As a Washington County Board of Education member for almost eight years, Wayne D. Ridenour said he’s enjoyed being part of something that’s been an integral part of his life — public education.
“It’s possible for us to continue to give students better and better opportunities, and that’s what it’s all about,” Ridenour said.
Ridenour, who taught history and government for about 30 years at Boonsboro High School before retiring in 2003, filed Jan. 6 to run for a third term on the school board. He is a real estate appraiser.
Because there are only five candidates for the four school board seats up for election, the school board did not have a primary in April. The school board has seven members.
The general election is Nov. 6.
Also running for the school board are Travis W. Poole and Melissa Williams, and incumbents Donna L. Brightman and Justin Hartings.
Ridenour said the public school system over the past 10 years has done a good job of expanding academic programs that focus on specific academic interests to enable students to explore possible careers. Among those additional programs are an arts school, teacher and finance academies, and an International Baccalaureate program, in addition to its technical high school, he said. The school system also has magnet programs at the elementary level.
Ridenour said he’s not averse to adding more academic programs, but transportation and space are issues.
“I want to make sure that we utilize our resources as best we can,” to meet the needs of students and staff, said Ridenour, 61, who lives northeast of Williamsport.
“You have to have a good staff to have a good system,” he said.
Asked what areas of the budget he would want to look at if cuts were needed, Ridenour said the entire budget would need to be reviewed, taking into consideration what cuts would least affect students.
The school system’s goals include continuing progress with mandated assessment test results and with advanced placement, or AP, courses and tests, Ridenour said.
Ridenour said he wants to know if the school system can encourage students who should be taking AP courses and tests to enroll in the classes and take the tests, and for students taking AP tests to do a good enough job to earn college credits. Some colleges offer course credit for AP tests if students achieve a high enough score.
Some students take AP courses but won’t spend the money to take the AP test because the college they are interested in doesn’t give AP credit, he said.
School board members elected in November 2012 will serve four-year terms and will be paid $6,100 a year. If one of the newly elected members becomes board president, the annual salary will be $6,200.
A salary bump kicked in starting with board members elected in 2010.
Board members, whose seats are up for re-election this year, are paid $5,500 a year, while Ridenour, as president, is paid $5,600.
Ridenour was registered as a Democrat until mid-January, when he changed his affiliation to others/independent, said Tammy Derr, data election specialist II with the Washington County Board of Elections.
Ridenour said he changed his affiliation as a protest to The Herald-Mail’s publishing school board candidates’ political affiliations for a nonpartisan political race. While others/independent is technically considered a party, different than unaffiliated, Ridenour said he wants people to know he considers himself unaffiliated with a political party.
Ridenour’s wife, sister, and niece work for the school system.