Fourth candidate joins race for school board; hearings start this week; Deadline for filing had been extended to draw contestants


A fourth candidate has entered the running for nomination to the county school board -- turning the quest for one of two available seats into more of a contest as the selection process moves to the hearing stage this week.

The new contender, John A. Roberts of Arnold, was nominated by the Sturbridge Homeowners Association for the seat representing Districts 27B and 30.

Newcomer entered contest

Officials with the county School Board Nominating Convention had extended the original deadline to March 31 because of a lack of interest in the two seats open in July.

Roberts stepped forward after reading about the dearth of candidates -- becoming the third contender for the districts' seat. The others are the incumbent Michael J. McNelly of Tracys Landing, who is hoping for a second five-year term, and Steven H. Johnson of Annapolis.

"He's always been interested in the school board," said Roberts' wife, Carlie. "Right now, he's at a time in his life where he has more time to give."

Roberts, vice president and general counsel with Osteo Implant Technology of Hunt Valley, has two daughters in the school system.

Incumbent Janet Bury of Brooklyn Park is unopposed in seeking renomination for the North County District 31 seat.

The nominating convention usually selects two candidates for each open seat, forwarding the names -- ranked as first and second choice -- for consideration by the governor.

Although unopposed, Bury must receive the votes of at least 50 percent of the convention delegates to receive its endorsement. As of Wednesday, 49 delegates and 9 alternates representing 23 organizations -- homeowner associations, PTAs or PTOs, civic and service groups, education-related unions and a religious group -- have registered.

No guarantees

The first of a series of convention hearings, in which the delegates may question candidates, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Annapolis High School.

In making the final decision, the governor is not required to appoint any of the nominees recommended by the convention.

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