By Sara Toth and Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun Media Group
5:41 PM EST, November 7, 2012
Voters in Howard and Carroll counties elected a mix of incumbents and challengers in school board elections Tuesday.
In Howard County, two incumbents and one first-time challenger won the Board of Education race. With all 111 precincts reporting, incumbent Janet Siddiqui took the top spot with 64,006 votes, far ahead of first-time candidate Ann De Lacy, who had 48,342 in second place. The other incumbent, Ellen Giles, had 47,743 votes. Six candidates were running for three seats.
In Carroll's unofficial results, the incumbent board president, Jennifer Seidel, captured one of the two contested seats with 34,684 votes. Challenger Jim Doolan, a retired employee of the Carroll and Howard school systems who lives in Westminster, won the second seat with 31,833 votes.
Only 36 of 39 precincts were reporting in Carroll, with about 5,000 provisional and absentee ballots still left to be counted, according to the county board of elections. Challenger Ginger DiMaggio, a homeschool teacher and business owner who lives in Finksburg, was third with 26,986 votes.
DiMaggio trails Doolan by nearly 5,000 votes, meaning she would need to capture nearly all the absentee and provisional ballots to overtake him.
DiMaggio said Wednesday that she doesn't expect to overcome the deficit.
"I'm not holding my breath," she said of the results. "They are what they are, and we have to move forward from here. There are still things we'd like to achieve and hopefully the board will work with us."
Siddiqui said she was "very humbled" by her win in Howard and said she would "continue to look at ways to eliminate the achievement gap and move forward."
Giles said she was "grateful for the faith of people in Howard County" and promised to "continue to listen, and do my homework, and do the best for the kids in the county."
Both Siddiqui and Giles said they were excited to work with De Lacy, a longtime Howard County teacher and past president of the Howard County Education Association.
"She brings a wealth of experience in the county, and in the classroom, as well as the leadership within the union," Giles said. "That's a perspective we haven't necessarily had before, and I think we'll gain from it."
De Lacy said her win means that for "the first time in many years," the board has a former Howard County teacher as one of its members.
"It means ... they have someone who knows the system extremely well, from a broad perspective, and someone who's going to ask tough questions and expect honest answers," De Lacy said. "My whole goal is to ensure the Howard County public schools offer a world-class education to all of its students, and that our focus is no longer on test scores as the major barometer for determining how well our students are doing."
De Lacy said she would be asking for audits of the board's policies and school programs, to see what works and what doesn't "in regards to student achievement."
The other Howard challengers were Robert Ballinger, with 44,610 votes; David Gertler, with 43,438; and Jackie Scott, with 41,363.
In Carroll, incumbent Cynthia Foley, a former board president who lives in Westminster, was in fourth place with 23,531 votes.
Gail Carter, director of the Carroll County board of elections, said that as of Wednesday, the board had received about 3,200 of more than 4,000 absentee ballots sent out. The county has 1,100 provisional ballots.
Carter said that absentee ballot counting will take two days and begin Thursday, and provisional ballot counting will occur next Wednesday. The final counts will be conducted a week from Friday, the day that the county is slated to certify the results.
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