SEAT PLEASANT, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Six Prince George’s County school board members are petitioning the state to remove their board chair.
It’s a rare step that’s only been successful three times in the last decade according to records provided by the Maryland State Board of Education.
Elected board members have been clashing for months with appointed Board Chair Dr. Juanita Miller.
"We decided to escalate this to another level because we don’t think this is delivering for our students with this chair at the leadership," said board member Joshua Thomas.
Thomas, along with board members Edward Burroughs, David Murray, Raaheela Ahmed, Kenneth Harris, and Shayla Adam’s-Stafford, have formally asked the state to initiate charges of removal according to records reviewed by FOX 5.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks appointed Miller to her position, but regardless of whether a board member is appointed or elected, only the state board has the power to remove a board member.
There’s a high threshold to do that including misconduct in office; immorality; incompetency; willful neglect of duty and failure to attend a required number of scheduled board meetings.
In their removal petition, board members make multiple claims against Miller.
"This chair actually shut down this board in February and prevented important pieces of policy from passing," said Thomas.
Miller canceled board meetings after she made claims of misconduct on the board and demanded an investigation.
Board members also cite the ongoing and bitter feud over hiring a board attorney.
"We’ve been without legal counsel for two months now. This is in violation of state law," said Thomas.
Miller wouldn't agree to a recorded interview but spoke to FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts by phone. Miller said she wasn’t aware this was happening.
"I wish them luck," Miller said.
She laughed at the idea board members would be successful and suggested later via email that board members were upset because she had exposed their unethical conduct.
After Miller’s request for an investigation, the state board of education agreed to audit the board at the county’s expense. That investigation has not yet begun.
According to the Code of Maryland Regulations, the process to remove a local school board member gives petitioners 30 days to provide the state board additional information after the initial request for removal.
The state can reject a petition outright if it doesn’t meet standards. If a petition does move forward, there will be hearings in front of the state board where both sides can make their case.