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The governor, the mayor and the school board

Sen. Catherine Pugh on WYPR's Maryland Morning
John Lee
/
Sen. Catherine Pugh on WYPR's Maryland Morning
Sen. Catherine Pugh on WYPR's Maryland Morning
Credit John Lee
/
Sen. Catherine Pugh on Maryland Morning

State Senator Catherine Pugh, who is running to be Baltimore's next mayor, wants to return full control of its school system to the city. A bill she's sponsoring that would do that got a hearing Wednesday before a Senate committee.

"What we would like to see," she told the committee, "at least I would like to see, and some of the folks that I've talked with, is that the buck stops at the mayor's office."

Under a deal struck in 1997, the governor and the mayor jointly pick city school board members, in exchange for $250 million over 10 years.  But that money has dried up and Pugh says the city should get the power back.

Pugh says she has not yet spoken to Gov. Larry Hogan about her proposal, but says it's a good sign that no one spoke against it at the public hearing.

She says she is confident it will pass in some form out of committee, but she didn’t say anything about what might happen on the senate floor.

Several of Pugh's opponents in the mayor's race say they don’t have a problem with the idea. But they argue the mayor already has the power over the schools because the governor traditionally defers to the mayor on school board choices.

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John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.