Lawmakers OK Bills to Change Baltimore School Board, Give Free Rides to Students

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh would have more authority over picking city school board members under legislation passed Saturday by the Maryland General Assembly.

Pugh made seeking that authority a top priority this year, saying it would help her more quickly make necessary changes to the city school system.

According to The Baltimore Sun,

The bill, granted final approval by the House of Delegates Saturday, would remove the governor from the process of selecting and removing members of the city school board.

The law now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. He has not said whether he plans to sign it. If he did, it would end years of effort by city lawmakers to return full control of the school system to city officials for the first time in 20 years.

Also on Saturday, the General Assembly approved legislation to give free bus rides to qualified Baltimore students for three years beginning in July 2018.

Those students already receive some free bus rides from the Maryland Transit Administration, but the bill would expand the hours and relieve the school system of the $6 million annual cost of providing the rides.

The proposed law is a piece of a multi-part plan to give more money to the city school system, which faced a $130 million budget gap for the next school year before state and city officials kicked in money to help close the gap.

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