PG County lawmakers consider schools takeover plan

Residents made sure their opinions were heard at a public hearing Monday night on a plan to take power away from the Prince George's County School Board and give it to the county executive.

County Executive Rushern Baker wants to be given authority over the school system's budget and the superintendent. The school system is searching for a new superintendent and has seen the position change hands five times in the last 10 years.

Baker says the move would increase accountability and speed up improvements in student performance.

"A child can't wait a single day for a quality education. That's what this is about," Baker told ABC7 outside the public hearing, which was held next to the state capitol building.

Supporters of Baker believe the school board is not providing the leadership needed to help Prince George's County catch up to some other Maryland school systems, which are higher performing.

"Where we are right now is not where we need to be, and I have not seen a plan by the current school board to get us where we need to go," said parent Curtis Valentine.

But some say Baker put his idea forward way too late in the General Assembly's session. Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn at midnight this coming Monday night.

"There is room for improvement, but this particular bill at the last minute is really too fast," said former Prince George's school parent and special needs advocate Debbie Sell.

Some say transferring power to Baker doesn't address the root problems that are causing Prince George's to lag behind on student achievement.

But others say the current system is not working, and they're willing to give Baker's plan a try.

Some lawmakers have seemed willing to give Baker power over the superintendent but not the school system's budget.

But the details could change before any final bill is voted on.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.