Prince George’s Co exec wants to fix troubled school board by expanding it: sources

Three sources, including two Prince George’s County state lawmakers, say County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is trying to get legislation passed that would expand the number of appointed members on the school board.

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With the legislative session ending Monday, they say Alsobrooks is working with some state lawmakers to get it done through an amendment to an unrelated bill. 

Alsobrooks provided a statement to FOX 5 Thursday night saying she has pursued no legislation to expand the board.

READ MORE: Several Prince George's County mayors voice concern over school board leadership

"I have heard from business, faith and civic leaders who have reached out to me to express their deep concern regarding issues pertaining to the Board of Education, and their impact on our County and its reputation," the statement reads. "While I’ve had conversations with leaders in the legislature regarding this issue, I have pursued no legislation and there has been no consensus regarding a remedy. I remain open to conversations and to working with all parties who are looking for solutions to the challenges we face."

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One lawmaker described the process to FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts saying the county executive is working "behind the scenes" to find a bill that would be a "vessel" to pass the school board expansion.

He said he was surprised at the effort, but that it was possible it could be a reality if Alsobrooks made clear to the county delegation she wanted it done.

Another source said the purpose is to "balance power" on the board which is a hybrid of elected and appointed members. 

There are no public hearings for bill amendments.

The two lawmakers who spoke to FOX 5 requested they not be named.

A third, Del. Dereck Davis, called the proposal "just talk."

"I highly doubt something like that could actually be pulled off," Davis said. 

When she was running for county executive, Alsobrooks said she supported an all elected board.

Current state law mandates a hybrid school board in Prince George’s County, where voters elect nine members, the county council appoints one board member and the county executive appoints two members and the board chair.

There has been controversy on the board between elected and appointed members, most recently when Board Chair Juanita Miller accused elected board members of illegal and unethical behavior and called for a state investigation. 

In a prior interview with FOX 5, Alsobrooks wouldn’t say whether she still had faith in Miller. She said the former board chair, Dr. Alvin Thornton, quit the board because of concern about the direction it was going and that his name would be tarnished.

Thornton didn’t return a request for comment.

A faction of the elected board members, that includes the former vice-chair Edward Burroughs, has continued to expand over the years and now holds the majority.