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Ober: Board should work to include more people in the school system

January 08, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Searching for money to build and renovate schools and creating more classes and programs for the county's neediest students tops Roxanne R. Ober's list of priorities if she is elected to a second term on the Washington County Board of Education.

Ober, the school board's vice president, will finish her first four-year term on the board this year.

She is one of 16 people who filed to run for four open seats on the school board. A primary election will be held March 2, at which time eight of the candidates will be eliminated. The general election will be Nov. 2.

She filed on the same slate with school board member Bernadette M. Wagner, who also will finish her first term this year. The two ran on the same slate in 2000, Ober said.

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"I want to give citizens a choice in the school board election and I felt like I needed some more time to accomplish what I set out to do three years ago," said Ober, 44, of Hagerstown.

Ober said during her 2000 campaign that she wanted to improve communication between the school system and the students and also wanted to search for more money to fund programs that would help boost student achievement.

"I think we've done a good job, but there's a lot more work to do," she said.

Ober said the board's accomplishments of which she is most proud include hiring Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan, reducing the school system's dropout rate to the lowest its been in 10 years and giving the school system's 10th-graders the opportunity to take the PSATs.

"I think she (Morgan) has the ability to move our school system forward," Ober said. "She shares the vision of the board and is willing to implement it."

Ober said that over the past three years, communication has improved greatly between the Washington County Commissioners and the Hagerstown City Council, who until this year had not met regularly with the board.

But she said that the school board should continue striving to include more people in the school system.

Adding foreign languages in the middle schools and creating the first magnet school, The Fountaindale School for the Arts and Academic Excellence, are programs Ober sees as great accomplishments for the county.

She said she wants to continue to seek qualified candidates for the school board.

After the 2004 election, the next election for school board will be in 2006.

Ober said her main focus will be to ensure that students get the programs and support they need to succeed.

Ober has three children, ages 8, 10 and 12, in the county's schools.

She is involved in her children's Parent Teacher Associations, St. Ann's Catholic Church and is active in Boy Scouts.

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