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School candidates speak at annual Founder's Day Dinner

February 20, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The president of the Washington County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations told about 100 people Thursday not to give up when trying to get more parents involved in the schools.

"Keep at it," Scott Nicewarner said, urging parents not to be discouraged when only a few show up at some events.

Nicewarner made his remarks at the group's 2004 Founder's Day Dinner at Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway near Hagerstown.

Most of the 14 candidates running for four open seats on the Washington County Board of Education spoke after dinner.

A primary election will be held March 2 and eight candidates will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

Incumbents Roxanne Ober, 44, of Hagerstown and Bernadette Wagner, 46, of Hagerstown, who are running as a slate, spoke together.

"We can share the workload and have double the brainpower as members of a slate," Wagner said.

The rest of the candidates took their turns. There was no debate or questioning.

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Candidate Tom Berry, 71, of Rohrersville, who previously served on the board, said, "I don't bring you a warm fuzzy feeling."

He wants the school system to be among the best in all categories, he said.

The Rev. Blaine Feightner, 57, of Keedysville, said if elected he would work to get families more involved in their children's education. Perhaps parents should go to their children's schools one day a year instead of children going to their parents' places of work, he said.

Board President W. Edward Forrest, 40, of Hagerstown, said his knowledge and past experience has prepared him to address the difficult issues that will come before the board.

Richard Grassby, 68, of Hagerstown, said he decided to run because of news reports that only three people had filed in the race. Grassby got one of the biggest laughs of the night when he said, "I certainly did not intend to run against anyone, certainly not against incumbents."

Tom Janus, 61, of Hagerstown, said if elected he would "ask the questions that need to be asked." He questioned why education budgets continue to increase at a much higher rate than test scores.

Teresa Spruil, 45, of Smithsburg spoke in favor of "teaching to the intelligence," in which three different education styles are integrated with the hope that students will pick up on at least one of the three styles.

Incumbent Princeton Young, 56, of Hagerstown, said the level of teacher pay and the employee retirement system need to be improved.

William Staley, 59, of Hagerstown, who previously taught welding in the school system, said he would work to return vocational programs to the schools so all students - not just those going on to college - can learn skills that can help them get jobs.

Wayne Ridenour, 52, of Williamsport, said he is running because he wants to be involved in a quality school system that teaches essential skill to all students.

The other candidates - Barry Harbaugh, 44, of Clear Spring, Gary Nally, 46, of Williamsport and George William Sonnik, 57, of Williamsport - did not attend the event.

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