Prince George’s Co. school board approves new legal representation as chair continues fight

In the first meeting since Chair Juanita Miller said she’d fight her removal, the Prince George’s County Board of Education voted to select new legal representation for board business.

During its meeting Thursday, the school board approved a five-year, $765,000 agreement with the law firm of Shipley and Horn.

In most school districts, a vote on choosing a law firm would fail to qualify as news, but fights over hiring legal counsel is what led to the bitter wrangling among Prince George’s County school board members, and prompted the State Board of Education to notify Miller they’d voted to charge her with misconduct in office.

Miller recused herself from Thursday’s vote.

The state board sent a letter to Miller on May 31, explaining that its members agreed to issue charges against her, including willful neglect of duty and incompetence.

The letter states the charges stemmed — in part — from Miller’s failure to sign a contract for a law firm after her colleagues on the county’s school board approved the decision.

State Board officials explained in the letter that the charges were also connected to Miller’s decision to engage the services of a different law firm for board business without the approval of members of the local school board.

Miller called the charges against her “frivolous” and has engaged lawyers to represent her. Miller posted a video statement on the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ website, making clear she had no intention of stepping down.

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks reiterated Tuesday her call for Miller to resign. Alsobrooks, who appointed Miller in 2021, does not have the authority to remove her under Maryland law.

In a letter to Miller last week, Alsobrooks said that her resignation would help prepare the board to comply with changes in state law. Legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly will allow school board members to choose who serves as chair beginning in December.

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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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