Prince George’s Co. schools chief hits back at governor’s call for his dismissal

WASHINGTON — One day after Maryland’s governor said the Prince George’s County School system’s CEO should be fired, the school chief responded.

Kevin Maxwell said he was caught off-guard by Hogan’s comments.

“I don’t know where they came from,” Maxell said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve been doing here in Prince George’s County.”

He suggested that Gov. Larry Hogan’s comments were rooted in politics.

“You know I’m not running for an office. I’m trying to run a school system,” Maxwell said.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, a Democrat and Maxwell’s boss, is running for office. Baker hopes to get his party’s nomination to run against Hogan, a Republican, who is running for re-election in a state where Democrats still outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1.

But Baker could be vulnerable on the question of education: He pushed for legislation giving him the ability to hire and fire the school system’s CEO. Baker has authority to appoint some of the members of the local board of education, as well.

Hogan has hit hard on the problems uncovered in a state audit after several members of the board called for Maxwell’s resignation, and members of the House Delegation asked for an investigation. Citing criticism Maxwell has received from inside Prince George’s County, Hogan referred to the concerns voiced by the Prince George’s County chapter of the NAACP.

“The NAACP has come out for his removal,” Hogan said.

And just last month, the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association issued a vote of no confidence in the structure of the current county board of education.

Maxwell said it wasn’t clear the governor had read the audit from the state Board of Education. He repeated his prior insistence that while the State Board of Education found serious deficiencies with record keeping and concerns that there was inadequate documentation connected to hundreds of diplomas that had been awarded, there was no finding of a systemwide directive to commit grade fraud.

Maxwell suggested that the governor should pay a visit to Prince George’s County Public Schools. Baker said Hogan had not visited a single county school since being elected.

On Thursday, after checking, the governor’s Deputy Communications Director Amelia Chassé stated that the governor had visited Beacon Heights Elementary School in March last year, and that Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford had visited “at least a half a dozen Prince George’s County schools, including Charles Carroll Middle School this past September.”

Hogan repeated his assertion that Maxwell should be removed, in an interview with WTOP.

“He needs to go, he needs to resign or the county executive needs to fire him,” Hogan said.

While he continues to serve at the pleasure of the Prince George’s County Executive — who appointed him to a second four-year term, Maxwell said he would keep doing his job. “I came back to Prince George’s County to try to fix issues.”

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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