Candidates Dixon and Mitchell outline mayoral priorities to GBC board

Baltimore City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. would seek to strip the city’s school board of its power if elected mayor, he told members of the Greater Baltimore Committee board of directors at their June 8 meeting.

Mitchell is the second major candidate for Baltimore City mayor to address the Greater Baltimore Committee’s leadership. Mayor Sheila Dixon addressed the GBC board at its January meeting. Incumbent City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is running for election to her current post, also spoke to the GBC board in May.

The GBC will continue to invite candidates for mayor and city council president to discuss their priorities with GBC leaders between now and the fall elections, said GBC president and CEO Donald C Fry.

Mayoral candidates Mitchell and Dixon both identified education and public safety as top priorities.

Mitchell said he “putting my political career on the line” to promote the idea of having a mayor-appointed chancellor manage the city’s public schools, with the city school board serving in an “advisory” capacity. He also proposes more charter schools and said he favors implementing a charter school “incubator” where communities could learn to create and operate charter schools.

Dixon said she does not support the concept of an elected school board or arbitrarily changing the current management format. What’s important is to achieve “more consistency” in the position of school superintendent, she said. She also supports the concept of “community schools” where the city’s children can learn and get support for “other challenges” in their lives.

Both Dixon and Mitchell would place major emphasis on strengthening city police resources. Both would also focus on improving cooperation and teamwork between law enforcement agencies.

Dixon said she would encourage a “more holistic approach” to fighting crime that would be “more sensitive toward communities.” Mitchell would bolster business support for supplemental law enforcement funding through the Police Foundation and would work to improve ex-offender programs.

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