Governor Larry Hogan today issued an executive order establishing the Office of Education Accountability to investigate allegations of fraud and mismanagement in Maryland’s public schools. The governor also vowed to reintroduce legislation in the 2019 session of the Maryland General Assembly to create an independent Investigator General to investigate allegations of fraud and mismanagement in Maryland’s public schools.
According to Governor Hogan, the Office of Education Accountability is an “independent watchdog unit responsible for analyzing, coordinating, and providing recommendations on matters including procurement improprieties, abuse, neglect, safety, grade fixing, graduation requirements, assessments, educational facilities, and budgetary issues.”
Hogan said the executive order is in response to widespread accountability concerns from parents, students, and teachers involving school systems across the state due to allegations of wrongdoing, corruption, and mismanagement. “There is a persistent and alarming lack of accountability in local school systems across the state, and it cannot, and will not be tolerated by this administration,” he said.
Valerie Radomsky, who currently serves as the chief education policy advisor to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, has been tapped to serve as Director of the Office of Education Accountability. Staff will be provided by the Governor’s Office for Children.
The executive order also directs the Governor’s Office for Children to establish an electronic tip system to allow anonymous reporting of concerns about Maryland’s public school systems.
Currently, school boards are held accountable for sound financial management through multiple annual audits and routine, comprehensive legislative audits. School systems not complying with state requirements can have state funding withheld by the State Superintendent.
Accountability in Education Act of 2019
Governor Hogan also announced that his administration will introduce the Accountability in Education Act of 2019 to create an Office of the State Education Investigator General, which will be an independent unit within the Maryland State Department of Education.
The Investigator General will be selected by a commission consisting of appointees by the Senate President, Speaker of the House, and the governor, and will be charged with investigating complaints of unethical, unprofessional, or illegal conduct relating to procurement, education assets, graduation requirements, grading, education facilities, and school budgets.