Elected officials in District 12 (State Senator Clarence Lam, State Delegates Eric Ebersole, Jessica Feldmark and Terri Hill) have been active in the election cycle for Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) in 2020.

Yesterday Matthew Molyett (HoCoBOE candidate in District 1) reported that all elected officials from District 12 have publicly endorsed his candidacy for HoCoBOE in District 1.

During the Primary Jen Mallo (current HoCoBOE member and candidate for HoCoBOE in District 4) had reported the endorsement from the elected officials in District 12.

Endorsements are not the only way elected officials from District 12 are weighing in on this election cycle…they are also providing money:

In the campaign finance reports from May 2020: Delegate Terri Hill transferred $1,000 of campaign money to Jen Mallo. Senator Clarance Lam transferred $1,000 of campaign money to Jen Mallo.

In the campaign finance reports from August 2020: Delegate Terri Hill transferred $1,000 of campaign money to Matthew Molyett.

I can honestly say that I have never seen elected officials weigh in this much in local Board of Education races in any recent election cycle.

As a note – I have not seen public endorsements of HoCoBOE candidates from elected officials from District 9, 9a, 9b or 13 up to this point in 2020. I also did not list individual contributions from elected officials to candidate campaigns in this article…but there has been that as well in 2020 (to be honest that always happens…either just through straight up donations or though the attendance of campaign events via tickets).

Elected officials from District 12 were very involved in introducing legislation related to the school system during the 2020 General Session…here is some of the school related legislation put forward in 2020 by members of District 12:

  • Howard County – Board of Education – Redetermination of Geographic Attendance Areas, Ho. Co. 1-20 PASSED BY THE DELEGATION AS AMENDED (2/5/20) HB1511
    By: Senator Lam
  • Howard County – Residential Property and New Home Construction Advertisements – School District Information, Ho. Co. 2-20 PASSED BY THE DELEGATION AS AMENDED (1/29/20) HB826
    By: Delegate Ebersole
  • Howard County – School District Boundary Changes and Sales of Residential Real Property – Notices, Ho. Co. 4-20 PASSED BY THE DELEGATION AS AMENDED (1/22/20) HB1521
    By: Senator Lam
  • Howard County – Board of Education – Reporting on Demographics and Reduction of Academic Disparities, Ho. Co. 6-20 DID NOT PASS DELEGATION (2/5/20)
    By: Delegate Hill
  • Howard County – Public Campaign Financing – Board of Education, Ho. Co. 22-20
    By: Senator Lam
  • Howard County – Public Schools – Reporting of School Data, Ho. Co. 23-20 DID NOT PASS DELEGATION (2/5/20)
    By: Delegate Feldmark
  • Howard County Board of Education – School Redistricting Plan – Testimony, Ho. Co. 41-20
    By: Senator Lam

You can view all of the legislation proposed during the 2020 General Session from Howard County here:  https://www.howardcountymd.gov/About-HoCo/State-Delegation/2020-Session-Proposed-Local-Legislation

Remember….there is nothing legally wrong with elected officials weighing in on local non-partisan elections. The question is was this what we all expected the Board of Education to be when we moved from countywide races to races by council districts? I know I did not see this coming.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this influence has the potential to make our board more political than it is today? Is it good for our local board to become more political or does this concern you a bit?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Scott E

3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s another disappointing example of politics invading one of the few things we all agree on, and that is our kids getting an education. Yes, I know, I’ve read another local blogger saying there’s supposedly always been politics and then citing Betsy DeVos. Well, it’s a conscious decision to make the BoE political and make it a proxy war against Trump because we can’t directly impact him, no one forces us to take a cue from “the national stage” and apply it locally. Also, despite how much my fellow Democrats like to think all of Howard County thinks like them, they don’t, and thank goodness, because diversity of thought makes us stronger not weaker. As such the goal of candidates such as Matthew Molyett should not be brazen declarations they are #TheOnlyD1Democrat. How is that showing collaboration skills when, at the outset, he seeks to alienate a significant sector of the electorate? Candidates should instead be showing–if the actually can–that they have demonstrated significant involvement in the educational community of Howard County. Tweeting generic bromides on progressive issues that are essentially retreads from a quixotic Congressional campaign proves nothing about how someone will serve on the BoE. Years of service in our community does, something his opponent is certainly not lacking.

  2. Those bills regarding real estate ads make no sense. They try to shield buyers from knowing what schools a house is zoned for.

    Someone like me will still look up the polygons, but it is insane to think the zoned schools do not matter to prospective buyers. Why make them more difficult to look up, as if they dont or should not matter?

    People (rightly) consider zoned schools when making their largest purchase. To pretend otherwise or hide that information is misinformed, and wrong.

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