With a unanimous 11-0 vote the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee passed SB145, the bill enabling us to vote on whether we will have a fully elected, hybrid, or appointed Board of Education here in Wicomico County.
Yet the bill didn’t quite pass unscathed. There was a minor committee amendment but it could have some impact at the ballot box come November. In the revised language, the first ballot question would now read:
Question 1: “For the current system, a Board of Education with Seven Members Appointed by the Governor”;
The underline in this case denotes language that was added. I suspect that could goose the total for that question a little bit; of course, if people really don’t like the current system they’ll now know what not to vote for so I suppose this is a double-edged sword.
Remaining amendments eliminated a redundancy in the law and extended the period to make appointments as needed from 30 to 60 days after a vacancy. All in all, though, the bill made it through the process reasonably well.
It’s also worth pointing out that the House version of the bill, sponsored jointly by the Wicomico County delegation, was introduced as HB1352. While it’s slated to have a hearing March 15, that slot could be filled by the House hearing of the Senate bill after it passes. Interestingly, the House bill is not considered a crossfile of the Senate bill because it was introduced with language similar to the Senate’s amended version regarding the ballot question. (It may be the House committee that makes the change and conforms with the Senate version or allows one body to recede since the difference is minor.)
It’s an encouraging beginning, but there is still a long way to go.