Candidate wants school district to be more open

January 12, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

After being a self-described "gadfly" of the Washington County Board of Education for years, Tom Janus now is seeking a seat on the board.

It was time, he said, to "put my money where my mouth is."

And speaking of money, Janus stands out from the other candidates in that he is not convinced the district needs more money for its general operating budget.

While he agrees it needs more funding for capital programs, he thinks the district needs to do a better job of determining what existing programs are working and are efficient before asking for more money from county and state governments, he said.


As the district evaluates what works, it should reallocate resources accordingly, he said.

Janus, 61, of Hagerstown, retired in 1999 from Citigroup after working there for more than 26 years.

He brings to the Board of Education race a different perspective as he looks to the district to be more forthcoming on how students are faring academically, he said.

Janus is one of 15 people seeking four open seats on the School Board. A primary election will be held March 2, and eight of the candidates will advance to the general election on Nov. 2.

Janus said he has been pushing the school board for years to release more information to the public about how the students are doing academically.

Instead of just releasing information about how students in some grades do on some standardized tests, Janus said he would like to see results made public about how all students are doing on meeting standards, with the information organized by school, grade and subject.

While the district tells people how students are doing on the SAT, he wants the district to say if all the students are achieving, he said.

If elected, he would like to explore whether it would be possible for employees to have on-site child care, he said.

Janus and his wife have lived in Washington County since 1987. His daughter, son and foster son graduated from Williamsport High School between 1991 and 1995, he said.

During those years, he did some volunteer work for the district, he said.

He also has taught business classes at Hagerstown Community College.

Janus said he is opposed to an option explored last year through which the Board of Education would have received the authority to issue its own bonds to get additional construction money for the school system rather than relying on funds from bonds issued by the Washington County Commissioners.

Overall, Janus has been impressed with what he has seen of the School Board, the Washington County Commissioners and the local delegation of the Maryland General Assembly, he said.

"Everybody in this county is very reasonable, and they listen and they don't operate from a political point of view. They listen and they are positive," he said.

Janus is a consultant for a machining company and a start-up manufacturing company, he said.

His hobbies include bridge, playing golf and watching television.

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