3 Minutes April 20, 2021

Good evening, Chair Scott, Vice Chair Henn, Dr. Williams, and members of the Board:

Tonight, I would like to speak with you about Governance or Guidance versus Operations or Management, as it relates to the function of this Board. I will reference the Board of Education of Baltimore County Board Handbook, last revised in 2015.

I cite in pertinent part, sections, and components of the Board Handbook to highlight the concept of Governance versus Operations.


The BOARD OF EDUCATION OF BALTIMORE COUNTY guides the Baltimore County Public School System…

The Board’s Vision

The Board of Education, as the governing body for the County’s school system, will seek in every way to make the school system among the highest performing school systems in the nation…

The Board’s Mission

The Board, as the governing body of the school system, fulfills its mission by adopting policies …

The Board’s Norms of Behavior

Annually following its summer retreat, the Board will adopt norms of behavior and conduct. The Board’s most current norms are attached as Appendix A.

1. Practice Governance—The role of the Board is to govern through policy, budget adoption, approval of school boundaries, and hiring the superintendent.

This quote is from the Handbook:

“The Board’s responsibility is not to manage the school system or influence the daily operation of the school system. The Board will hold the superintendent accountable for the successful day-to-day management of the school system.”

I bring this up tonight because there continues to be instances where this Board has crossed the line from governance to operations. This causes a great deal of anxiety and frustration for administrators, teachers, and support personnel who are then required to pivot after preparations and plans have been designed and developed by the System. And over the last year, every single employee has been asked to pivot enough to last a lifetime.

You have asked the Superintendent to plan for the in-person return of students for 4 days per week. He and his team will share that plan with you tonight, including the schedule for that return.

CASE encourages you to do your due diligence in reviewing and questioning the plan, which is what you were elected or appointed to do. But please let the people who are charged with the day-to-day operations of the System do their jobs. That is what your Handbook, and common sense, prescribes.

Thank you,
Tom DeHart
Executive Director, CASE