2 board hopefuls outline platforms

One absent

one drops bid for school panel

Election 2002

Howard County

July 11, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

One candidate for Howard County school board withdrew from the campaign, and another was absent, leaving Courtney Watson and Barry Tevelow to tell a group of Columbia Democrats last night why each should be elected to the one available board seat.

Maryland Secretary of State John T. Willis was among other candidates who appeared. He urged Democrats to support him against incumbent Comptroller William Donald Schaefer on partisan and other grounds.

Willis criticized Democrat Schaefer's endorsement of Republican George Bush for president in 1991, and said he represents the "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party that supports Smart Growth and opposes any expansion of gambling in Maryland -- positions held by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

FOR THE RECORD - Another article in yesterday's Howard edition of The Sun misstated the number of times Arthur Neal Willoughby has run for school board. He ran in 1996, 1998, 2000 and has filed again this year. The Sun regrets the error.

Locally, Tim Dahle, 53, a former technology teacher in Anne Arundel County, said he would withdraw his candidacy for the nonpartisan school board job because he has accepted a part-time teaching job in Howard County.

Arthur Neal Willoughby, a mechanical engineer who has run twice before for the board, did not appear at the Columbia Democratic Club forum at Jeffers Hill Community Center last night.

Tevelow, 43, a computer consultant, said Howard's schools have about 60 too many central office administrators. "They're taking resources out of the classroom," he said, noting school Superintendent John R. O'Rourke's creation of several new associate superintendent positions.

Watson, 39, said the county school budget is "incredibly thin," adding that the county needs to improve starting teachers' salaries, which she said rank 12th among Maryland's 24 jurisdictions.

Both agreed that the county should stop the World War II-era practice of paying for student transportation to parochial schools and should work harder to erase performance gaps between county schools.

Watson, the Marriottsville mother of three public school students, said she mentors a child at Dasher Green Elementary in Columbia's Owen Brown village.

The Sept. 10 primary will reduce the field to two, and the voters will decide in November who should fill the $12,000-a-year post for the next four years.

Watson was the only candidate for school board for several months, but other candidates emerged as the July 1 filing deadline neared.

She became active six years ago as an Ellicott City resident, working to get the county to build an elementary school in the crowded northeastern region. That school is to open in August 2003. Vice president of an Ellicott City insurance agency, she has also worked on a citizens committee that updated the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. She pushed for tighter standards for school crowding, and to include middle schools under the law, which limits building around crowded schools.

Tevelow has been a Howard schools gadfly for the past decade, criticizing the board on issues involving open meetings, fiscal accountability and general school operations.

Last night, he urged using county school parent groups to help get more accurate enrollment figures. Watson said the counts should be done more often.

A county resident for 18 years, Tevelow owns a small computer company, and has a daughter entering 10th grade at Glenelg High School, and another child entering eighth grade at Glenwood Middle. He has been active in PTA affairs and as a mentor to students.

Willoughby, 44, was the latest to file. A candidate in 1992 and 1998, the Morgan State University teacher and Department of Defense employee has said he thinks the board needs someone with a scientific bent.

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