Olga Butler

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Olga Butler
Olga Butler.JPG
Former candidate for
Board member, Howard County Board of Education, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionJune 24, 2014
Term limitsN/A
ProfessionSmall business owner
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Olga Butler was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Howard County Board of Education in Maryland. She lost election against 12 other candidates in a primary election on June 24, 2014.


Butler earned a B.A. in communications. She is currently completing graduate work at Stevenson University. Butler is a small business owner. She also serves as the president of the Long Reach High School Booster Club. Butler and her husband have two children.[1]



See also: Howard County Public Schools elections (2014)


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 faced off in the general election on November 4, 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


Butler began the race with an existing account balance of $82.05 from her previous campaign. She reported $225.00 in contributions and $174.20 in expenditures to the Maryland State Board of Elections, which left her campaign with $132.85 on hand.[2]


Butler did not earn official endorsements prior to the primary election.


Howard County Public Schools, At-Large Primary Election, 4-year term, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJanet Siddiqui Incumbent 14.6% 12,054
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAnn DeLacy 10.4% 8,612
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngEllen Flynn Giles Incumbent 9.4% 7,819
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJackie Scott 9.1% 7,500
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Gertier 9% 7,451
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBob Ballinger 7.7% 6,391
     Nonpartisan Patricia S. Gordon 7.5% 6,173
     Nonpartisan Allen Dyer Incumbent 6.6% 5,423
     Nonpartisan Leslie Kornreich 4.5% 3,711
     Nonpartisan Mary Jo Neil 4.4% 3,663
     Nonpartisan Jim Adams 4.2% 3,514
     Nonpartisan Olga Butler 4.2% 3,509
     Nonpartisan Corey Andrews 3.9% 3,228
     Nonpartisan Owen Hanratty 2.6% 2,153
     Nonpartisan Kelly Casey Van Horn 1.9% 1,550
Total Votes 82,751
Source: Maryland State Board of Elections, "2012 Presidential General Election Results," November 28, 2012

Campaign themes


Butler explained her themes for the 2014 race on her campaign website:

Fostering Collaborative Leadership – I believe that as citizens of Howard County we share a common interest to make the system work well for all and to do so we must develop a relationship that allows us to work together, whether we agree or disagree. I will be a strong advocate and effective leader capable of collaboratively working with all stakeholders and support our students, parents and educators to provide the highest quality education possible.

Making Common Core Work - I will tenaciously work with administration, educators and parents to ensure that this new approach to education is being implemented in a manner that best benefits student learning while understanding the needs of our educators.

Leveraging Technology & Education – I support technology in the classroom and the continued training and professional development of our educators. Increased knowledge will afford them the ability to further educate our students and provide opportunities to strengthen and expand teaching and learning.


—Olga Butler's campaign website, (2014) [4]

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.[5]

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.[5] Dyer remained in office through the end of his term in 2012 due to legal challenges to the board's actions.[6]

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) [7]

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.[8]

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.[9] Howard County Public Schools is the sixth-largest school district in Maryland, serving 51,555 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[10]


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.[9]

Racial Demographics, 2012[9]
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[11]
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: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[12]

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