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Baltimore County School Board Tries To Reign In Its Marathon Meetings

Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County School Board meetings often are hours long and run late into the night or even into the wee hours of the morning. Major issues come up late when fewer people are still watching.

At the beginning of a recent meeting, the board tried to address that.

Makeda Scott proposed holding her fellow board members to two minutes and two questions for each agenda item.

“I think it’s inappropriate to have elongated meetings that go until 1 am,” Scott said.

Board member Russ Kuehn said it was not appropriate to hold him to two questions.

Kuehn said, “There could be follow-up questions that begged to be answered.”

In a split vote, the board agreed to the two questions rule. It unanimously backed the two minute limit, although there was debate over who should keep time.

Vice Chair Julie Henn did it at a previous meeting where there had been a three minute limit, but caught flak for giving some members more time than others.

“She did not ring the bell consistently,” board member Moalie Jose said. “It could be possible that board members are engaged in listening and may not be able to do two things simultaneously.”

Henn agreed a staff member should do it, saying there was no malicious intent on her part.

“It’s hard to take time and participate in a meeting,” Henn said. “I didn’t enjoy it.”

The board decided a staffer will be the official time keeper.

So did the streamlining work?

Chairwoman Kathleen Causey closed the meeting four and a half hours later, just before midnight.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2