PGCPS board chair backs down on board meeting shutdowns; maintains ethics concerns

The brand-new Prince George’s County Public Schools board chair who raised hackles by canceling board meetings over ethical concerns is backing down on her threats.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Board Chair Dr. Juanita Miller said, "We are ready and willing to hold Board of Education meetings to review the operations of the school system."

READ MORE: New backlash after PGCPS board chair calls to shut down and investigate board

Miller enraged some members of the board when she abruptly canceled Thursday’s meeting.

Miller has called for an investigation into what she believes are ethical and financial discrepancies and initially said she wanted the board to stop working until a wide-ranging audit was done.

READ MORE: PGCPS board chair wants to stop board meetings while board is investigated

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks – who appointed Miller to the post – has declined to comment on the situation.

Also on Tuesday, community activists gathered in front of Alsobrooks’ office in Largo.

"Dr. Miller is an appointed member of the school board," said Krystal Oriadha with PG Change Makers. "She does not answer to us, but she answers to the county executive.

The head of the Prince George’s Co. NAACP also expressed anger over Miller’s actions.

"They want to make this about adults," said Bob Ross. "Take care of the kids so they can get back to school and get to learning. They’ve been out a whole year."

School board member Joshua Thomas was also there and is the first board member to speak out publicly on the accusations made by Miller.

"These allegations are unfounded," Thomas said. "I know the chair has even mentioned that there’s an investigation underway. There’s no investigation underway. The board has to meet in order to send issues to our Ethics Panel."

Miller has made a range of claims including that board members gave lucrative no-bid contracts to their friends.

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Thomas said he believes the board acted legally and ethically. He says what’s behind this feud is a split on the board between mainly appointed members and a group of elected members who gained the majority this last election.

"The reality of it is the chair is upset because she can’t make unilateral decisions, that she has an opinion that is not shared by the majority of the board which is elected by the public," said Thomas.

Miller is still refusing to do an interview about the claims she’s made.

FOX 5 asked her when the canceled board meeting will be rescheduled, but got no response.

A letter outlining Dr. Miller’s concerns has been sent to State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon. Seven elected board members, including Thomas, sent their own letter to the superintendent countering Miller‘s claims.

Salmon’s office confirmed Tuesday they had received the letters but provided no comment.