Editorial: School board should be involved with setting the school system's legislative priorities

Given the irrelevancy of the Harford County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, it probably doesn't much matter what's presented to the county's representatives to Annapolis.

With that said, the way the Harford County Board of Education's legislative agenda was put together recently is a real head scratcher. Kathy Carmello, who is facilitator of governmental relations for Harford County Public Schools, presented the school board's 2013 legislative agenda to the school board at its Nov. 19 meeting.

When questioned by Board President Rick Grambo, Carmello acknowledged that neither school board members nor the public had any input in the document.

That's wrong. No matter how pro forma the process might be and no matter how many years of "we've always done it this way" there may have been, putting together the school system's legislative agenda should involve more than just Carmello and others from within the school system.

The legislative agenda is a compilation of the school system's positions on any proposed education-related legislation that might come up during the 90-day legislative session. If anything cries out for the school board to have an active role in, it should be where its members stand on the issues.

As we understand it, Carmello is essentially the school system's legislative lobbyist, hired to carry the board's program to legislators for their input, not to draw up her program and hand it off to the board as a done deal.

The school system's legislative agenda should never have been done without input from the school board and the public and it should certainly never be done that way again.

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