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Elections

Jacky McCoy and Linfeng Chen retain lead for two Howard school board seats, with 1,000 ballots left to count Friday

Jacky McCoy and Linfeng Chen appear poised to win the race for two at-large Howard County Board of Education seats after more than 8,000 provisional and mail-in ballots were canvassed Wednesday.

About 1,000 mail-in ballots are left to count Friday at the Kenneth Ulman Innovation Hub in Columbia, according to Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley. Official certification of election results will take place Friday.

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Chen leads third-place candidate Dan Newberger by 954 votes.

McCoy, of Columbia, maintains her overall lead with 53,303 votes (27.58%), followed by Chen, of North Laurel, with 51,177 (26.48%), Newberger, of Columbia, with 50,223 (25.98%) and Tudy Adler, of Clarksville, with 37,567 (19.44%).

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During this year’s school board race candidates have pitched solutions to a range of issues, including redistricting, building maintenance and school safety.

The current school board’s redistricting plan to open the county’s 13th high school is set to be adopted Thursday, despite repeated pushback from members of the Elkridge community, who argued it would fracture their neighborhoods and lead to difficult commutes down Route 1. The school system also faces more than $600 million in deferred maintenance costs and voted in September to prioritize renovations at high schools with aging HVAC systems.

McCoy and Chen said they would bring unique perspectives as an educator and engineer, respectively, to help the school system tackle these challenges.

“As an engineer, naturally, I will look at school buildings,” Chen told the Howard County Times in October, adding that he was especially concerned by the more than 250 portable classrooms currently in use by Howard schools. “That made me wonder why that happened and how can we provide safe, permanent buildings for our students?”

On Thursday afternoon outgoing at-large school board members Vicky Cutroneo and Chao Wu will participate in the final meeting of their terms. New school board and county council members will be sworn in Dec. 5.


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