Hiltz and Foley begin terms as members of county school board

Budget, union talks among issues facing panel

December 07, 2004|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,SUN STAFF

In a room packed with friends and family, Thomas G. Hiltz and Cynthia L. Foley were sworn in yesterday during a brief ceremony that marked the beginning of their four-year terms on the Carroll County school board.

Hiltz, 45, of Woodbine, was re-elected last month to a second term on the five-member panel. Foley, 48, of Westminster, will be the board's newest member when it meets tomorrow.

As Circuit Court Clerk Larry Shipley read the oath of office, Hiltz and Foley repeated in unison a pledge to uphold the U.S. Constitution and Maryland's laws.

Foley thanked her supporters - namely her family and two friends who worked on her campaign - for their efforts to get her elected to the board.

"Thank you for your help over the last 12 months," she said. "I'm looking forward to the next four years."

Hiltz, who said he looks forward to "getting back to work," also thanked his family.

"They have been behind me all the way," he said. "Sometimes pushing, sometimes pulling."

Major issues that Foley and the other board members will be addressing in the coming weeks include next year's operating budget and negotiations with unions representing teachers and other school support staff.

Foley, who for several years has been a fixture at school board meetings and often addressed the board during the citizen comment period, said she is nervous about her first official meeting.

But she said she has been preparing for her new role by meeting with administrators. She also attended a two-day orientation in Columbia last week for new school board members from across the state.

At the orientation, sponsored by the Maryland Boards of Education, the new board members learned about the role and responsibility of a school board, the state's education law and the budget-making process.

"What was nice about the orientation was I was with about 20 new board members from around the state, and it was comforting to be around other people ... with the same questions as I have," Foley said.

She said she hopes her transition will be a smooth one.

"I've been told to use the first year as a learning time," Foley said.

Board member Laura K. Rhodes said Foley will have no problem adjusting to her new job.

"She reviews, she digs into things, she questions things," Rhodes said. "This should be a natural for her."

Board President C. Scott Stone said he is excited about the prospect of continuing to work with Hiltz and that he welcomes Foley's fresh ideas.

"They're both enthusiastic and inquisitive," he said. "They both have the best interest of the children at heart."

He said he expects the dynamic of the board to change somewhat as Foley becomes acquainted with her role.

"I embrace the change," he said.

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