Staley says school board 'doing a lousy job'

October 26, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

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

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Former welding teacher William H. Staley said he is running for the Washington County Board of Education because he is disappointed with the current board members.

"I think they are doing a lousy job," he said.

He accused the current board and administration of slowly eliminating all traditional trade programs, including welding, from the school system.

"They need to change the superintendent, and everyone she brought in should go back out," Staley said.

Staley, 60, of Cearfoss, was a welding teacher at the Technical High School for about 24 years, he said.

He said he was forced to retire two years ago because the program, which his father taught before him, was cut.


The removal of trade programs comes at the same time as a shortage of people in those trades locally, he said.

Trade programs that were removed from the school system include welding, cabinetry, plumbing, electronics and masonry, he said.

"We are not training anyone to go out in the world to work," he said.

He said the current school system is too focused on helping those students who will continue on to college.

While there are some trade classes at Washington County Technical High School, too many of them require knowledge of computer programs, he said.

Only two building trades are taught at the school, he said: Carpentry and electrical construction. Other trades taught at the school include auto body mechanics, food service and cosmetology, he said.

Staley 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 Staley - appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

In addition to high school, Staley also taught at Hagerstown Community College for 30 years and has done in-house training for some companies.

If elected, he would make sure paths are set up for students who do not plan to go to college, he said.

Staley said county statistics show that only a small portion of students go on to complete a four-year degree and only a small portion of the jobs available to high school graduates in the county require a college diploma.

People should vote for him over other candidates because he knows how schools function, he said.

"I also know that every kid is not going to go to college and that seems to be how everything seems to be funded," he said.

Staley said that, if elected, he would vote against moving administrators from one school to another.

"All that does is anger people," he said.

Staley is a member of the Longmeadow Lions Club, the Masonic Lodge, the American Legion, the Shriners, the Elks Club and Grace United Methodist Church.

Staley and his wife, Jane, have two grown children and three grandchildren.

Coming Wednesday: Bernadette Wagner

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