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School board candidates square off in forum

October 10, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - The six candidates running for three open seats on the Washington County Board of Education fielded questions Monday night for about two hours.

They touched on security, federal No Child Left Behind legislation, special education, growth and other topics during the often tense discussion. The candidates took questions from about 30 people Monday during the event at South Hagerstown High School sponsored by the local school PTAs that make up the Washington County Council of PTAs.

Here's what they said:

Paul W. Bailey, 72
Hagerstown

· Plan to balance school security with welcoming atmosphere: Going to be vulnerable at times. Problem will take a long time to solve. Supports a group to look at problem and make recommendations.

· On bringing back trades classes: If there was a need or a demand for the trades classes, there would have to be a change.n Views on special education: Growing concern on how the federal No Child Left Behind legislation applies to special education students. Requiring them to meet the same standards as other students is frustrating for children and parents.

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Ruth Anne Callaham, 57
Hagerstown

· Views on special education: No child learns the same as the child sitting next to him/her. Learn how they learn and channel information down that path.

· What to add to the budget: Security officers at every school.

· Plan to balance school security with welcoming atmosphere: Speak with people with ideas about how to solve the problem. Funding is an issue with security. Important to make schools more parent- and visitor-friendly.

Jacqueline B. Fischer, 60
Clear Spring

· Role of the Citizens Advisory Board and PTA: The CAC deals more with curriculum. The PTA supports items like purchasing playground equipment and field trips.

· Plan to balance school security with welcoming atmosphere: There are funds over several years for security cameras and swipe cards. Security depends on how you define it. To have metal detectors at South High would take three hours for all students to enter school.

· On bringing back trades classes: Spend money where it is a benefit to the most students. Can't afford to pay for classes students don't want to take.

Wayne M. Kretzer Jr., 38
Hagerstown

· Plan to balance school security with welcoming atmosphere: School officials who enter buildings should identify themselves, have name badges, etc. Parents and teachers should volunteer to monitor halls and make school safer.

· What to cut from the budget: Nothing.

· One thing you would add to the budget: Elementary school music program.

Virginia Powers, 46
Hagerstown

· Plan to balance school security with welcoming atmosphere: Schools lack even minimal security. Risk manager should be visiting all of the schools. Supports metal detectors. School Board offices have swipe cards for entry, but schools do not. Students and teachers should come first.

· Cut from the budget: Administrative bonuses.

· Add to the budget: Include more time for physical education for students.

William H. Staley, 62
Hagerstown

· On bringing back trades classes: Trades courses, like welding, should be brought back. Thousands of jobs in the trades and we're simply turning our back on it. Reason for running for the board. Thinks the school system is heading in the wrong direction.

· Cut from the budget: Administrative bonuses.

· Add to the budget: Put trades classes back in the schools.

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