9 seek to join school board Top issues in district include budget and scores on state tests

2 incumbents in race

Primary next month will reduce field to 6 candidates

August 16, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Nine candidates, including two incumbents and a recent Carroll high school graduate, are vying for three seats on the five-member county Board of Education. The top six vote-getters in the primary next month will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.

Board President C. Scott Stone and member Gary W. Bauer are running for re-election. Carolyn L. Scott, who has served on the board for 10 years, has decided not to seek another term. The seats of Ann M. Ballard and Joseph D. Mish Jr. are not up for election.

Challengers in the nonpartisan school board race are: Colin M. Bisasky, Susan Krebs, Neil F. MacGregor, Mary D. Oldewurtel, James E. Reter, Thomas L. Shaffer and Thelma P. Smith.

The responsibilities of the board include preparing an annual school budget to be approved by the County Commissioners, adopting school boundary lines, reviewing and approving a long-range curriculum plan and hiring the schools superintendent.

The next school board will confront formidable challenges. Of primary importance is maintaining Carroll's high academic ranking in the state after a leveling of scores last year in Maryland's annual school performance tests.

County officials have projected a $16 million deficit in the school system's operating budget over the next five years. The shortfall is based on using operating budget money to repay loans to build several schools.

Gary W. Bauer

Bauer, 51, of Hampstead was elected to the board in 1994.

Along with Mish, Bauer is regarded as representing the views of conservative Christians in the county.

"I've been involved in some issues here, and I want to finish them through," said Bauer of his decision to seek another term.

He serves on two advisory committees -- at the local and state levels -- to educate the public about Maryland's new series of high school exams. The tests will be a graduation requirement, starting with the Class of 2004 -- seventh-graders this fall.

The exams are intended to force schools and teachers to improve instruction and will be far more rigorous than the Maryland Functional Tests now required for graduation.

Bauer said the biggest issue facing the board is how to deal with the projected shortfall in the school system's operating budget.

"We're trying to find ways to reduce some costs and make the school system more efficient to stay within the limits we've got set for us," he said.

Bauer is a pump operator with the Baltimore Fire Department. His 21-year-old daughter is a graduate of North Carroll High School. His 16-year-old son attends Carroll Christian Schools.

Colin M. Bisasky

At age 20, Colin M. Bisasky is the youngest of the school board candidates. The 1996 Liberty High School graduate said he could bring a much-needed youthful perspective to the board.

"I thought that since I was just recently a student in Carroll County, I would know better than other candidates things that are wrong or need to be improved with the school system," said Bisasky, a student at Carroll Community College.

He strongly supports revising the county curriculum to include more grammar courses at all grade levels.

"Students who graduate from county public schools really aren't prepared for the kind of grammar they need to know in college for writing papers," Bisasky said.

His observations are based on his experience in college, although he said he is aware of other county high school graduates who share his opinions.

Bisasky said that substance abuse is a growing problem and that school officials need to develop harsher penalties to deal with student offenders.

After earning an associate's degree from Carroll Community College, Bisasky plans to transfer to the University of Maryland, College Park to study international relations.

He is a waiter at the Pizza Hut in Mount Airy.

Susan Krebs

Susan Krebs said her decade of experience in PTA groups, her community leadership on school-related issues and her career as an accountant have prepared her for the school board.

"Basically I live at the schools," said Krebs, 38, who has three children at elementary, middle and high schools.

"The most critical issue to me is raising student achievement and to teach the basics needed to be successful," said Krebs, an Eldersburg resident for 14 years.

Krebs said she is committed to demanding more accountability from school administrators regarding key decisions in areas including class size, timely completion of school construction and parental involvement.

She said her background as a financial analyst and accountant would help her make knowledgeable decisions on budget choices. She works part time for a financial consulting firm.

Krebs has been active in pushing school officials and the County Commission to build schools in fast-growing South Carroll. She headed committees supporting the construction of Oklahoma Road Middle School, which opened last year, and the new high school in South Carroll, scheduled to open in 2001.

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