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Ridenour says he'd ask the right questions

October 22, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles on Washington County Board of Education candidates.




scottb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - After attending Washington County Board of Education meetings during the last year, board candidate Wayne D. Ridenour wants to know why board members are not asking more questions before voting.

"I do not hear enough questions. There are certain presentations being made and there are questions in my mind and I don't hear them being asked," Ridenour said. "When curriculums are being changed and appointments are being made, there are some times when I wonder why that is happening."

Ridenour, 53, of Williamsport, is one of 16 people who filed for four open seats on the School Board. The eight candidates with the most votes in the March 2 primary - one of whom was Ridenour - appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

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Other than the incumbents, Ridenour is the only one of the eight who attends the board meetings on a regular basis.

He said he has been attending meetings since retiring in August 2003 after 30 years of teaching American history at Boonsboro High School. He was a basketball and baseball coach at the school during his first 20 years there. He coached basketball at St. James School for the last 10 years he was a teacher.

He goes to the meetings so he can see how the board operates and what the issues are, he said.

"I want to know what is going on. I don't want to go into this like a blind man. I want to contribute in a positive manner," he said.

He would be more vocal in expressing concerns and asking questions, he said.

"Most people know I will listen and will ask the right questions," he said.

He also is concerned about how often the board has unanimous votes, he said.

"Consensus is not always a good thing because the perception is it (the board) is a rubber stamp," he said.

He retired from teaching because he felt it was time to try something else, he said. He thought he could continue to serve public education as a School Board member.

Ridenour, a licensed real estate appraiser, said he has concerns about the federal government's placing of mandates on school systems as with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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

"When I hear the words 'federal' and 'education' in the same sentence, I tend to cringe. ... I don't believe that is a role of federal government," Ridenour said. "I know we are stuck with it, but that does not mean I have to like it."

Ridenour is married to Tootie Ridenour and has no children.

Coming Monday: Teresa Spruill

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