Amid low turnout, board convention seeks participants

Annapolis High hearing last chance to register to question candidates

April 17, 2005|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

Although turnout has been low, community groups and organizations still can participate in Anne Arundel County's school board candidate selection.

Thursday's hearing at Annapolis High School is the third and final opportunity to register to question candidates for the seats, one which represents Annapolis and parts of South County, the other northern parts of the county, said Mark Fontaine, who chairs the convention committee.

"The two people up this year are going to be on the school board for the next five years," he said. "If people want to have a say in who these people are, they ought to come out to the convention."

Annapolis part-time teacher and volunteer Pamela K. Bukowski and Arnold aviation executive Enrique M. Melendez are candidates for the Annapolis seat held by Michael J. McNelly, who is leaving the board in June after serving the maximum of 10 years.

Board president Edward P. Carey is running unopposed to retain his seat.

Selection process

In Anne Arundel, a convention of representatives from community groups votes to select candidates to recommend to the governor, who makes the final selection.

The governor is not required to choose the convention's picks. However, the state's chief executive has honored the convention's picks in nearly 80 percent of the cases since 1979, Fontaine said.

Anne Arundel's legislative delegation continued its perennial examination of the process during the just-ended General Assembly session but failed to reach consensus on reform.

As a result, religious and civic organizations, homeowners' associations, PTAs and service groups can continue to send delegates to the convention. Unions, such as those representing teachers, also have participated.

However, only 71 delegates total attended hearings at Chesapeake and South River high schools in April.

Usually between 150 and 200 delegates participate, Fontaine said.

Delegates can register at Thursday's hearing by bringing a copy of their group's bylaws and a check for the $10 registration fee.

The convention committee has the bylaws for groups that have participated in the convention during the past three years.

Organizations must have a minimum of 10 members. They can send one delegate for up to 50 members, and one for each 50 after that, with a maximum of four.

Convention details

The convention, where delegates will meet to vote, will be held at 7 p.m. May 5 at Old Mill High, 600 Patriot Lane, Millersville.

Delegates must attend a hearing to be eligible to vote at the convention.

For more information: www.geocities.com/sbncaacnty/ or 410-266-7262.

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