Open Letter to The Charles County Board of Education

March 3, 2021

Latina L. Wilson, Chairwoman
Virginia R. McGraw, Vice chairwoman
Jennifer S. Abell
Tajala Battle-Lockhart
Elizabeth C. Brown
David Hancock
Michael Lukas
Dr. Kimberly Hill, Superintendent of Schools

Dear Charles County Board of Education Members:

On Monday March 1st, 2021 a member of the Charles County Board of Education sent out a message to members of the Charles County Retired School Personnel Association and other interested parties. The message asserted that my office had solicited no input from “the Board of Education or citizens of Charles County” on legislation surrounding the Charles County – Board of Education – Membership Alterations, formally known as SB 749.

This is simply not true. As a public servant I strive to include the voices and informed opinions of my constituents and those expressly impacted by my work. On several occasions, specifically, December 17th and December 28th 2020, my staff contacted various CCBOE members including Dr. Hill for a meeting to discuss legislation for the 2021 session. Both requests went unanswered. This was extremely disheartening to our office as we have worked closely with Dr. Hill in the past as recently as October 2020, when she was a great help in facilitating the “D28 Business Town Hall w/CCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Hill” event.

Several individuals and organizations did respond to this invitation and offered their voice. I have met with the Charles County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People frequently. Additionally, the Southern Marylanders for Racial Equality have worked with my office to support this initiative. These groups specifically support the interests of minority communities who are repeatedly excluded from bodies of power.
On Wednesday January 6th, 2021 I participated in the Education Association of Charles County’s Virtual Session event. During that event the initiatives outlined in SB 749 were discussed and commented on. As this session was virtual and possibly had a recorded component, I encourage interested parties to review the intense discussion of this initiative as it occurred on that date.

I urge the members of the Board of Education to publicly attest to the fact that our office has attempted to include them on many of the pieces of legislation that we prepare. I would also charge them to have a meeting with interested parties about the true benefit of the legislation. In multiple written documents including a letter from the Charles County Board of Education on February 23rd, 2021, SB 749 has been referred to as having changes that are welcome to many voters. In addition, the aforementioned letter states that the Board of Education is not opposed to the substance of the bill.

With all of this information being considered, it is time for the blame and unproductive finger pointing to end. There is a path forward for consideration of SB 749 and the cross filed legislation HB 1060. The bill will be heard on Wednesday March 3rd, 2021. I encourage all interested parties to watch the hearing and send letters with possible amendments to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. This body, the Maryland General Assembly, is open to the input of the people and encourages public engagement during the legislative process. Hopefully, we will gain understanding about the intention for this bill, especially the invaluable input of informed voices.