2 State Delegates Propose Change in How School Board Members are Elected

Maryland Delegates David Moon and Vaughn Stewart are working on legislation that would add an additional member to the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education and change the the way voters choose those members.

Under the current system, five members must reside in a district, two can reside anywhere in the county and one must be a student. The five district members are elected-county wide.

Moon would prefer voters within one of the five districts be the only ones permitted to cast votes in that district, which is how the county council operates.

Stewart supports Moon’s proposed legislation but wants to add another member to the board, going from the current eight to nine.

If both bills are adopted, Stewart believes there will be more robust discussions and fewer constantly unanimous votes by board of election members.

The five members who would represent specific geographic areas would need to weigh the concerns of their individual districts. Currently, each board member represents all of the county, thus making it harder for minority voices and interests to be heard, Stewart said.

“You get a lot more parochialism” when a school board member represents a particular area, he said.

Adding a ninth, at-large, member also would alleviate the problem of tie votes, he said, adding, “Apologies to soccer fans, but ties are bad.”

Stewart called the ideas “a very common sense proposal.”

Both bills, as well as many others, are on the Jan. 14 Montgomery County House Delegation agenda. County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Gabe Albornoz will be briefed on the county delegation proposals at that time.

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