Six seats on the Harford County Board of Education will be filled in this year's election, the first time that's happened since state legislation passed five years ago setting up a board with six elected and three appointed members.
One board member will be elected by voters in each of the six Harford County Council districts under a convoluted process that begins with next month's primary election.
The candidates in each district will be on both the Democratic and Republican ballots in the primary, as the race is non-partisan, Dale Livingston, deputy director of the Harford County Board of Elections, said.
A total of 19 candidates filed across the six council districts.
That means even voters who are registered as independent could vote for the school board candidates in the June 24 primary, even though they won't be able to vote for other county and state offices.
The top two winners from each district in the primary will then run against each other in the general election Nov. 4. In some of the primary races, however, only two candidates are in the ballot.
The process is the same as in 2010, when three board members were elected to four-year terms, Livingston noted, the initial phase-in of the so-called blended school board.
The winners in November won't take their seats until July 1, 2015. Some of the losers might still make the board, if they are current appointees or by future appointments reserved for the governor.
Early voting for the primary takes place from June 12 to June 19.
School board members do not receive a salary, but get a small stipend for personal expenses.
Joppatowne/Edgewood – District A
Fred Mullis - Joppatowne resident Fred Mullis said he wants the county's children to have a better future.
"Our children need someone to look after their well-being and their future," he said about his reason for running.
The 74-year-old, who has grandchildren in the school system, once oversaw the multimillion-dollar Doctor Pet Center franchise, which he said gave him experience running a major budget.
"The school board is like a business," he said. "We need someone in there that understands budgeting, understands payroll, understands personnel and has some working knowledge of construction."
Mullis said he would consider cutting non-essential personnel, or schools that have, for example, two or three vice-principals, "so we can pay teachers a living wage."
Jansen Robinson - Jansen Robinson, 59, lives in Edgewood and works as a security specialist at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and said he has the "education, training and experience required to make sound, ethical and fiscally responsible decisions that benefit our students, teachers and taxpayers."
Robinson said he wants to look at all the options when considering budgeting or other issues before the school system.
"All of the options need to be on the table," he said, noting now the county is looking at a tax increase or reduction of services.
Fallston/West – District B