By Joe Burris and Sara Toth, The Baltimore Sun Media Group
1:34 AM EST, November 7, 2012
Voters in Howard County elected two incumbents and a first-time challenger to the school board on Tuesday.
Incumbent Janet Siddiqui took the top spot, followed by first-time candidate Ann De Lacy and fellow incumbent Ellen Giles.
Siddiqui said she was "very pleased and very humbled."
"It's been a long campaign, but it's the children in Howard County, the parents and the community that won tonight," she said. "I'm going to continue to do my work on the board for the next four years, continue to look at ways to eliminate the achievement gap and move forward."
Carroll County voters also were voting for two seats on their school board. The leading vote-getters were incumbent school board president Jennifer Seidel and Jim Doolan, a retired employee of the Carroll and Howard school systems who lives in Westminster. However, several precincts had not reported results.
"I am very excited and pleased," said Doolan. "I'm going to do the best job I can to make and keep the school system on top."
For the Howard school system, the election marks a culmination of an eventful period since the last election in 2010. In addition to hiring a new school superintendent, the school board has been embroiled in a legal fight with one of its members, Allen Dyer.
The school board has attempted to have Dyer ousted from the seven-member panel, accusing him of bullying and breaching confidentiality agreements, which he has denied; his case remains before an administrative law judge.
Dyer lost his bid for re-election during the primary earlier this year.
In addition to De Lacy, the former president of the Howard County Education Association, there were three other challengers in the race: Robert Ballinger; Jackie Scott; and David Gertler.
In Carroll, incumbent Cynthia Foley, a former board president who lives in Westminster, and Ginger DiMaggio, a homeschool teacher and business owner who lives in Finksburg, were also running for the two seats.
Looking forward, Seidel said, the five-member panel's main concern will be the budget.
"There's no question that we are still going to have to face difficult budgets in the coming years," said Seidel, a Montgomery County reading/ESOL teacher. "We're going to have to work very hard again to ensure that the students and the classrooms are protected and preserved and that our students continue to flourish."
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