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Prince George's school board doesn't back Baker's takeover

Tuesday - 3/19/2013, 7:08am  ET

Bill comes shortly before session ends

WTOP's Kate Ryan reports

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WASHINGTON - The Prince George's County school board is tearing into County Executive Rushern Baker for his proposed school takeover plan.

"Mr. Baker gambles away our children's future," reads the headline of a news release put out by the Prince George's County Board of Education Monday night.

The release came after a closed-door session where board members say they got their first look at Baker's plan.

Baker says the pace of reform in schools is too slow. He is seeking state legislation that would put him in charge of the superintendent's office and the school system's $1.7 billion budget while reducing the power of the school board.

Baker says his plan isn't a takeover but an integration of the school system into county operations. But board members say Baker's plan undoes the progress made so far.

"Mr. Baker's proposal reduces public oversight of schools and voids the rights of our parents, students and labor unions," the board's release says. "It also does not recognize the achievements of our students -- 80 percent perform satisfactory on state-mandated assessments."

The release came less than 24 hours before three candidates for county schools superintendent are expected at a meet-and-greet session with the public.

The school system has had five superintendents in the past 10 years and the state's second-largest school system has ranked near the bottom statewide.

Prince George's County has 123,000 students in its public school system.

Read the full release here.

WTOP's Kate Ryan and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @KateRyanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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