If you have been following the Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) during the redistricting process you probably know what happened on Thursday night: There was some drama around one motion…moving Polygons 132, 1132, 2132 (Clemens Crossing Elementary School send to Bryant Woods Elementary School) failed the first time around…then a very quick recess was called…and then it passed. Here is a video of what happened:
Now according to the Baltimore Sun “Howard County school board violated state open meetings law during redistricting vote, complaint alleges”
So did the HoCoBOE violate the open meeting law? I am not a lawyer and not an expert in this field…but dang…watching the video above…it might have happened.
So if it did…what does that mean…well according to the Baltimore Sun:
Agencies found by the compliance board to be in violation of the act are required to publicly acknowledge the violation at the next public meeting after the compliance board’s issued opinion, according to the act.
The public body may also be subject to a civil penalty fine if it willfully meets privately with knowledge the meeting violates the act.
Now is this the end of the world…of course not…but here is why it is important (at least I think so)…if a lawsuit is brought forward by those “opposing the plan“…this now gives them a big win and precedent to start that process. They can use this fact and build their case around it.
No matter what side you are on…it is hard to look at the video above and not believe that HoCoBOE member Coombs was pressured or convinced in some way to change her vote on polygons 132, 1132, 2132 in a back room move…and that is not how things are supposed to happen.
Of course I was not at the meeting in person and was not in person during the recess so I have no direct first hand knowledge to what happened…I only have the public video to watch…so now we wait to see what happens going forward.
As much as many people want redistricting to be done…there is an outside chance this is not a done deal yet.