Tishan D. Weerasooriya

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Tishan D. Weerasooriya
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Former candidate for
Board member, Harford County Board of Education, District D
Elections and appointments
Last electionJune 24, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Education
Associate'sHarford Community College
Personal
ProfessionCollege student
Tishan D. Weerasooriya was a candidate for the District D seat on the Harford County Board of Education in Maryland. He lost election against incumbent Nancy Reynolds and challengers Chris Scholz and Mike Simon in a primary election on June 24, 2014.

Biography

Weerasooriya earned an associate degree in biology and chemistry from Harford Community College. He is currently completing a bachelor's degree in psychology and political science from Towson University.[1]

Elections

2014

See also: Harford County Public Schools elections (2014)

Opposition

The June 24, 2014, primary ballot included primaries for Districts B, C, D, E and F with the top two vote recipients in each primary advancing to the general election on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Robert "Bob" Frisch and challenger Laura Runyeon defeated Greg Johnson in District B. District C incumbent Alysson L. Krchnavy and challenger Joseph L. Voskuhl advanced to the general election by defeating John Anker. Nancy Reynolds faced challenger Mike Simon in her bid for another term in District D after defeating challengers Chris Scholz and Tishan D. Weerasooriya in the primary. The primary race for District E resulted in board member Arthur Kaff and newcomer Rachel Gauthier defeating Stephen Eric Macko and Barney Michel. Macko dropped out of the race after the withdrawal deadline which meant his name still appeared on the ballot. District F incumbent Thomas Fitzpatrick and Michael R. Hitchings squared off in the general election after defeating Joe Fleckenstein in the primary.

The District A race advanced to the general election without a primary as newcomers Frederick A. Mullis and Jansen M. Robinson were the only candidates to file for the seat.

In the general election Jansen M. Robinson won District A, incumbent Robert "Bob" Frisch was returned to District B, challenger Joseph L. Voskuhl defeated incumbent Alysson L. Krchnavy for District C, incumbent Nancy Reynolds won District D, newcomer Rachel Gauthier defeated incumbent Arthur Kaff for District E and incumbent Thomas Fitzpatrick won another term in District F.

This was the first time that county voters selected members for these seats on the Harford County Board of Education. Board members were appointed by the governor prior to a 2009 state law that turned six of the nine board seats into elected positions. There were board elections for two-year terms in Districts A, B and D in November 2010. Victorious candidates in the general election will take office in July 2015 along with three newly appointed members.[2]

Results

Harford County Public Schools, District D Primary Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngNancy Reynolds Incumbent 55.2% 3,212
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMike Simon 20.5% 1,193
     Nonpartisan Chris Scholz 16.2% 944
     Nonpartisan Tishan D. Weerasooriya 8% 466
Total Votes 5,815
Source: Maryland State Board of Elections, "Official 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for Harford County," July 17, 2014

Funding

Weerasooriya reported no contributions or expenditures to the Maryland State Board of Elections prior to the primary.[3]

Endorsements

Weerasooriya received the endorsement of the New Harford Democratic Club prior to the primary.[4]

Campaign themes

2014

Weerasooriya explained his themes for the 2014 race in an interview with The Baltimore Sun:

Q: How will you address the budget issues that each year leave Harford County Public Schools millions of dollars short of what school system officials say they need to operate?

Historically, Harford County has allocated 50% or more of the county's budget to the public school system. The leading Maryland counties in education, all allocate 50% and higher. Harford, however has reduced this to 46% in the recent years. Howard County, which has one of the best systems in the State allocate 51.5% of their budget for schools and if this happened in Harford County we would add an additional $24 MILLION to our school system . My goal is to improve relationships and rebuild our trust which has been severed in the recent years, with the County Executive and County Council in order to raise the current allocation from 46% to 51.5%. This will provide for an addition $24 million for the public school system, and can be done if a new form of leadership is added to the School Board, which will allow both sides to actually work together.

Q: In the wake of years of tragedies committed in schools across the country, please explain your position on school safety and security and what, if anything, should be done in Harford County Public Schools.

One of my proposals is to add a police officer to every school, ensuring the safety for our children.

Q: What is your position on two controversial cost savings measures – ending bus transportation waivers for students who live close to school and having tiered schedules in elementary schools to save on the number of buses needed.

Through this budget crisis, controversial measures were implemented in order to save money. Until a new form of leadership arrives at the School Board, and relations and trust can be rebuilt between the School Board and the County Executive/Council, we will not be able to add adequate funds to our schools. These two cost saving measures will have to continue until these relations are rebuilt and county budget funds are increased.

Q: How will you address student achievement in all ages in the various testing programs?

No individual whom decided to become a teacher, wanted become one in order to teach to a standardized test. Nor is standardized testing an adequate measure of a child's intelligence and comprehension. New testing programs must be researched in order to redefine student achievement in all ages.

Q: How has HCPSS performed in implementing the Common Core state standards? Should anything be done differently as the school system continues its implementation?

Implementation of Common Core has been a fumbled process on a statewide and federal level. The new curriculum has been implemented to fast, leaving our teachers and students confused and irritated. I would create new seminars in order to help our teachers understand the new components of Common Core. I would also create a website in which teachers and administrators are free to post to one another, asking questions about concepts they are having trouble with in the classroom. It is my intent to have other teachers answer these posts with what they have learned in their experiences. If an adequate answer can not be provided, I will take it to the proper individuals in order to find an appropriate answer.[5]

The Baltimore Sun, (2014), [6]

About the district

See also: Harford County Public Schools, Maryland
Harford County Public Schools is located in Harford County, Maryland
Harford County Public Schools is based in Bel Air, the county seat of Harford County, Maryland. Harford County is home to 249,215 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[7] Harford County Public Schools is the eighth-largest school district in Maryland, serving 38,224 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[8]

Demographics

Harford County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Maryland in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.5 percent of Harford 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 Harford County was $80,441 compared to $72,999 for the state of Maryland. The poverty rate in Harford County was 7.5 percent compared to 9.4 percent for the entire state.[7]

Racial Demographics, 2012[7]
Race Harford County (%) Maryland (%)
White 81.4 60.8
Black or African American 13.1 30.0
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3 0.5
Asian 2.8 6.0
Two or More Races 2.3 2.5
Hispanic or Latino 3.8 8.7

Party registration, 2014[9]
Party Number of registered voters
Republican 67,823
Democratic 62,655
Unaffiliated 29,607
Other 1,215
Libertarian 814
Green 316
Total 162,430

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.[10]

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See also

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