Anne Arundel County executive asks school board member to resign

County executive Steve Schuh listens as Anne Arundel County Schools Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto announces the new budget proposal to the Board of Education. After the meeting, he asked board member Tom Frank to resign.

County Executive Steve Schuh has asked school board member Tom Frank to resign and accept an appointment to the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp. board of directors.

Schuh repeated his request Wednesday when Frank approached him after schools Superintendent George Arlotto presented his budget to the Board of Education in Annapolis. Frank offered to help Schuh with his goals.


"The best thing is to resign and join our business board. That's the best thing. I've told you that three times. You won't listen to me," Schuh said.

Friday, Schuh confirmed that he has asked Frank several times to move from the school board to economic development.


"Tom's a businessman," he said. "I think he would be more effective on the economic development board."

The school board meets twice a month and votes on school policies and budgets. The economic development board advocates for businesses and meets four times a year.

Schuh has demonstrated great interest in the school board, appointing former board member Amalie Brandenburg as his education adviser and liaison to the board. He has advocated for the appointment by the governor of several recent members, and is a proponent of replacing the current appointment process with an elected school board.

Over the next several weeks, Frank and other board members will consider the $1.16 billion operating budget proposed by Arlotto. The budget is 3.8 percent more than the current school budget.

Once the board approves a final spending plan, it goes to Schuh, who must include it within his overall county budget when he submits it to the County Council. It is the single largest portion of the county budget.

Schuh and Arlotto have worked to reduce conflict over the budget process, but there have been other disagreements. Earlier this year, Schuh challenged the board decision to distribute guidelines on transgender students and bathrooms.

In the fall, Frank sent Gov. Larry Hogan a letter of resignation. The letter was rescinded the next day.

Hogan's spokesman declined to share or discuss the letter, citing privacy requirements for personnel matters.


Frank did not share his reasons for sending the letter, but said he intends to stay on the school board. He said after his conversation with Schuh that he is not interested in the economic development board.

Board members have said they were notified of Frank's resignation and the subsequent letter rescinding it.

A request by The Capital for board emails regarding Frank's tenure, filed under the Maryland Public Information Act, yielded four in which members discussed Frank's absence from the meetings in the fall.

Frank missed three board meetings from June to November, including the meeting when the board voted to reduce spring break to meet Hogan's order that schools delay the start of the school year until after Labor Day. Frank had attended every board meeting from the beginning of his term in June 2015 until May.

The lawyer who reviewed The Capital's request withheld 62 emails because they contained legal inquiries and advice. Many of them are duplicates, according to the written response to the request.

In one email released, board Vice President Julie Hummer wrote to board President Stacy Korbelak, stating that they should document Frank's absences and call his daughter and state Sen. Ed Reilly, R-Crofton.


Reilly this week said board members referred to him because he has been Frank's neighbor for decades and recommended that Hogan appoint Frank.

Reilly declined to give any further details about the matter.

Hummer said in the emails that the board documents attendance for all members because they can be dismissed for missing too many meetings.

The state superintendent and governor can remove a board member for failing to attend meetings, according to the school board handbook.

Hummer said the board sent a letter to Frank to stress the importance of attending the meetings.

Korbelak did not respond to a request for comment.


Hogan appointed Frank, a retired engineer, as an at-large member of the school board in June 2015. Voters approved him in a retention election in November.

Frank founded a biomedical engineering company and ran it for 30 years, resulting in grants from National Institutes of Health, several publications of scientific articles, and U.S. and international patents.

Frank got involved in Anne Arundel public schools when his children began school.

Staff writer Amanda Yeager contributed to this article.