Howard County residents are in the enviable position of having four good candidates in the race for seats on the county school board. Unfortunately, only two can win.
All four contenders have strong professional backgrounds that would serve the board well. In addition, they have all committed themselves to some form of public service in the past, in most cases involving the school system.
The choices are: Linda L. Johnston, a health education professor at Howard Community College; Melvina Brown, a former teacher; Sandra H. French, a former teacher active in the PTA, and Delroy L. Cornick, a retired professor of management at Morgan State University.
We feel county residents should cast their votes for Mrs. Johnston and Mr. Cornick.
In both cases, their understanding of issues and the concerns currently facing the school system make them the best qualified to sit on the board at this time.
One of those concerns is the county's burgeoning population of students and the increasing need for new schools. Superintendent Michael E. Hickey has proposed a $250 million capital budget to build 14 schools and renovate others by the year 2003. But the recession has already required some rethinking and school board members will have to grapple with alternatives to Mr. Hickey's expensive plan.
Mr. Cornick's experience in public administration and financial management should prove a great asset to the board as it reviews a number of options that might hold down the cost of a mammoth building program. In addition, his experience as a former associate school superintendent in Washington, D.C., should bring a wealth of knowledge to board proceedings on a variety of issues.
Mrs. Johnston would also bring valuable skills to the board. At a time when the school system's family-life curriculum is under attack from the far-right, Mrs. Johnston would be a voice of reason in support of this vital program. In addition, she feels that increasing class sizes markedly should not be the county's first solution to its budget woes.
In short, a vote for Mrs. Johnston and Mr. Cornick is a vote for sensible approaches, rooted in practical experience. We urge the election of both of them next Tuesday.