Four school board candidates discuss their views

March 30, 1994|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Sun Staff Writer

The four candidates to fill a school board vacancy stuck to the business -- and in one case also the politics -- of education when they were introduced at a news conference last night.

The county School Board Nominating Convention Committee introduced two Severn residents Robert Allen Honaker, 41, and John J. Loughlin II, 35; Arnold resident Mark R. McKechnie, 45; and Pasadena resident Nancy McCauley Schrum, 39.

The four will appear at three public hearings before the nominating convention is held at 7 p.m. May 4 at Severna Park High School. The convention, made up of delegates from community organizations, will submit the names of the top two finishers to County Executive Robert R. Neall, who will make a recommendation to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

In their introductory statements last night, the four candidates voiced concerns, from developing a clear strategy for the future, as advocated by Ms. Schrum, to speeding up and spending more money on school construction and repair, as Mr. McKechnie urged.

Mr. Loughlin questioned the process of selecting board members.

"My first order of business is to work with the legislative delegation to change the process and have elections," he said.

Mr. McKechnie said residents need more money and less delays for school projects.

"The dramatic shifts in funding priorities from year to year, the board has been sending the message to county residents that it is better to accept poor neighborhood projects in fear that they will have no projects at all," Mr. McKechnie said.

Mr. Honaker drew from his 12 years of living in England in advocating serious consideration of a longer, or year-round, school year.

"There, the school year is from September through mid- to late July. During this longer year, there were frequent short breaks, with a consequently shorter summer break," he said. That schedule "allowed teachers and students to decompress more frequently, relieving stress and burn-out syndrome," he said.

Ms. Schrum said she believes getting parents more involved is the key to academic success.

"The school system needs to open its arms to the parents of this county involving school operations" and allow citizen committees to help make budgetary, curriculum and staffing decisions, she said.

The public hearings are scheduled for April 5 at Arundel High School, April 13 at Chesapeake High School and April 21 at Central Middle School. All hearings are to begin at 7 p.m.

The school board seat will be vacated by retiring Anne Arundel Community College President Thomas Florestano, appointed to complete the five-year term of Jo Ann Tollenger. Ms. Tollenger resigned in January.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.