Concerns raised over Kirwan implementation board nominees as selection deadline approaches
MARYLAND – The deadline of October 1st is fast approaching for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to make selections for the Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB). The board will oversee and implement changes required by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation. The bill came as a result of the Kirwan Commission.
But, some are worried that only a small portion of Maryland will end up being represented on that board of nine memers. Nominations for the AIB only include members from four of Maryland’s 24 counties. “There’s no representation from the Eastern Shore, none from Western Maryland, none from Southern Maryland. It’s only the four major jurisdictions; Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Montgomery County,” said State Senator Mary Beth Carozza.
Governor Hogan, who is tasked with picking the final members, slammed the slate of candidates he received. The governor taking to Facebook, writing, “There is growing bipartisan outrage at the lack of regional balance on the Accountability and Implementation Board.” The governor continued, “It may as well be called the ‘Unaccountability Board.’”
Sen. Carozza is just one local leader who is part of that bipartisan call for more names representative of the entire state. “This accountability board has a lot of power. They are overseeing billions of dollars of education funding, and it’s going to impact our daily students, on a daily basis,” said Sen. Carozza. “I would like to think that this is such a reasonable request that we’re making – a bipartisan request that we’re making, that’s coming from the governor, the chief executive of Prince George’s County, Latino organizations, and others – that they’ll take a look at it and say ‘You know, we can add a couple of additional names.'”
And as local educators explain, educating children in a rural setting is vastly different from schooling in a metropolitan area. “One of the big issues we saw during last school year and during the pandemic was virtual education. The availability of services, broadband, reliable power, all those kinds of things,” said Somerset County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Gaddis.
Dr. Gaddis tells 47ABC the lack of Eastern Shore representation could leave them behind as the four counties represented move forward. “We do have the same problems, but they’re handled differently based on your area. So, having no representation, or potentially no one who understands that, is very concerning,” he said.
Earlier this month, Governor Hogan requested that the selection committee send him a new slate of candidates. However, Chair Shanaysha Sauls denied his request, saying that she felt the board had properly fulfilled their duties. Committee documents also reveal that out of the 43 applicants, none lived on the Eastern Shore.