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Five candidates to run for county school board

Five candidates have filed to seek election to one of two seats on the Carroll County Board of Education. The April 26 primary will eliminate two candidates, with the four top finishers advancing to the general election in November.

Current school board President Jim Doolan, along with Marsha Herbert, Julie Kingsley, Mary Kowalski and Donna Sivigny, filed by Wednesday's deadline to run for the at-large nonpartisan seats currently held by Doolan and Jennifer Seidel. Gary Desper, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the board in 2014, withdrew from the race after the Feb. 3 filing deadline.

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Seidel, who is serving her second four-year term on the board, chose to not seek re-election.

"I'm very grateful for the time that I have had, and I'm very excited about the current pool of candidates," said Seidel, a Mount Airy resident who teaches in Montgomery County. "We have quite a few candidates who value education, and even when I'm not on the board, I intend to stay involved and advocate for the school system and Carroll County."

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Residents can expect to see some new faces campaigning for the school board this year.

Westminster resident Marsha Herbert, who retired after teaching at North Carroll High School for more than 40 years, cited her concern as a community member and a taxpayer as her primary reason to run.

"As a proud resident of Carroll County, I have always been impressed by the education system," Herbert said in a Jan. 5 news release announcing her candidacy. "However, the economic well-being of this county is threatened, and the board needs new members who are willing, and able, to be a strong advocate for the education in our county. I will be a voice that will mend the relationship between the board, teachers' union, county commissioners and the community,"

Kingsley, a Howard County Public School System math teacher who lives in Mount Airy, has an 8-year-old daughter who attends Mount Airy Elementary School, and her 4-year-old son will attend Parr's Ridge Elementary School in the fall.

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Although the realities of insufficient funding for Carroll County Public Schools were magnified by a recent school board decision to close schools, Kingsley believes inadequate funding has long been a problem, she said.

"I feel like over the last five to six years there has been a loss of focus from the commissioners mainly on providing adequate funding for education in our county — I want to try to refocus that attention," Kingsley said.

Sivigny, a Finksburg resident, expressed a desire to advocate for students, teachers and the community.

"I feel like all the key players — the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners — have to be actively involved and work together to provide our kids the education they deserve," said Sivigny, who has been actively involved in the Save Sandymount Elementary School group that formed in response to a recommendation to close Sandymount and four other schools.

Kowalski has sought a seat on the board before and filed to run again this year. She was among eight candidates who ran for three seats on the board in the 2014 primary, but not garner enough votes to advance to the general election.

Kowalski, an instructional assistant for CCPS who lives in Westminster, said the county needs change.

"I oppose school closings which will result in overcrowding and onlygive the next board the excuse they need to build more schools," Kowalski said in an email. "In the interim, overcrowding will hurt ouryoung people academically, socially and morally."

Doolan, a Westminster resident, is the only incumbent in the field. He is serving his first four-year term.

"We've just begun to do the things we need to do to support our staff," said Doolan, a retired director of transportation for the school system. "I still want to recruit and hire the best teachers in the state and I want to retain them — I want the best custodians, the best maintenance guys … I want to keep Carroll County schools number one and on top like we've been, but that's difficult. We're in the process of turning that around."

Early voting for the primary election begins April 14 and ends April 21. Primary election day is April 26.

This story has been updated.

410-857-7862

twitter.com/LaurenLoricchio

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