Voters to decide on 4 seats on Prince George’s Co. school board

WASHINGTON — Prince George’s County voters may spend this spring and early summer doing some homework: researching the candidates in the local school board race. Seats in Districts 2, 3, 6 and 9 are up for grabs.

The school board and outgoing schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell have been the subjects of criticism from the Maryland governor’s office — Gov. Larry Hogan called for the CEO to be fired — to the NAACP to parents.

At a recent Prince George’s County school board meeting, parent Phyllis Wright told members, “It’s election year — and I hope and pray that the right people get in!”

Noting that four of the 14 seats were up for grabs in the upcoming election, she told them, “Some of you all — will be gone!”

The primary is June 26, and early voting starts June 14.

Members on the board of education face a number of issues; among them, the fact that whoever is elected county executive will select a new school CEO — and it’s the next school board that will work out the details of that appointment and ultimately approve the selection.

Maxwell announced he was leaving after repeated calls for his departure. The terms of his exit are still in the works, something that also frustrates some parents such as Wright, who mocked the school system’s use of the word “transitioning” to describe the exit process.

“Transition — what? Transition outta here!” she said.

At its May 22 meeting, the Maryland State Board of Education voted to continue to monitor the school system’s progress. Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon outlined the areas getting attention, telling the board, “We will focus on the following areas in the audit: attendance, grading, grade changes, credit recovery programs, promotion and graduation, and records access and control.”

The same firm that performed the audit in 2017 has been approved to carry out the second audit, which is expected to last six months.

Parents have said they want added transparency from the local board of education and the next CEO. There are concerns about facilities, academics and equity — which community gets a new school vs. what schools could close due to shrinking enrollment.

At a recent school board meeting, some parents complained about failing facilities with bathrooms that didn’t work and vermin in the buildings. Others celebrated language immersion programs and new murals in their school.

See who’s running in the county at Maryland’s State Board of Elections website.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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