WASHINGTON (WMAL) – There’s no Interest in Montgomery County Board of Education seats according to the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County. Of the four seats up for grabs on the board, nobody is running for one. The candidates running for the other three seats are all unopposed.
“We have really the worst interest we’ve ever seen. In our experience we’ve never seen where people don’t even run for a seat at all,” said coalition member Janis Sartucci.
Board president Michael Durso said the small number of candidates doesn’t mean people aren’t interested. He would be surprised if other people didn’t enter the races before the Feb. 27 deadline. He also believes some people may be waiting to see who else runs.
Perhaps the biggest roadblock preventing people from running for seats on the board is the hefty time commitment according to Durso. He said in an average week he spends 20 to 30 hours on board work including preparation for meetings, full board meetings, committee meetings, community events and correspondence with constituents.
“Probably a lot of people don’t have that kind of flexibility where they can be out and about during the workday,” Durso said. Nobody on the current board works according to Durso.
Sartucci, however, does not believe, people are shying away from running for the board because of time commitments. She contends repeated incidents of sexual abuse in the school system have people to avoid serving on the board.
“Montgomery County is getting a reputation for not protecting children, which is subjecting them to lawsuits, so I don’t think a lot of people want to take on that responsibility of stepping in for a board of education that has failed so miserably in keeping children safe,” Sartucci said.
In the fall of 2017, a substitute teacher was arrested and charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student. A few months before that, a longtime Montgomery County teacher was found guilty of sexually abusing four students. An 11-year-old reported John Vigna after taking a body safety class at school where she learned about inappropriate touching.
Sartucci encourages anyone considering running for a seat to file papers as soon as possible.
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