- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2002

Prince George's County's new appointed school board members, named yesterday, said they will work without personal agendas to improve a school system held back by squabbling between the superintendent and the elected board.
"The new members are smart and will be able to tackle all the issues that face them without the rancor and obstacles of their predecessors," said Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry.
The county executive and Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Mr. Curry's predecessor, jointly appointed the nine members, who include four parents with children in the county public schools and one man who has a grandson in a county school.
Beatrice Tignor, a former state senator who lost a bid for county executive to Mr. Curry in 1994, was appointed board chairman. She said she is glad to have the budget expertise of Howard W. Stone Jr., a former chief administrative officer for the county under Mr. Curry.
"We plan to collaborate, cooperate and work assiduously," Mrs. Tignor said.
She said the members will meet to make some "unofficial decisions," probably tomorrow, the day the board takes office under a state law approved this spring.
It's clear the appointees who were not selected until Wednesday night will have to work hard and fast to accomplish a critical task: crafting a budget before the June 30 deadline.
"The budget is a blueprint for where they want to go," said school board staff director Roland H. Otey Jr.
Activists hoping to retain the elected board and the voters' right to choose them began a drive May 9 to collect more than 19,000 signatures for a countywide referendum, despite questions about whether the referendum could be petitioned as a local one.
To go forward, they had to collect a third of the signatures by yesterday and the rest by June 30.
Messages left for the group, called Citizens for an Elected Board, were not returned.
All nine appointees have management experience four in federal or local government agencies, two in the private sector, two in the private sector and one with church-affiliated programs that train and assist people with disabilities.
The new board will serve for four years before being replaced by an elected school board in 2006.
The appointees will be sworn in tomorrow at noon at the school administration's Sasscer Building in Upper Marlboro.
Mr. Otey said the new members may meet in executive session after they are installed.
In their first meeting, they will likely discuss whether to retain Superintendent Iris T. Metts, whose job also was dissolved under the restructuring measure. The superintendent position is being replaced by a chief executive officer.
Mrs. Metts has indicated interest in continuing, but would have to apply for the new post, which was created along with several new oversight positions, such as chief financial officer to tighten accountability in running the schools.
"At least for the next 30 days, it would be advisable to keep her," said Delegate Rushern L. Baker III, who led the county's House delegation in pushing for a partly appointed board and retaining Mrs. Metts for an interim period.
The county's senators pushed for ousting Mrs. Metts, who had sparred with the board over a number of fiscal matters, including bonuses for her deputies. This winter, Mrs. Metts kept her job only after state officials overturned a board vote to fire her.


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