County legislators say they'll hold public meetings in the fall to explore enacting an elected or partly elected school board for Anne Arundel.

The move follows months of debate — first in the General Assembly, then in court — over composition of the panel that helps select school board candidates.

Del. Pam Beidle, a Linthicum Democrat who is organizing the legislators' meetings, said the disputes reveal a flawed, partisan process. She said she wants to study school board selection models across Maryland. A schedule for the public meetings has not yet been determined.

The county's 11-member School Board Nominating Commission now interviews and recommends candidates to the governor, who makes the final selection for the school board. The commission, made up of the governor's appointees and representatives from local education interest groups, was formed about a decade ago under then-Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Controversy about the commission began when Gov. Larry Hogan replaced O'Malley's Democratic appointees with Republicans last fall.

This spring the legislature's Democrats passed a measure to replace the governor's appointees with additional representatives from local groups. They overrode Hogan's veto of the bill.

Since then, Commission Chairman Jamie Falcon and three other commissioners appointed by Hogan have gotten an injunction from a Circuit Court judge preventing the law from taking effect. They argue the measure targeted them and that, under the state constitution, only the governor can remove his own appointees.

The Office of the Attorney General, which represents Maryland legislators, appealed. The matter remains unresolved.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis, who co-sponsored the bill that created today's nominating commission, said he wants to explore other options because of the controversy about the panel's makeup.

But he's concerned that an elected school board could be costly and reduce the number of candidates.

Other local officials, such as County Executive Steve Schuh and Del. Sid Saab of Crownsville, both Republicans, advocate a locally elected school board.

Owen McEvoy, a spokesman for Schuh, said, “We are confident any community engagement will reveal overwhelming support for a fully elected school board in the county, and look forward to working with our delegation to make this reform a reality.”

If a consensus for change emerges, a bill to overhaul the school board selection process could be offered in the General Assembly in January.

Saab, who introduced legislation this year for a school board with a mix of elected and appointed members, said an elected school board would be accountable to constituents.

“If they don't like them, they can fire them, just like us,” he said.

Some aren't convinced an elected school board is the answer.

Maria Sasso, recommended by the commission and appointed by Hogan earlier this year, said appointed school boards remove political allegiances from education.