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Board of Ed candidates assured of seats

October 22, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Russell Williams said this year's Washington County Board of Education race saved him more than $200 in election campaigning and spared him a few extra pounds.

Williams said despite the fact he is assured of a seat on the board, he still peddles his campaign slogan by pedaling his bicycle, thronged with election signs, wherever and whenever he can.

Williams, Jacqueline Fischer and current School Board member Paul W. Bailey are all assured seats on the Board of Education.

They are the only three candidates for three open seats on the board, the fewest number of candidates since 1992, when three candidates ran for two open seats, according to Washington County Board of Elections records.

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"I think it significantly increases my chances of ending up on the board," said Williams with a chuckle.

Williams, 59, a 30-year retired elementary school teacher, said he's just hoping he doesn't finish in last place.

Fischer, 56, a retired high school teacher, and Bailey, 68, a retired school administrator, said they are disappointed that only three candidates are on the ballot.

Williams, who taught mostly at Smithsburg Elementary School, said he was encouraged to run for a seat after attending more than 60 of its work sessions and meetings since January 2000.

Fischer agreed and said as a teacher she complained about the workload handed down to her and her colleagues from the board, but rarely channeled concerns at its meetings.

"There are times when teachers just will not speak out for fear of reprisal," said Fischer, who taught English and journalism for 29 years at Clear Spring High School.

Bailey said the implementation of "No Child Left Behind," a federal act that will mandate those higher standards, including the addition of all-day kindergarten to all schools, will be one of the greatest challenges for the board in the coming term. He said if the economy continues to turn downward, the board may have to evaluate programs and make cuts.

Bailey said after serving his first four-year term on the board, which began in 1998, he learned a lot and expects Williams and Fisher to work on a similar learning curve.

Bailey is the only current board member who is running for re-election.

J. Herbert Hardin, whose term ends this year, is running for a Washington County Commissioners seat instead of seeking re-election to the board.

Mary L. Wilfong, whose term is also ending, has said she chose not to run again because of time commitments and because the board is in good hands.

Current board member Doris J. Nipps also is running for a Washington County Commissioners seat in the Nov. 5 general election. If she is elected, the governor will appoint someone to fill her vacancy on the board, Bailey said.

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