Mitchell said the legislation is intended to return accountability to the performance of Baltimore’s schools, which is governed by a partnership between state and city officials.
The governor and mayor have shared responsibility for appointing the school board and chief executive officer since 1997, when then-Mayor Kurt Schmoke entered into an agreement with former Gov. Parris N. Glendening. Mitchell said that agreement had a five-year sunset clause that would expire but that was scrapped at the last second.
Mitchell said that he’s not concerned that turning power of the schools completely over to the mayor would impact state funding levels. The state provides 67 percent combined budget revenues for city schools, according to the school system’s adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2012.
There is a formula in place to maintain school funding, Mitchell said. The state constitution requires the state and the city to keep a constant level of funding, known as maintenance of effort. Mitchell said his bill shouldn’t affect state funding levels because of that requirement.
“[State funding level] is something that I’m not concerned about,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he has not talked to the mayor’s office or his colleagues in the city’s delegation about the proposed legislation.
Del. Shawn Z. Tarrant, D-District 40, wouldn't rule out voting for the legislation, but said he wasn't backing it without the support of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake or Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso.
"I'm not going to be lining up to co-sponsor legislation that doesn't have the support of the mayor or CEO Dr. Alonso," Tarrant said.
During the campaign in the Democratic mayoral primary, opponents of Rawlings-Blake, such as Otis Rolley III, advocated for returning power over city schools to the mayor.