UPDATED (1:00 p.m.)—A bill that would have created a partially-elected school board in Baltimore County was voted down by members of the county's Senate Delegation.
The eight senators from the county voted 4-4 to approve the bill, one vote short of what was needed for approval.
Kasemeyer's dissenting vote came after he voted for amendments to change the bill to a seven elected, four appointed member board and a second amendment that staggered the elections of the seven board members.
The vote disappointed supporters who believed the bill would finally pass this year after six previous attempts.
"We're deeply disappointed," said Yara Cheikh, a member of the League of Women Voters Baltimore County and the parent of three children at Hampton Elementary School. "This is a vote down for democracy, accountability and transparency."
The League of Women Voters along with the Baltimore Count Parent Teacher Association supported the transition to a partially-elected school board.
Supporters including Cheikh, parents from Hillcrest Elementary School in Catonsville and members of the group Citizens for an Accountable Baltimore County School Board went to Annapolis Monday night for a last minute push. The group focused on Kasemeyer after rumors surfaced over the weekend that his support had waned.
Kasemeyer did not discuss his reasons for voting against the bill when the vote was taken Tuesday morning.
"We were hoping that listening to constituents would help Sen. Kasemeyer keep the same vote he made last year," Cheikh said, adding that in conversations, the senator told parents he was swayed by concerns voiced by Sen. Delores Kelley.
Kelley, a Randallstown Democrat, has been a vocal opponent of the bill for seven years.
Kasemeyer, in an interview Tuesday afternoon, acknowledged speaking with supporters of the bill and said Kelley's name came up but had no recollection of citing her reasons as his own for opposing the bill.
"I had mixed feelings about the bill," Kasemeyer said. "In the long-term I do support an elected school board bill."
Kasemeyer said he believes that county residents and education advocates are getting along better with new Superintendent S. Dallas Dance and the current board than with former Superintendent Joe Hairston and the previous board.
"I don't want to put [Dance] under the gun while they're just starting out," Kasemeyer said.
Dance took no position on the school board bill and in the past has noted that he's worked with both elected and appointed boards.
"It was really a matter of timing for me," Kasemeyer said. "Maybe next year or the year after, I'd be open to supporting an elected or partially elected school board."
The vote in the Senate effectively kills the bill and its cross-filed version in the House of Delegates.
"It's not disappointing for me personally," Zirkin said. "It's disappointing for me for the citizens. Once again they are being denied a fundamental right most of the rest of the state enjoys.
Zirkin vowed to bring the bill back for an eighth attempt next year.
"We'll be back at it," Zirkin said. "We'll keep trying. It's something that I think is important. It's a principal that I feel strongly that we need to keep pushing for."
Roll Call Vote on Baltimore County School Board Bill
|Joseph Getty||5, Republican||X|
|Norman Stone||6, Democrat||X|
|J.B. Jennings||7, Republican||X|
|Kathy Klausmeier||8, Democrat||X|
|Delores Kelley||10, Democrat||X|
|Bobby Zirkin||11, Democrat||X|
|Ed Kasemeyer||12, Democrat||X|
|Jim Brochin||42, Democrat||X|