School board candidates receive lesson about job

August 03, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

Just so they know what they're getting into, and what they can promise to voters, school board candidates got what amounted to a pre-election orientation last night.

Eleven candidates are running for two seats in the November election. The number will be reduced to four candidates in the Sept. 13 primary.

Susan R. Buswell, executive director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, gave them a 90-minute lesson last night on what a board member can and cannot do.

"As a member of the Board of Education, you can't do anything. You have absolutely no authority. The board has authority," Ms. Buswell said.

"[Saying] 'I will work to do it' is one thing. 'I will do it' is another," she said. "No board member can promise or pledge anything."

Current board members told the candidates how much time it can take to be a board member.

Member C. Scott Stone said he keeps track of the time he takes off from his job as an engineer for Bell Atlantic to attend board meetings, and it has come to 120 hours so far this year, not counting evening meetings and events.

Carroll School Board member Carolyn L. Scott, who is running again for her seat, invited Ms. Buswell to speak to the candidates.

Ms. Scott said she learned through her involvement in the Maryland Association of Boards of Education that Ms. Buswell has done this for candidates in other counties, and she believed it would help Carroll's candidates.

Ms. Scott is treasurer of the association, and is to be installed as president-elect in September.

Candidates said they found the forum helpful, even though some of them have attended board meetings enough to understand the job.

"It all made sense; I was glad to hear it said out loud," said candidate Kathleen P. Hamblet, who has attended board meetings as a Parent-Teacher Association officer.

"I didn't know any of it," said candidate Carole M. "Cyd" Pecoraro, a relative newcomer to board meetings, who said last night's session was very informative. "I think it also gives us a chance to be comfortable together. We have to see each other a lot. Two of us are going to have to work together after the election."

The other candidates are Gary W. Bauer, Laura E. Albers, Michael R. Baker, Deborah Jane Winter, Deborah J. Paisie, Wayne Cogswell, Thomas G. Hiltz and Evelyn E. Butler. Ms. Butler was unable to attend, but asked that the forum be taped.

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