Two years ago, voters had a field of nine candidates to choose from in a primary run-off for two open seats on the Carroll school board.
Tuesday, they will have three choices, with the top two vote-getters to square off for one seat in the Nov. 3 general election.
One of the three candidates, Neil F. MacGregor, has withdrawn from the race, but will remain on the ballot because he didn't withdraw before the deadline.
C. Scott Stone is challenging incumbent Cheryl A. McFalls, who is seeking a second six-year term. MacGregor has thrown his support to Stone.
The race for the $1,800-a-year positionis non-partisan.
McFalls cited school spending and the district'sbeleaguered budget as her primary concern. Among Stone's concerns are curriculum development.
"We don't seem to be hearing a lot out of Annapolis about what will happen this school year or next year dealing with (state funding)," McFalls said. "My concern is there hasn't been any real movement on what is going to happen. I just feel like the school system doesn't have a real handle on what could occur this year or what will happen to us next school year."
In the meantime,McFalls said she and other board members are "very conscious" of budget restraints. The board, she said, has put spending for instructional materials and new positions on hold.
Concerned about spending, Stone confronted the school board at a recent public hearing about several expenditures in the the superintendent's proposed $112 million budget for next year.
He questioned double-digit percentage increases -- just since 1991 -- in employee medical insurance, telephones and heating, and asked the board to take a closer look at spending in the proposed fiscal 1993 plan.
McFalls said Stone raised valid concerns but they were "a little off target."
She said the district has opened two new schools, is planning for the opening of another andhas hired more than 100 teachers in the past two years. Those factors, she said, mean higher costs.
Stone said he wants the district to strengthen its reading and writing programs and increase the graduation requirements in math and science.
Noting a recent well-attended drug education meeting at Liberty High School, Stone said drugs were "a topical issue." Drugs, he said, could become more of a problem as the 22,500-student system grows.
Here is a snapshot of the two candidates:
* McFalls, 40, is a Manchester resident who has servedas a volunteer at Manchester Elementary and North Carroll Middle School, where she also is a member of the school's parent-teacher organization. Her 18-year-old son graduated from North Carroll High School in June, and a 12-year-old daughter is a seventh-grader at North Carroll Middle.
She was chosen as board president in January. She is among the board's most conservative members, frequently raising concerns about curriculum and materials she considers inappropriate for children.
* Stone, 40, is an engineer for AT & T Network Systems in Cockeysville, Baltimore County. He is the father of two children, a 10-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old, both of whom attend Hampstead Elementary School. The family lives in Hampstead.
He is a 1969 graduate of North Carroll High School. He graduated from Loyola College in 1986 with a master's degree in computer science. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.