Educational matters that affect Carroll County come under the control of the Board of Education (Code Education Article, secs. 4-101 through 4-126).

The Board is composed of six members. Five are elected by the voters to four-year terms (Code Election Law Article, secs. 8-801 through 8-806). A nonvoting student member, chosen by the Carroll County Student Association, serves a one-year term. Members of the Board of County Commissioners, ex officio, serve as nonvoting members (Code Education Article, secs. 3-401 through 3-404).


In 1865, the State Board of Education called for a “uniform system of Free Public Schools” (Chapter 160, Acts of 1865). The public school system became centralized; “supervision and control of Public Instruction” was vested in the State Board of Education. The State Board appointed boards of county school commissioners in each county to serve four-year terms. Three years later, boards of county school commissioners regained control and supervision over county schools (Chapter 407, Acts of 1868). The public school system was no longer accountable to the State Board of Education. Within each county, voters elected county school commissioners, from each election district, to two-year terms. These school commissioners had custody over schoolhouse property and were expected to pay teacher salaries.

For all counties, including Carroll, the school commissioners reorganized in 1870 (Chapter 311, Acts of 1870). County circuit court judges were to appoint three school commissioners for their respective counties. At the same time, the Board of State School Commissioners, previously named the State Board of Education, was reformed.

In 1892, the Governor gained authority to appoint county school commissioners (Chapter 341, Acts of 1892). By 1900, the Governor was to take into consideration minority party representation when appointing county school commissioners (Chapter 29, Acts of 1900).

Boards of county school commissioners were renamed boards of education in 1916 (Chapter 506, Acts of 1916). They were to be appointed by the Governor without regard to political affiliation.

Today, the Carroll County Public School System is governed by the County Board of Education (Code Education Article, secs. 4-101 through 4-126). In addition, through the review and approval of the annual operating and capital budgets, Carroll County government exercises authority over the County Public Schools. Moreover, through the establishment and monitoring of various financial and academic policies and regulations, the State Department of Education also has considerable oversight of county public schools. Indeed, under Maryland law, the State Department of Education works with county public schools to comply with requirements and mandates of federal law.

In Carroll County, the Public School System has forty-four schools: 7 high schools, 8 middle schools, and 22 elementary schools. It also is responsible for a career and technology center, two special schools, and five alternate centers. In Fiscal Year 2021, some 13,191 students were enrolled in the County's public schools.

The Superintendent of Schools administers the Carroll County Public School System, and serves as executive officer, secretary, and treasurer of the Board of Education (Code Education Article, secs. 4-102; 4-201 through 4-206).

With the approval of the State Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Education appoints the Superintendent of Schools to four-year terms.


Carroll Community College was founded in 1976 as a branch of Catonsville Community College. Formerly located on South Center Street, it opened its present Washington Road campus in 1990.


Funded by membership dues, the first library in Carroll County opened in 1863 as the Westminster Public Library. Nearly 100 years later, also at Westminster, a public library building was donated and endowed in 1949 as a gift to the City by Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Davis. When the Carroll County Public Library organized in 1958, it included the Davis Library, the Hampstead Library run by the Junior Women's Club of Hampstead, and one bookmobile.

Today, the Carroll County Public Library remains based in Westminster and supported by five branch libraries. At North Carroll in Greenmount the first branch library opened in 1958, followed by branches in Eldersburg in 1983, Taneytown in 1989, Mount Airy in 1993, and Finksburg in 2009.

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