Ann De Lacy has a lot of questions about the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), and she plans to bring them all to the table as a newly elected member of the Board of Education.
“I will continue to work very hard to make sure that things are open, public and that we have a truly world class school system for every single student in Howard County,” she said Wednesday morning. “I’m going to ask tough questions and expect honest answers.”
In a race that at times saw candidates separated by less than one percent, De Lacy came in second place, with 16.6 percent of the vote. Incumbents Janet Siddiqui and Ellen Flynn Giles came in first and third place, respectively.
Coming in fourth was Bob Ballinger, with 15.35 percent; David Gertler came in third with 14.95 percent and Jackie Scott was sixth with 14.23 perrcent.
De Lacy was endorsed by the Howard County Education Association, the teachers' union of which she was once president, and the African American Coalition of Howard County.
The HCEA had also endorsed Scott and Gertler, while the AACHC also endorsed Scott and Siddiqui.
De Lacy said she spent Election Day at Swansfield Elementary School. “I wanted to see all of my neighbors, it’s where I’m comfortable,” she said. “It’s my community.”
Being comfortable around schools was one of the credentials De Lacy, a former schoolteacher, brought to this contest. She has taught in the Howard County School System for decades, served as president of the teachers’ union and is a member of the HCPSS Operating Budget Committee.
That experience, she said, means, “I know where the money is, if I don’t know, I know where to find it.”
De Lacy said she wants to know if that money is being spent wisely. To do that, she said, the school system needs to institute an audit system so that the Board can see if programs they’ve funded are effective.
De Lacy also wants to bring change to a redistricting policy that she said under-enrolls some schools while the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches is growing in schools just down the road.
“The redistricting process is broken," she said, but "People don’t know."
“They don’t know that right up the street from Swansfield [Elementary Schoool] where there’s 38 percent free and reduced lunch, 10 minutes away is Clarksville [Elementary School] and they have 1 percent, and it’s under enrolled.”
Information is powerful, De Lacy said, and she wants to make sure it is available to stakeholders for the benefit of students in a school district that has the possibility – particularly with a new superintendent – to be visionary.
“I just think that there is so much we can do,” she said, “And I can’t wait.”
She will join the board officially in December.
This article has been edited to indicate De Lacy came in second place and Giles came in third.