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Five Harford school board members run for election; four don't

ElectionsLaws and Legislation

A number of candidates filed as of the Tuesday deadline to round out the primary election ballot for the Harford County Board of Education.

Those running include five current board members; the other four current board members either aren't running, or are running for other offices.

For the first time in county history, six seats on the nine-member school board will be filled by county voters, rather than gubernatorial appointment. Following the general election in November, the governor will appoint three members, a county election official said recently.

After Tuesday night's filing deadline for the June 24 primary election, all the races are contested.

Two current board members who are not seeking school board seats are running for other offices. Cassandra Beverley, who was elected to the board in 2010, is running for the House of Delegates, and James Thornton, a 2012 appointee to the board, is running for County Council president.

Two other members, Francis Rick Grambo, who was elected in 2010, and Joseph Hau, who was appointed in 2011, did not file to run for anything.

The six elected school board members run in districts whose boundaries are the same as county council districts. The race for school board, however, is non-partisan, meaning candidates run in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. The winners of each primary then square off in the Nov. 4 general election. If a single candidate wins both primaries, he or she would be unopposed on the November ballot.

By district, the candidates who have filed for school board are:

District A (Joppatowne, Edgewood): Jansen Robinson, of Edgewood, and Fred Mullis, of Joppatowne, are the two candidates. Robinson ran unsuccessfully in 2010, losing in the general election.

District B (Fallston, Abingdon): Current board member Robert Frisch, of Joppa, is opposed by Greg Johnson, of Bel Air, and Laura Runyeon, of Kingsville. Frisch was elected to the board from District A in 2010, but county council redistricting has since shifted his home into District B.

District C (Bel Air): Current board member Alysson Krchnavy, of Bel Air, is opposed by John Anker, of Bel Air, and Joseph Voskuhl, of Bel Air. Krchnavy was appointed to the board in 2008 and is its longest serving member. Voskuhl is a retired educator who was principal of Bel Air High School when he retired.

District D (Northern Harford): Current board president Nancy Reynolds, of Forest Hill, a 2011 appointee, is opposed by Tishan D. Weerasooriya, of Forest Hill; Mike Simon, of Street; and Chris Scholtz, of Havre de Grace.

District E (Aberdeen, Churchville): Current board member Arthur Kaff, of Bel Air, a 2012 appointee, is opposed by Rachael Gauthier, of Bel Air; Stephen Eric Macko of Bel Air; and Barney Michel, of Bel Air.

District F (Havre de Grace, Abingdon): Thomas Fitzpatrick, of Havre de Grace, a 2012 appointee, is opposed by Joe Fleckenstein, of Abingdon, and Michael Hitchings, of Havre de Grace.

Those who are elected in November won't take their seats until July 1, 2015 at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

The complicated election process was set in motion by a 2009 state law that Harford's legislators in Annapolis crafted to create Harford's so-called hybrid school board having both elected and appointed members.

This article is corrected from an earlier version that had transposed the first and last names of District E school board candidate Barney Michel.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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