School Body Prepares for All-Elected Status for the First Time in 12 Years

By Timothy Wilson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The District chose its first fully elected Board of Education in more than a decade yesterday.

Mary Lord in Ward 2, Laura McGiffert Slover in Ward 3, Sekou Biddle in Ward 4, Lisa Raymond in Ward 6 and at-large candidate Ted Trabue were in uncontested races.

Vote counting was slow, but with more than half of precincts reporting by shortly after midnight, there were leaders in the four contested races. In Ward 1, Dottie Love Wade led with 39 percent of the vote with nine of 16 precincts reporting. In Ward 5, Mark Jones led with 47 percent of the vote with 10 of 18 precincts reporting. In Ward 7, Dorothy Douglas led with 54 percent of the vote with 16 of 24 precincts reporting. In Ward 8, state board member William Lockridge led with 67 percent of the vote with eight of 16 precincts reporting.

Board members visited the polls yesterday to inform voters of the value of the body to D.C. residents.

"I'm not selling me; I'm selling this as an important job," Lord said. "It's a job I can do."

Last year, the D.C. Council agreed to give Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) authority over all school curriculum, operations, personnel and facilities. Instead of day-to-day management of the schools, board members are responsible for advising the state superintendent of education on academic standards, teacher accreditation and certification standards, policies for parental involvement and rules for enforcing school attendance requirements.

In July 2000, the board was changed from an all-elected body to a hybrid of five elected members, four mayoral appointees and two student members. Four of the five elected members were from four school districts, each representing two D.C. wards.

The elected at-large member was president. Board President Robert C. Bobb did not seek reelection, and the board will select a president from its members.

The newly elected State Board of Education will be sworn in at noon Jan. 2.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company