ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today vetoed three pieces of legislation passed during the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly that weaken accountability in Maryland schools: Senate Bill 739 – State Board of Education – Membership – Teachers and Parent; House Bill 808 – Collective Bargaining – Education – Supervisory Personnel; and House Bill 643/Senate Bill 678 – State Department of Education – Employment Categories and Practices.

During the 2018 legislative session, in addition to providing record funding for K-12 public schools and enacting legislation to increase education spending by more than $4.4 billion over the next decade by ensuring all casino revenues go toward schools, Governor Hogan proposed common sense legislation to increase accountability by creating an independent Investigator General to look into allegations of wrongdoing in schools. Unfortunately, despite demands for increased transparency and oversight from students, parents, and communities across the state, the legislature did not act on the governor’s proposal and instead passed retributive, tone-deaf legislation that gives special interests and lobbyists greater control over the education system and erodes accountability standards.

“These three bills are a crude attempt to accomplish two things: dilute the authority of the Board of Education by packing it with appointees that represent the interest of lobbyists rather than those of teachers, parents, administrators or students; and, these bills seek to prevent the Maryland State Department of Education – a body that is already insulated from political influence – from removing high-level employees who are ineffectual, incompetent, or who simply aren’t getting the job done,” said Governor Hogan in his veto message. “It is shocking to me, as well as the citizens of Maryland, the lengths the General Assembly will go to to weaken accountability that will hurt the performance of our school children.”

Governor Hogan vetoed Senate Bill 739 – State Board of Education – Membership – Teachers and Parent. Senate Bill 739 would have changed the process Maryland uses to select members to the State Board of Education, a move that would have diluted the independence of the State Board of Education by giving teacher unions control over two additional seats on the Board, and dictating that three seats be chosen by just two stakeholder groups, a move that would risk turning this critical policy-making body into a collection of special interest group representatives.

Governor Hogan also vetoed House Bill 643/Senate Bill 678 – State Department of Education – Employment Categories and Practices. This legislation would weaken the Maryland State Department of Education’s capacity to achieve the state’s educational goals – at a time when strengthening the performance of Maryland’s schools and students is more important than ever – by hindering the Department’s ability to compete in an already competitive job market and acquire talented employees.

Finally, Governor Hogan vetoed House Bill 808 – Collective Bargaining – Education – Supervisory Personnel. This legislation would remove local authority to determine who is classified as a “supervisory employee” and give authority over local school system organizational charts to the Public School Labor Relations Board. This new structure would prohibit school leadership from ensuring an efficient operation best suited for the needs of their local school system.

“These pieces of flawed legislation join the unfortunate litany of attempts by the General Assembly over the past four sessions to pass legislation to enhance the power of partisan special interests, while eliminating transparency and usurping accountability,” said Governor Hogan. “At a time when unethical behavior and mismanagement continue to hold our school systems back from serving school children, this sequence of bills that I am vetoing today seek to move Maryland in exactly the wrong direction. Instead, we need to be working together to restore accountability for our students, teachers, and families.”

Read the governor’s veto letter here.