parents, students, folks contacting and just saying, ‘Listen, we know this is happening elsewhere in our state and we know we have the capacity to do something here for these students,’" said Stafford-Adams. "And even with a hybrid learning model, students still need support."

Her initiative passed unanimously on the first reading. It was scheduled for a final vote at the Feb. 11 meeting. She called what’s happening with the board "undemocratic."