An influential member of the Montgomery County state legislative delegation is publicly questioning the move by four members of the Board of Education to deny a contract renewal to Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr.
“Not sure who will be running [Montgomery County Public Schools] next,” Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Kensington, wrote on his Facebook page early today in response to news reports. “Our school system is our county's most important civic enterprise. This is a huge gamble with its future.”
Madaleno, vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and a key figure in school funding legislation, added: “If the school board cannot decide on the current leadership, how will they agree on a new direction? Who will want the job in these conditions?”
In a later post on Facebook, Madaleno – who was not immediately available for further comment this morning – declared: “On the same day many of us are learning…that a split Montgomery County school board may be dismissing our superintendent for, among the reasons given, his inability to close the achievement gaps between different ethnic groups, the Maryland Department of Education released new graduation statistics that show meaningful progress in reducing these gaps.”
“It might even be labeled ironic,” Madaleno continued. “But why should data get in the way of personal passions?”
Madaleno also had a quick response to Starr's possible ouster on Twitter after the news broke Tuesday night:
@BethesdaBeat I hope someone has a plan as it appears the school board is playing roulette with our county's most cherished & vital asset.
— Rich Madaleno (@RichMadaleno) January 28, 2015