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School Board hopefuls face off

October 13, 2000

School Board hopefuls face off



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The eight candidates running for four open seats on the Washington County School Board participated Thursday night in the first forum before the November election, discussing their thoughts on the schools superintendent, full-day kindergarten, charter schools, four period days and year-round schooling.

More than 100 people attended the PTA-sponsored forum held at the Ramada Inn in Hagerstown, where candidates answered questions from the audience for a little more than an hour.

Three incumbents and five challengers are vying for the open spots. The incumbents are Edwin Hayes, Andrew Humphreys and Doris Nipps. The challengers are John Cohen, Edward Forrest, Roxanne Ober, Bernadette Wagner and Russell Williams.

Here's what the candidates had to say:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Cohen: Favors teaching phonics in school, school choice, including creating charter schools if it's supported by the majority of residents. Opposes a four day period, year-round schooling and hiring additional teachers for a school-wide literacy program. Opposes full-day kindergarten, saying it would become a "glorified day-care center just to indoctrinate children with what the government wants taught."

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HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Forrest: Says he would not renew Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett's contract, favors making sure full-day kindergarten is properly studied and that its curriculum is appropriate. Also favors providing teachers with professional development for new instructional programs.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Hayes: Supports redistricting, full-day kindergarten, professional development for teachers and devising a unified schedule for students. Also thinks the school superintendent is doing a "good job."

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Humphreys: Favors renewing the contract of the schools superintendent and thinks full-day kindergarten should be implemented throughout the school system if it's decided that it's in the best interest of the students. Also favors year-round schooling with the proper funding and school redistricting.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Ober: Opposes charter schools. Favors using mentors to help students with reading and thinks the reading program needs to be reevaluated before the school system hires additional literacy teachers. Thinks a pre-kindergarten program should be in place in all elementary schools before full-day kindergarten is implemented.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Nipps: Thinks teacher salaries and proper preparation for high school assessments are important issues in the school system. Also thinks the School Board needs to make sure advanced students are given appropriate learning opportunities and has mixed feeling on full-day kindergarten. Opposes year-round schooling.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Wagner: Favors reactivating the Washington County Educational Foundation as an alternate way to secure funds and having developers who work in the county pay a fee that would also be put toward education. Also favors redistricting and establishing a mentoring program for new teachers.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Williams: Would support raising taxes to increase teachers salaries, stating "there's no such thing as a free lunch." Also favors redistricting and full-day kindergarten. Says he would support charter schools if the majority of the community were in favor of it.

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