Blame state and local budget woes on the dearth of candidates for the one contested seat in the Carroll school board election next year.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, just one candidate -- incumbent Cheryl A. McFalls, whose term expires in 1992 -- had filed for the March primary.
McFalls is the only one of the five board members whose term expires next year. The deadline to file in the school board race is 9 p.m. tomorrow.
Neil F. MacGregor, an unsuccessful school board candidate in the 1990 election, said he planned to file his candidacy tomorrow.
"I've been waiting to see if anybody is going to run," MacGregor, an independent newspaper contractor, said Friday.
Susan Buswell, executive director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, said the lack of interest isn't surprising when school boards and county governments have faced wave after wave of budget cuts this year.
"It's a tough time to walk onto a board," she said. "They'remaking budget cuts in midyear and they seem to be handling the situation very well."
Other former school board candidates could not bereached for comment Friday. A county Board of Election spokeswoman, though, said the office has seen no interest in the Board of Education election.
McFalls, 40, said she decided to seek a second, six-year term because she wanted the board to continue to focus on school improvement.
"I just didn't feel like I could walk way right now," said the Manchester resident, one of the board's most conservative members. "We'll get through this budget crisis. I truly believe in school improvement and want to move Carroll forward."
McFalls said theboard's list of accomplishments during her tenure included making the salaries of teachers and others school workers more competitive with surrounding county systems.
MacGregor, 43, of Westminster, said he is filing his candidacy because he believes the board should spendmore money on students and less on administration.
During the 1990 election, MacGregor failed to win in the primary.
Buswell said that although school board members frequently run unopposed in elections across the nation, Maryland contests usually are competitive.
"I think the lack of a contest is a community vote of confidence," shesaid. "It means incumbents are doing a good job."
She also noted the long span of time between the filing deadline and next November'sgeneral election may have dissuaded some candidates to seek office.
"That's almost an entire year to campaign," she said. "It's a lot of time to give up and then have to serve a six-year term."
The deadline to register to vote in the March primary is Feb. 3. As of lastweek, there were 24,700 Democrats, 26,672 Republicans, 13 Libertarians and 3,916 independents registered in the county.