Nine of 15 people running for two positions on the Board of Education met their potential constituents at a meeting sponsored by the county's Council of PTAs.
But there were nearly more candidates than constituents at Tuesday's meeting at Annapolis High.
"I'm really bummed out about the number of people who are not here," said Deirdre Buell, one of the few parents in attendance. "It's pitiful. Until some parents and students start standing up and coming out to the meetings, why do board members feel they they have to do anything for us?"
Despite the low turnout, Buell and other parents said they were impressed overall with the caliber of candidates seeking appointment to the board.
Two board positions will become available at the end of the school year when the terms of Nancy Gist, who represents District 32, and Paul Greksa, who holds an at-large seat, expire.
The 15 candidates will be voted on at the annual School Board Nominating Convention, slated for May 6 at Severna Park High School. Delegates from dozens of church, school, civic and other non-partisan organizations will vote, with the names of the top two finishersin the race for each seat submitted to Gov. William Donald Schaefer for his consideration. The governor is not obligated to choose from those recommended.
Only two of the 15 candidates are running for the District 32 seat, Elizabeth Greene and Joseph Foster. Both attendedTuesday's meeting.
Greene, the mother of two, said she would be able to bring to the board the knowledge that she has gained by attending school board meetings and participating in school-related events.
Foster, who has two sons in county schools, said he is running onthe platform that the teacher is the cornerstone of the education system. Foster said he sees the distribution of money for school capital projects as politically oriented and in need of restructuring.
Seven of 13 candidates vying for the at-large seat also presented their views.
Edgewater resident Maryellen Brady, the mother of four children, said she could make a contribution to the board.
Rev. George Stansbury said he was concerned about plans to cut health servicesand increasing violence in the schools. Stansbury added that he would like to see a return to prayer in the schools.
More lessons on abstinence, instead of safe sex, is what candidate Edward McCormack said he would push for as a board member. Improving the status of reading and improving discipline in the schools also are on his platform.
William Norman, Evelyn Kampmeyer, Mike Pace, Alan Levin and Margarett Whilden, all former educators, also spoke of their goals for the school system.
Parent and PTA member Ira Ollie applauded the candidates for showing interest in the board positions.
"The candidatesthis year are more focused," Ollie said. "They seem to have a greater depth. We have a caliber this year that's outstanding."