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Howard County Public Schools elections (2014)

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2014 Howard County Public Schools Elections

Primary Election date:
June 24, 2014
General Election date:
November 4, 2014
Table of Contents
About the district
Method of election
What was at stake?
Key deadlines
Additional elections
External links
See also
Howard County Public Schools
Howard County, Maryland ballot measures
Local ballot measures, Maryland
Flag of Maryland.png

Four seats on the Howard County Board of Education were up for general election on November 4, 2014. There was a primary election on June 24, 2014, to narrow the field of candidates for four at-large seats down to eight candidates. Incumbents Sandra H. French and Cynthia L. Vaillancourt faced off against challengers Bess I. Altwerger, Dan Furman, Zaneb K. Beams, Christine O'Connor, Allen Dyer and Mike Smith in the general election. Board members Frank Aquino and Brian Meshkin did not file for re-election in 2014. French, Vaillancourt, Altwerger and O'Connor won the general election.

The 2014 board election highlighted a tense environment for the current board, former board members and candidates. Vaillancourt was formally admonished by fellow board members for ethics violations during a May 8, 2014, meeting. A majority of the board determined that Vaillancourt disclosed confidential information and interfered with the county's ethics panel. She countered that her fellow board members were engaging in political maneuvering during an election year.

Challenger Allen Dyer faced even more scrutiny than Vaillancourt during his one term on the board. Current board members Ellen Flynn Giles, Janet Siddiqui, Sandra H. French and Frank Aquino sought Dyer's removal from office for misconduct and bullying in 2011. Dyer survived long enough to lose in the 2012 primary election due to lengthy appeals to state officials. Giles, Siddiqui, French and Aquino also supported the measure against Vaillancourt in May 2014.

The negative environment surrounding this year's board election led challenger Corey Andrews to initially withdraw from the race on May 19, 2014. In a letter to supporters, Andrews argued that the current board's corruption and political maneuvering exposed the inability of county residents to make changes in the district. He decided to resume his campaign on June 10, 2014, saying that he reconsidered his withdrawal after receiving support from community members. Andrews ultimately lost his primary bid.

See also: What was at stake in the Howard County Board of Education 2014 election?

About the district

See also: Howard County Public Schools, Maryland
Howard County Public Schools is located in Howard County, Maryland
Howard County Public Schools is based in Ellicott City, a city located in Howard County, Maryland. Howard County is home to 304,580 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[1] Howard County Public Schools is the sixth-largest school district in Maryland, serving 51,555 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[2]


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.[1]

Racial Demographics, 2012[1]
Race Howard County (%) Maryland (%)
White 62.3 60.8
Black or African American 18.1 30.0
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 0.5
Asian 15.7 6.0
Two or More Races 3.4 2.5
Hispanic or Latino 6.2 8.7

Party registration, 2014[3]
Party Number of registered voters
Democratic 93,491
Republican 56,260
Unaffiliated 42,856
Other 2,302
Libertarian 868
Green 493
Total 196,270

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, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[4]

Method of board member selection

The Howard County Board of Education consists of seven members elected to four-year terms. Each member represents the entire county from an at-large seat. There was a primary election on June 24, 2014, and a general election took place on November 4, 2014.

Board candidates submitted their statements of organization and certificates of candidacy with the county elections office by February 25, 2014. Each candidate was also required to submit a filing fee of $25 to the county. State law required candidates to be registered voters and residents of the district.[5]

County residents had to register to vote for the primary election by June 3, 2014. The county offered early voting in the primary from June 12, 2014, to June 19, 2014. The deadline to register to vote in the general election was October 14, 2014. Early voting for the general election took place from October 23, 2014, to October 30, 2014.[6]




Candidates defeated in the primary
  • Corey Andrews
    • Student, Howard Community College
  • Maureen Evans Arthurs
    • Graduate, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
    • Wellness coordinator, Howard Community College
  • Tom Baek
    • Graduate, Princeton University
    • Technical writer
  • Olga Butler
    • Small business owner
  • Leslie Kornreich
    • Graduate, University of Virginia and Georgia Southern University
    • STEM assistant, Anne Arundel Community College

Election results

Howard County Public Schools, At-Large General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngCynthia L. Vaillancourt Incumbent 15.9% 44,142
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSandra H. French Incumbent 15.4% 42,810
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBess I. Altwerger 13.6% 37,774
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChristine O'Connor 13.5% 37,561
     Nonpartisan Dan Furman 11.9% 33,114
     Nonpartisan Zaneb K. Beams 10.6% 29,548
     Nonpartisan Allen Dyer 9.9% 27,663
     Nonpartisan Mike Smith 8.8% 24,449
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 1,152
Total Votes 278,213
Source: Maryland State Board of Elections, "Official 2014 Gubernatorial General Election Results for Howard County," December 2, 2014
Howard County Public Schools, At-Large Primary Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngCynthia L. Vaillancourt Incumbent 13.5% 15,851
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSandra H. French Incumbent 12.5% 14,688
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBess I. Altwerger 10.9% 12,733
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDan Furman 10.1% 11,880
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngZaneb K. Beams 8.6% 10,042
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngChristine O'Connor 7.2% 8,477
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAllen Dyer 6.6% 7,724
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMike Smith 5.7% 6,730
     Nonpartisan Leslie Kornreich 5.4% 6,388
     Nonpartisan Olga Butler 5% 5,849
     Nonpartisan Maureen Evans Arthurs 4.9% 5,752
     Nonpartisan Corey Andrews 4.9% 5,744
     Nonpartisan Tom Baek 4.7% 5,482
Total Votes 117,340
Source: Maryland State Board of Elections, "Official 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for Howard County," accessed October 18, 2014


The Howard County Education Association (HCEA) endorsed Bess I. Altwerger, Zaneb K. Beams, Dan Furman and Cynthia L. Vaillancourt.[7] Howard County Times endorsed Bess I. Altwerger, Zaneb K. Beams, Sandra H. French and Cynthia L. Vaillancourt.[8] Furman was also endorsed by former Howard County Board of Education member Patricia Gordon and State Delegate Steven DeBoy Sr. (D-12A).[9] Parents Choice of Maryland endorsed Bess I. Altwerger, Allen Dyer, Sandra H. French and Cynthia L. Vaillancourt.[10]

Campaign finance

Candidates received a total of $22,317.44 and reported $21,943.93 in expenditures as of reports available from the Maryland State Board of Elections on October 20, 2014. State law allows candidates to file Affidavits of Limited Contributions and Expenditures (ALCE) if their campaigns did not accept $1,000 in contributions or spend $1,000 in a particular reporting period. Corey Andrews, Dan Furman, Leslie Kornreich and Cynthia L. Vaillancourt filed ALCEs prior to the primary.[11]

Candidate Existing balance Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Bess I. Altwerger N/A $2,040.00 $1,407.06 $632.94
Corey Andrews $0.44 $0.00 $0.00 $0.44
Tom Baek N/A $16,642.44 $16,642.44 $0.00
Zaneb K. Beams N/A $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Olga Butler $82.05 $225.00 $174.20 $132.85
Allen Dyer $233.65 $0.00 $0.00 $233.65
Maureen Evans Arthurs N/A $2,165.00 $2,353.79 $-188.79
Sandra H. French $1,545.09 $625.00 $522.60 $1,647.49
Dan Furman N/A $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Leslie Kornreich $465.48 $0.00 $465.18 $0.30
Christine O'Connor N/A $0.00 $82.90 -$82.90
Mike Smith N/A $620.00 $295.76 $324.24
Cynthia L. Vaillancourt $90.00 $0.00 $0.00 $90.00

Past elections

What was 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.[12]

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.[12] Dyer remained in office through the end of his term in 2012 due to legal challenges to the board's actions.[13]

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), [15]

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.[16]

Key deadlines

The following dates were key deadlines for the Howard County Public Schools election in 2014:[6]

Deadline Event
February 25, 2014 Deadline for candidate filing
June 3, 2014 Voter registration deadline for primary election
June 12-19, 2014 Early voting for primary election
June 24, 2014 Primary election day
October 14, 2014 Voter registration deadline for general election
October 23-30, 2014 Early voting for general election
November 4, 2014 General election day

Additional elections on the ballot

See also: Maryland elections, 2014

The school board election shared the ballot with county, state and federal elections on November 4, 2014. Residents of Howard County voted in races for county executive, county commission, sheriff and state's attorney. The general election ballot included candidates for governor, attorney general and other state executive offices. Voters also chose candidates for state legislative seats and U.S. House seats on November 4, 2014.[17]

Recent news

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Howard County Public Schools News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 United States Census Bureau, "Howard County, Maryland," accessed June 3, 2014
  2. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed June 3, 2014
  3. Maryland State Board of Elections, "Voter Registration Activity Report," March 2014
  4. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  5. Maryland State Board of Elections, "Requirements for Filing Candidacy," accessed May 6, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Maryland State Board of Elections, "2014 Election Calendar," May 1, 2014
  7. The Baltimore Sun, "Teachers union announces recommendations for Howard Board of Ed. race," April 24, 2014
  8. The Baltimore Sun, "Howard County Times' endorsements for school board race in the primary election," June 18, 2014
  9. Facebook, "Dan Furman: About," accessed October 18, 2014
  10. Parents Choice of Maryland, "Voting Guide for Howard County," accessed October 20, 2014
  11. Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System, "View Filed Reports," accessed October 20, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Baltimore Sun, "Howard BOE accuses member Vaillancourt of confidentiality breach," May 8, 2014
  13. The Baltimore Sun, "Administrative law judge upholds Dyer impeachment," December 6, 2012
  14. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  15. The Baltimore Sun, "Andrews suspends campaign for Howard BOE," May 20, 2014
  16. The Baltimore Sun, "Andrews says he's back in race for Howard BOE," June 11, 2014
  17. Maryland State Board of Elections, "2014 Candidate Listing," accessed June 3, 2014