Bess I. Altwerger
|Bess I. Altwerger|
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|Board member, Howard County Board of Education, At-large|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||June 24, 2014|
|Next general||November 4, 2014|
|Ph.D.||University of Arizona|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Elections
- 3 What's at stake?
- 4 About the district
- 5 Recent news
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Altwerger earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. She was an education professor at Towson University for 25 years prior to her retirement. Altwerger is also the founder of Save Our Schools, a local advocacy group that opposes federal education initiatives including the No Child Left Behind Act and Race to the Top. She has two children who graduated from district schools.
The June 24, 2014 primary ballot included incumbents Sandra H. French and Cynthia L. Vaillancourt as well as challengers Bess I. Altwerger, Corey Andrews, Tom Baek, Zaneb K. Beams, Olga Butler, Allen Dyer, Maureen Evans Arthurs, Dan Furman, Leslie Kornreich, Christine O'Connor and Mike Smith. French, Vaillancourt, Altwerger, Beams, Dyer, Furman, O'Connor and Smith will face off in the general election on November 4, 2014.
|Howard County Public Schools, At-Large Primary Election, 4-year term, 2014|
|Nonpartisan||Cynthia L. Vaillancourt Incumbent||13.5%||15,450|
|Nonpartisan||Sandra H. French Incumbent||12.5%||14,298|
|Nonpartisan||Bess I. Altwerger||10.9%||12,412|
|Nonpartisan||Zaneb K. Beams||8.5%||9,752|
|Nonpartisan||Maureen Evans Arthurs||4.9%||5,572|
|Source: Maryland State Board of Elections, "Unofficial Results for the 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election," accessed June 25, 2014 These election results are unofficial. They will be updated once certified election results are available.|
What's at stake?
Issues in the election
Ethics claims against Cynthia Vaillancourt
On May 8, 2014, the Board of Education approved a resolution by a 5-2 vote admonishing member Cynthia L. Vaillancourt for violating board confidentiality. The resolution stated that Vaillancourt disclosed information from closed sessions to outside parties and interfered with work done by the county's five-member ethics panel. Vaillancourt accused her fellow board members of inserting themselves into the 2014 election by engaging in "nasty politics" and following "base motives." She also argued that fellow board members left her out of e-mail threads about ongoing ethics investigations, which forced her to directly contact the county panel. Outgoing board member Brian Meshkin, who joined Vaillancourt in voting against the resolution, also criticized the board for damaging the board's integrity with these accusations.
Board president Ellen Flynn Giles stated after the resolution that the board had previously warned Vaillancourt about her communications with outside parties regarding confidential matters. The resolution could be the first step toward future actions against Vaillancourt including official censure and impeachment. Giles and fellow board members Janet Siddiqui, Sandra H. French and Frank Aquino were involved in the attempted removal of board member Allen Dyer in 2011. Dyer remained in office through the end of his term in 2012 due to legal challenges to the board's actions.
Suspension, resumption of Corey Andrews's campaign
Corey Andrews suspended his campaign for a board seat on May 19, 2014 in response to an increasingly negative tone in the election. Andrews cited the board's resolution against Cynthia L. Vaillancourt and claimed that board members have abused their powers to maintain their positions on the board. Andrews sent the following e-mail to supporters on May 19, 2014 to explain his campaign's suspension:
I got into this race to make a difference for the Howard County Public School System. It is important that we protect this local treasure.
The fact is, there are forces preventing those who want to make a difference from doing so. The Howard County Board of Education exposed its corruption a few weeks ago when it abused its power and censured Cindy Vaillancourt in the attempt to smear her name before the upcoming election. Board members have had their personal emails breached by school system staff. Critical documents have been withheld from some Board members. There have even been attempts at physical intimidation by other Board members.
Several Board members, along with a select few candidates, have been coordinating an effort to control the Board and who is on it. Two candidates have resorted to extremely negative campaigning behind closed-doors.
This is not the first time I have run for this position. When I filed to run, I was prepared for a heated campaign. I was not prepared to deal with corruption and abuse of power and am not interested in serving on a Board with people who use such unethical tactics.
Therefore, I am immediately suspending by campaign for the Howard County Board of Education.
Sometimes, it feels like the "bad guys" are winning. The people of Howard County deserve better than this.
—The Baltimore Sun, (2014), 
Andrews reconsidered his withdrawal and resumed his campaign on June 10, 2014. In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Andrews stated that he received supportive e-mails and phone calls after his withdrawal that encouraged resumption of his campaign. Andrews withdrew from the race after the deadline to remove names from the ballot so his name would have appeared on the primary ballot if his campaign remained suspended. He placed 12th in the primary election and did not advance to the general election.
About the district
- See also: Howard County Public Schools, Maryland
Howard County outperformed the rest of Maryland in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 59.5 percent of Howard County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 36.3 percent for Maryland as a whole. The median household income in Howard County was $107,821 compared to $72,999 for the state of Maryland. The poverty rate in Howard County was 4.4 percent compared to 9.4 percent for the entire state.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Bess + Altwerger + Howard + County + Public + Schools"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- The Baltimore Sun, "Towson education professor seeks seat on Howard school board," May 13, 2014
- Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System, "View Filed Reports," accessed June 3, 2014
- The Baltimore Sun, "Teachers union announces recommendations for Howard Board of Ed. race," April 24, 2014
- The Baltimore Sun, "Howard County Times' endorsements for school board race in the primary election," June 18, 2014
- The Baltimore Sun, "Howard BOE accuses member Vaillancourt of confidentiality breach," May 8, 2014
- The Baltimore Sun, "Administrative law judge upholds Dyer impeachment," December 6, 2012
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- The Baltimore Sun, "Andrews suspends campaign for Howard BOE," May 20, 2014
- The Baltimore Sun, "Andrews says he's back in race for Howard BOE," June 11, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Howard County, Maryland," accessed June 3, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed June 3, 2014
- Maryland State Board of Elections, "Voter Registration Activity Report," March 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
|2014 Howard County Public Schools Elections|
|Howard County, Maryland|
|Election date:||November 4, 2014|
|Candidates:||At-large: • Bess I. Altwerger • Corey Andrews • Tom Baek • Zaneb K. Beams • Olga Butler • Allen Dyer • Maureen Evans Arthurs • Sandra H. French • Dan Furman • Leslie Kornreich • Christine O'Connor • Mike Smith • Cynthia L. Vaillancourt|
|Important information:||What's at stake? • Key deadlines • Additional elections on the ballot|