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School board must defer to superintendent on schedules [Letter]

Your editorial regarding Baltimore County schools that references my letter to the Hereford High School parents who oppose the high school schedule change ignores the primary thrust of my communication ("Signs of trouble?" Feb. 25). Maryland law sets out the duties and responsibilities of the county superintendent of schools, as well as the function of the county school board. The matter of class schedules is undoubtedly an operational/administrative issue for the superintendent and not a governance issue for the school board. The board has chosen not to disregard the law and order the superintendent to revise his decision to adopt a uniform schedule in Baltimore County high schools for the 2014-2015 academic year.

This is not to say that the board is disinterested or uninvolved. We have encouraged, indeed insisted, that the superintendent communicate with the affected parents to discuss this issue. Indeed, last week the superintendent met with representatives of the Hereford parents group and, as a result thereof, has advised them of the adjustments and flexibility to which he has agreed in the implementation of the new schedule. It is hoped that these compromises proposed by the superintendent will ease the transition.

The Board of Education of Baltimore County is a board of governance. While we respect and choose to honor the provisions of law that set forth our function, and that of Mr. Dance, we demand that decisions impacting our students, parents, teachers and staff be made with appropriate input from these stakeholders and are communicated effectively to them.

Larry Schmidt, Towson

The writer is president of the Baltimore County Board of Education.

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