Zirkin Not Wavering From Partially-Elected School Board

Senator says "compromise is not a dirty word" but he wants "a true democratic process."

With all the talk about compromise on a plan to change how the members of the county school board are selected, one thing has not changed:

Sen. Bobby Zirkin plans to introduce a bill that creates a partially-elected board in Baltimore County.

"Compromise is not a dirty word to me in politics," Zirkin said. "But any compromise bill has to have the baseline of a true democratic process."

Zirkin's comments come days after reports that County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is talking to state lawmakers from the county about a compromise.

"We're having conversations about [a compromise]," Zirkin said last week. "I'm always looking at ways to compromise but no compromise is acceptable if that doesn't give county residents some right to vote for school board members."

But some took that conciliatory tone to mean that Zirkin was giving in on an effort he's been involved in for more than six years.

"The reason I am striking a conciliatory tone is that this is the first time the county executive is talking about this," Zirkin said.

The plan Kamenetz is apparently discussing with legislators includes the creation of some form of nominating process that includes a commission similar to one that vets judicial appointments. Members of the commission would be selected either by the governor or county executive. Once appointed, members would have to stand for retention election in the next election.

"The ideas being floated are interesting to talk about," Zirkin said. "But I'm strongly in favor of a hybrid board if we can get that done. I'm not wavering from that position at all."

In October, Zirkin said he was planning on pre-filing the same bill that nearly passed the General Assembly last year.

That's still the plan, the senator said Tuesday.

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ccbcstudentmember December 04, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Thank you Senator Zirkin. A voice of reason.
FIFA December 04, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Senator Zirkin, dead wrong here. Are we trying to be like Louisiana? Start teaching creationism, that is what you are asking for and will get. No thank you sir.
Robert Frisch December 05, 2012 at 03:29 AM
There is no realistic possibility that a partially elected school board from Baltimore County would ever support teaching creationism.
countywide December 05, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I remember reading that over 95% of school boards across the country have either a fully elected or part-elected school board. Is there a big wave of creationism being taught across our entire country that I missed out on? Sir. Ridiculous comment. How exactly is it a good thing for our governor to put in political cronies to our school board? Why don't you trust the voters of our county? Or are we different than the rest of the country and the rest of the state?
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FIFA December 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Countywide, I have consistently opposed an elected school board. I have also stated that the governor should not be appointing the board either. The board should be appointed by the County Executive subject to the approval of the County Council. In the South a large effort has been underway to change textbooks to reflect religious thought because zealots find a position of power. The only qualification to run for a school board would be age and paying the filing fee. Look at our elected officials, they have the same requirement and what we have is a large amount of uneducated unqualified representatives. Do you really think any significant vetting of a school board candidate would occur? Of course not. Down ballot, off year election will lead to incompetent and unqualified people on the board. Not for me.
FIFA December 05, 2012 at 10:25 PM
PS, was the "ridiculous" really necessary? About the same as me calling you an uninformed fool, eh?
Countywide December 06, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Only the county executive and people who work for him think the school board should be a tool of the county executive. You have shown your stripes sir. Why bother having a school board at all if the county executive appoints them? Why not not just let out czar make the decisions without the charade. Again, ridiculous. Thank you to our legislators for being a voice of reason.
FIFA December 06, 2012 at 05:23 AM
So you don't like KK? Then vote him out. Executives at all levels of government appoint people all the time. It is ignorant people like you that reinforce my position. People like you should not ever be on a school board. You would have a chance if there was an election. You have zero chance of being appointed which is a good thing. PS, I didn't vote for KK and don't believe he is a good county executive either.
Arbutus Town Crier December 07, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Trickle down government control is better for the people, government can have more control small little increments at a time. Who said trickle down effect don’t work?
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