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Retired teacher seeks school board seat

December 05, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Wayne Ridenour, a retired high school history teacher who is now a real estate appraiser, has filed to run for a Washington County Board of Education seat, saying that he wants more people to have a say in the decisions made at the central office.

"I do hear a lot of people who still feel that they're not being heard for whatever reason," he said. "I'd like to act as a conduit for their concerns."

Ridenour filed Nov. 21 to run for a school board seat, Washington County Board of Elections Supervisor Dorothy Kaetzel said. The deadline to file is Dec. 22.

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Ridenour, 52, of Williamsport, retired last year after 30 years of teaching American history at Boonsboro High School. He was a basketball and baseball coach at the school for his first 20 years there. He coached basketball at St. James School for the last 10 years he was a teacher.

"Morale is something we've got to look at," he said.

Ridenour said money in the county is tight and he thinks the school board needs to take a closer look at what needs to be funded.

"You have to look at it in the long run: What does it cost now and what's it going to cost 10 years from now?" he said.

He said the school board should look at the work being required of students and teachers and consider whether it's necessary to meet the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"I don't think it's a great law. It's the highest unfunded mandate I've ever seen," he said.

The federal act is designed to close the achievement gap between schools and to make sure all students, including disadvantaged groups, are academically proficient.

He said the current board seems "very quiet" and said that if elected, he would not be shy about letting his voice be heard.

Ridenour said that as a history teacher, he became familiar with the workings of politics, but said he has no interest in an office beyond a school board seat.

Four of the seven school board seats, currently held by members Edward Forrest, Roxanne Ober, Princeton Young and President Bernadette Wagner, are up for election next year.

Forrest filed for re-election Oct. 17, Kaetzel said. No other incumbents have filed, but Young has said he would run again. Ober and Wagner have said they were undecided.

The general election is Nov. 2. New school board members would take office the first Tuesday of December.

School board members make $4,800 a year and the school board president makes $4,900 a year.

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