School board to elect new officers tomorrow President will face divisions among its eight members


The Anne Arundel County Board of Education will elect new leadership when it meets tomorrow, and its new president will face the challenges of working with an often-contentious board at a time when tight finances create their own stress.

Dorothy Chaney, the board's vice president, said she does not expect to be the new president.

"I have not done any lobbying this year," she said.

Neither she nor other board members would speculate on who the new officers might be. Board President Vincent Leggett was not reappointed to his at-large seat; Carlesa Finney will replace him beginning tomorrow.

Also new to the board will be its student member, Desira St. Pierre, a Broadneck High School senior, who replaces Sanford Witcher, a Glen Burnie High School graduate this year.

In the past year, the eight-member board has often been viewed as fragmented, and one of the new president's jobs will be to build consensus. The board has been fractious in the year since C. Berry Carter II was made superintendent by a one-vote margin, with Mr. Leggett casting the deciding vote.

"There's always going to be a challenge when you have some strong-willed independent people on a board like this," Mr. Leggett said, adding that some members have "fragile egos" and that "another year of seasoning" should help.

Meanwhile, the board will have to wrestle with trying to give pay raises to a work force that has not had an across-the-board increase in three years, Mr. Leggett said.

The board will vote in public on new officers, but members will meet in a closed session before that, and discussion of its leadership is likely to occur then.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at Board of Education headquarters on Riva Road in Annapolis.

Also tomorrow, board members are scheduled to vote on policies banning sexual harassment of students and employees.

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