Referendum petition drive targets Prince George's schools takeover bill

A signature-collecting petition drive has started in Prince George's County to try to force County Executive Rushern Baker III's impending school takeover to a 2014 referendum.

The Citizens for an Elected Board has to collect 8,000 signatures by May 31 to stop the law passed by the Maryland General Assembly last month approving Baker's takeover of Prince George's County Public Schools. The law is set to go into effect June 1.

If CEB collects 25,000 signatures by June 30, including the original 8,000, the law would be taken to referendum in the 2014 general election. The law could not go into effect while awaiting a referendum.

The General Assembly in April approved a bill that would allow Baker to appoint the school system's next superintendent, select the Board of Education's chair and vice-chair and appoint three additional members. The County Council can make one appointment as well. Since the bill's passing, all three superintendent finalists withdrew from consideration, and Interim Superintendent Alvin Crawley announced his resignation effective June 3.

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