Barney Michel

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Barney Michel
Barney Michel.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, Harford County Board of Education, District E
Elections and appointments
Next generalJune 24, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Maryland-College Park
Master'sFlorida Institute of Technology
ProfessionDefense consultant
Barney Michel was a candidate for the District E seat on the Harford County Board of Education in Maryland. He lost election against incumbent Arthur Kaff and challengers Rachel Gauthier and Stephen Eric Macko in a primary election on June 24, 2014.


Michel earned a B.S. in government and politics from the University of Maryland-College Park. He later received a M.S. in systems analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology. Michel currently works as an independent defense consultant.[1]



See also: Harford County Public Schools elections (2014)


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]


Harford County Public Schools, District E Primary Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRachel Gauthier 43.2% 1,831
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngArthur Kaff Incumbent 24.7% 1,049
     Nonpartisan Barney Michel 17.9% 760
     Nonpartisan Stephen Eric Macko 14.1% 599
Total Votes 4,239
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.


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


Michel received no official endorsements in this election.

Campaign themes


Michel 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?

HCPS have been systematically underfunded for years. This has led to a structural deficit in education funding that cannot be addressed overnight. All stakeholders must participate fully and openly in a collaborative effort to identify, validate and prioritize the current and future funding needs and sources. Education must not continue to be treated as an expense to be minimized. We need a new approach that recognizes education as an investment in our human capital for our community's future.

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.

I do not believe it is possible or realistic to plan for every contingency. HCPS strikes the proper balance between providing for the safety and security of our students and educators while not interfering excessively in the daily operations of our schools.

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.

Both these measures, while well-intentioned, have had unforseen effects and together do not generate enough savings to warrant the negative impact on our students. I suggest we consider a more comprehensive, system-wide approach to maximizing our student transportation efficiency. We need to include our bus contractors in this process, leveraging their insights to achieve this.

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

I do not understand this question.

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

Overall, I would give HCPS a grade of "B." The basic work has been done but there is room and need for improvement. The fact that it was rolled out at the same time as the new teacher evaluation system has resulted in oversaturation for both teachers and administrators. The system needs to fine tune the process based on best practices identified from lessons learned.


The Baltimore Sun, (2014), [1]

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.[5] Harford County Public Schools is the eighth-largest school district in Maryland, serving 38,224 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[6]


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.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2012[5]
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[7]
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.[8]

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