Final Opportunity to Hear School Board Candidates

Election Day, November 4, will launch a new era for QAC. QAC voters will vote for their first elected school board. To help voters make an informed decision about this election, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Queen Anne’s County will sponsor a free public forum on Thursday, October 23, at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education, 202 Chesterfield Avenue, Centreville. All candidates will be present.

Five school board members will be elected: one from each of the four County Commission Districts and one at-large member. These are non-partisan positions. There are a total of nine candidates. They all successfully competed in the primary election in May.

The at-large candidates are Mark Cascia and Faye Lister. The two candidates who are competing for the District #1 (Upper County) are Joe Gannon and Cindy Todd. Vito Tinelli is running unopposed for the District #2 (Centreville area) seat. Cheryl Jaffe and Eddie Miller are competing for the seat in District #3 (Grasonville/Queenstown area) and Allen Cork and Lisa Darden are running from Kent Island for the District #4 seat.

Each voting member serves for a term of four years beginning on the first Monday in December after the member’s election and until a successor is elected and qualifies. The initial term of the elected voting members will be staggered. Three members elected who receive the highest number of votes cast from among the successful candidates at that election shall serve for a term of six years; and the two members who receive the least number of votes shall serve for a term of four years.

According to the League of Women Voters of QAC’s web site, the duties of a school board member are to “carry out the policies of the State Board of Education; maintain a reasonably uniform system of public schools that is designed to provide quality education and equal educational opportunity for all children; . . . appoint the county superintendent of schools, and prepare a budget to submit to the county commissioners.”

Visit http://www.lwvmd.org/vote/guides/VG%20Queen%20Annes%20County.htm to review each candidate’s statement on their qualifications and positions on No Child Left Behind, funding priorities and their most pressing issues.

Though the forum will include time for those attending to ask questions of the candidates, it will begin by inviting the candidates to answer questions about critical issues that they have been given in advance. The following are the key questions that have been selected for the first part of the program:

1.) What is your understanding of pay for performance and would you support it? 2.) What new programs would you initiate and why? 3.) Do you support the Maryland State Department of Education’s requirement that all students must pass a competency test before graduation? 4.) What do you hope to accomplish as a school board member? 5.) What is your opinion regarding offering foreign language in our elementary Schools? What language would you support? 6.) What do you believe should be the maximum number of students in a classroom? 7.) How important do you believe AP courses are and what priority would you give them in the current funding climate? 8.) What programs would you like eliminated from the current curriculum? 9.) Early childhood education is promoted as the best prevention for remedial courses. Queen Anne’s County is able to fund Pre-K programs for students who meet Federal/State eligibility criteria. Would you support a fee-based Pre-K program for those children who do not qualify? 10.) What value will you put on ethics and particularly a respect for privacy, if elected to the school board?

The QAC League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization committed to encouraging the active and informed participation of citizens in government. Membership is open to individuals, male and female, who are of voting age. Since 2003 the League has been offering programs and activities based on an appreciation that an informed citizenry is the cornerstone of a strong democracy. For additional information, contact the QAC League of Women Voters at 410-758-3353 or email pres@qa.lwvmd.org.

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