Retired teacher, three incumbents win board seats

November 03, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Voters apparently returned three incumbents to the Washington County Board of Education in Tuesday's general election, along with a retired teacher who led the pack.

Complete but unofficial results for all 46 precincts show that Wayne D. Ridenour received the most votes among the field of eight candidates, who were vying for four seats.

Roxanne R. Ober, Bernadette M. Wagner and W. Edward Forrest - each seeking a second term - were next in line behind Ridenour.


Ridenour had 23,698 votes, followed by Ober with 22,509, Wagner with 21,439 and Forrest with 20,344.

"I'm kind of liking it," Ridenour, 53, of Williamsport, said by phone as his lead grew.

He joked that once early results put him in the top four, "the old coach" in him kicked in and he wanted to beat everybody.

Ridenour retired in 2003 after 30 years of teaching American history at Boonsboro High School. He also coached basketball and baseball. This was his first run for office.

Asked for his top priority as a board member, Ridenour said, "The amount of pressure on teachers and staff to meet mandates. ... It's worrying me that it's getting almost overwhelming."

Wagner, 47, of Hagerstown, said she predicted that Ridenour and the three incumbents would capture the four seats, although she didn't have a sense of the order of finish.

Ridenour was visible and earned some key endorsements, she said.

Ober, 44, of Hagerstown, said she and Wagner, who ran as a ticket, "worked very hard to get our message out."

Ober, Wagner and Forrest, 41, of Hagerstown, agreed that they need to focus on development pressure and enrollment growth in a second term.

William H. Staley, 60, of Cearfoss, was fifth with 17,475 votes and Thomas G. Berry, 72, of Rohrersville, was next with 16,728 votes.

Teresa Spruill, 46, of Smithsburg, had 12,819 votes and Barry C. Harbaugh, 45, was eighth with 12,704 votes.

The Washington County Board of Elections reported that there were 684 write-in votes. Tom Janus, 62, of Hagerstown, who lost in the March primary, previously announced himself as a write-in candidate.

The Board of Elections sent out 3,682 absentee ballots, Charles L. Mobley Jr., the president of the board, said.

The deadline for absentee ballots within the United States to get to the board is today. Overseas absentee ballots must reach the board by Nov. 12.

Mobley said the board will count absentee ballots from the United States - minus a small sample - on Thursday.

Overseas absentee ballots, the small sample of U.S. absentee ballots, and provisional ballots - from voters who had a problem with their registration at the polls - will be counted next week.

The top eight candidates out of 14 in the March primary advanced to the general election.

School Board members serve four-year terms. They are paid $4,800 a year. The board president receives $4,900.

The winning candidates will be sworn in Dec. 7.

Washington County Board of Education

 TotalWayne Ridenour23,698Roxanne Ober22,509Bernadette Wagner21,439W. Edward Forrest20,344William Staley17,475Thomas Berry16,728Teresa Spruill12,819Barry Harbaugh12,704
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