Williams campaigns for information

January 24, 2001

Williams campaigns for information

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

The next Washington County School Board election is more than a year away, but Russell Williams says he has two reasons to file his candidacy early.

One was to get his name out well in advance for the 2002 election, and the other was to have full access to the informational packets given to the board before meetings.

Williams, 57, received the packets as a candidate last year, but said he was told by Schools Superintendent Herman Bartlett after the November election - in which he failed to win a seat by 749 votes - that because he was no longer a candidate, he could not receive the information unless he paid 10 cents per page.

"They wanted to charge me money for things which in the past I'd gotten for free," Williams said. "So rather than pay per page I became a candidate again."


He filed about two weeks ago.

Williams said the School Board is changing its mind about giving him the packets.

He was told by a board administrator that he still might have to pay 10 cents a page if the school system decides to give him the information at all, he says.

Bartlett said the board prepares several packets for certain people, and anyone else who requests the information is charged for the copies, as stated in the board's policy. In the past, School Board candidates were given the packets at no charge.

He declined to comment on the situation with Williams, but said it would go before the board for discussion.

Williams said he wants the packets to stay informed about the school system. He attends meetings and claims he has a better attendance than three of the sitting School Board members.

Williams, a retired teacher, said he also filed his candidacy early so people will recognize his name when it comes time for the election.

"People with money tend to win the election," he said. "I don't have money. I'm not a member of the Fountain Head Country Club. I'm not well-connected. So what do I have? I have a lot of time, and I can use it to get my name out."

He plans to run on the same platform as last year, which focused on listening to the concerns of teachers and cutting the amount of paperwork they must do.

He said he hopes to raise more money for his campaign this time around but that it could be difficult.

Williams was raised in the Perryville, Md., area. He received a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Rochester in New York. He studied sociology at Howard University and received a master's degree in education from Catholic University.

He moved to Hagerstown in 1969 and taught for two years at E. Russell Hicks Middle School. From the fall of 1971 until the spring of 1998 he taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades in Smithsburg.

He is married to Deleen and has two children, Jody and Lori. He's active in church activities and the homeless shelter.

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