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Legislative Bills Rile School Board Members

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Several members of the state Board of Education last night criticized some state legislators for trying to usurp the board’s authority and for trying to eliminate the elected school board.

The school board members did not name any legislator but bills introduced by Sen. Norman Mizuguchi, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, provoked the largest volley of criticism.

One of Mizuguchi’s bills would create a temporary commission to study the governance of the Isle school system and make recommenda- tions to the 1988 Legislature. The commission could recommend a reorganization, changing the elected board to an appointed board, eliminating the board or whatever the members decide would be best.

School board member Margaret Apo called the bill "a combined Democrat and Republican vendetta against the Board of Education.

Apo said legislators are "trying to get the board to kowtow to what they think should be done to improve the education system."

"This bill is an attack on us. Why can’t they come to the board and tell us what we’re doing wrong?" Apo said.

Board member Chuck Norwood, noting that Mizuguchi’s bill includes $100,000 for the commission’s operations, said he’d be willing to resign from the school board if the Legislature would give that money for "new and innovative programs" in the schools.

Norwood said the legislators are "trying to do away with a school board that is letting the public know what is happening in education."

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