State school board dis­misses 4 ap­peals from Queen Anne’s

Record Observer - - News - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The Mary­land State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion has dis­missed three ap­peals con­cern­ing the de­ci­sion of the Queen Anne’s County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion not to re­new Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Carol Wil­liamson’s con­tract or of­fer her an in­terim con­tract, ac­cord­ing to a mem­o­ran­dum pub­lished by lo­cal school board mem­ber An­nette Dimag­gio on her Face­book page Thurs­day, April 27. The state board also dis­missed a fourth ap­peal re­gard­ing the hir­ing of at­tor­ney Su­sanne Hen­ley.

The mem­o­ran­dum from the state board, dated April 27, states, “State Board precedent re­quired dis­missal of those ap­peals as a mat­ter of law be­cause the only per­son with le­gal stand­ing to chal­lenge a per­son­nel de­ci­sion is the per­son who is di­rectly and ad­versely af­fected by the de­ci­sion. These or­ders of the State Board may be ap­pealed to the cir­cuit court.”

The mem­o­ran­dum goes on to say the state board did not act on re­quests to re­move cer­tain lo­cal board mem­bers, but that it would ask the board mem­bers in ques­tion to pro­vide a re­sponse to the al­le­ga­tions made against them.

Bill Rein­hard, act­ing direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Mary­land State De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, pro­vided copies of the board’s April 26 or­ders to the Record Ob­server Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The ap­peals con­cern­ing Wil­liamson were filed by (1) Laura Michelle John­son and Holly Scott, par­ents of lo­cal stu­dents; (2) An­gela Holocker, Mat­a­peake Mid­dle School prin­ci­pal; and (3) Brian Wright, an­other par­ent.

On the first two ap­peals, the state board found the ap­pel­lants lacked stand­ing to bring the ap­peal, not be­ing the per­son di­rectly af­fected by the per­son­nel de­ci­sion.

In both or­ders, Md. School Board Pres­i­dent Guf­frie M. Smith Jr. wrote, “Suf­fice it to say, the lo­cal board’s de­ci­sion has led to an out­pour­ing of sup­port for the lo­cal su­per­in­ten­dent and great praise of her ac­com­plish­ments dur­ing her ten­ure. It has caused sig­nif­i­cant con­tention in the school com­mu­nity. Sig­nif­i­cant con­tention be­tween a school com­mu­nity and its lo­cal board is not usu­ally a har­bin­ger of a good ed­u­ca­tion en­vi­ron­ment.

“Yet, the role of this Board in re­solv­ing this is­sue is ex­ceed­ingly lim­ited. The de­ci­sions made by the lo­cal board are per­son­nel de­ci­sions.”

In the or­der dis­miss­ing Holocker’s ap­peal, the state board noted it is sep­a­rately con­sid­er­ing her re­quests to re­move three of the five lo­cal board mem­bers from of­fice.

Wright’s ap­peal ar­rived April 2, 31 days after the March 2 an­nounce­ment by the lo­cal board, and was dis­missed as un­timely — hav­ing ar­rived a day too late for con­sid­er­a­tion.

The ap­peal of Hen­ley’s hir­ing was filed by lo­cal par­ent Laura Michelle John­son, and, again, the state board found John­son lacked stand­ing to bring the ap­peal.

State school board mem­ber An­drew R. Smar­ick, who is from Queen Anne’s County, re­cused him­self in all four cases. State board mem­ber Madhu Sidhu, of Kent County, dis­sented in the de­ci­sions on Holocker’s ap­peal and on John­son’s ap­peal re­gard­ing Hen­ley.

In all four cases, the state board told ap­pel­lants, “The proper rem­edy for re­lief … lies with the elec­toral process.”

DR. CAROL WIL­LIAMSON

AN­NETTE DIMAG­GIO

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