Kathleen Causey, one of the leaders of the rebellious minority on the Baltimore County school board, easily won one of the primary election positions in the race to represent the northern county, giving her a shot at remaining on the new board after November.
Baltimore County voters cast ballots Tuesday in the first-ever election for a 12-member school board that will be reconfigured after the November general election as a hybrid panel of seven elected representatives and five members appointed by the governor.
Primary voters on Tuesday voted for one candidate in each district. The top two vote-getters will compete in November’s General Election. The Baltimore County school board is responsible for hiring a superintendent, setting policy for the nation’s 25th largest school system and overseeing a $1.6 billion budget.
With most of the returns in, Causey was winning in her northern Baltimore County district. She was one of four members of the current board who has fought the appointment of Verletta White as superintendent. The outcome of the election could determine the fate of White’s future with the school district.
In the third district her lead was far ahead of the second candidate, Paul Konka, a retired Medicaid and Medicare accountant who has seen the inside of schools as a substitute teacher. Konka was slightly ahead of Michael Voelker. The top two finishers will face off in November.
Many of the winners are teachers or former teachers, experience that is scarce on the current board. Campaigning for the volunteer positions that pay $100 has been low key, with few candidates able to afford to send out mailings, place advertisements or knock on doors. The nonpartisan process itself had generated confusion for candidates.
As many as seven candidates are competing in some areas of the county for one seat, while other districts have just two candidates.
Residents who live in the second, fifth and sixth councilmanic districts did not vote for a board member in the primary — only two candidates have filed in those districts, and both will automatically advance to the November general election.
In the first district, Deborah Arnetta Cason, Pete Fitzpatrick, Matt Gresick, Lisa Mack, and Richard Young were running. The top two finishers with most votes counted were: Gresick and Mack. Gresick is a Howard County social studies teacher with children in Catonsville schools. Mack is a former community college teacher who wants to raise academic standards.
In the third district, Causey, Konka, Voelker, John Egan, Paul Evitts, and Joan Magnani were on the ballot. The top two leading candidates were Causey and Konka. Voelker was less than 100 votes behind Konka.
In the fourth district, voters had to decide between Gaston Horne, Tara Huffman, Makeda Scott, Regina Ann Smith, Autrese Thornton, and Kathleen White. The top two candidates were White and Scott. Regina Ann Smith trailed behind Scott by only 100 votes. Scott is the mother of twin boys and a former PTA leader.
In the seventh district, the three candidates running for one seat, are Rod McMillion, Eric Washington and William Feuer. The top two finishers were: McMillion, a 35-year veteran county teacher and Feuer, a parent who advocates for more resources in the east side.
The first partially elected school in Baltimore County will begin its four-year term in December with only one or two current members on the 12-seat panel.