Three new School Board candidates emerged and two incumbents were left unopposed when the deadline to enter the race expired last night.
Chairman Lucy S. Beauchamp (At Large) and School Board member Joan R. Ferlazzo (Dumfries) will have no opposition and should resume their seats after the Nov. 2 election. Beauchamp, 49, is regional director of the Prince William United Way. Ferlazzo, 47, teaches social studies at Manassas Park Middle School.
A new candidate, James L. Vencill, who has lived in the Brentsville District for close to 20 years, filed to run against incumbent Lyle G. Beefelt, 39, a financial analyst.
Vencill, who lives in Nokesville, said the controversy over the future closing of Brentsville Middle School propelled him into the race. Brentsville Middle/High School will be converted to a high school by 2002, and the middle school students in the area will be sent to other schools.
"We felt like we just hadn't been heard on this issue at all," Vencill said. "However you slice it, the best education to be had in Prince William is out at Nokesville Elementary, Brentsville Middle and Brentsville High." Closing the middle school will alter the personality of the close-knit area, he believes.
Beefelt said his top issues are to plan a new middle school in the Linton Hall area that would serve Nokesville area students. His "common-sense conservatism" platform also includes strengthening the curriculum.
Diane M. Tramel entered the race against incumbent John David Allen Sr. for the Coles District seat. At Tramel's home last night, a woman who answered the phone said Tramel was not available for comment. Allen, 54, a property manager, has said in position papers that he is a proponent of new school construction and has helped to strengthen the student code of conduct.
Bruce Warner, chief of research and development for information systems at the Defense Systems Management College, is the third candidate in the Neabsco District race. Warner, 50, has lived in the district for more than 20 years and said he's running because he was "getting fed up with kids who were supposed to be high school graduates who didn't know to fill out a job application."
He added, "I think we've gotten too far down the line of trying to socialize them before we teach them to read and write."
Other candidates in the Neabsco District are Carlos Labiosa, 52, and Mary F. Williams, who declined to give her age.
Labiosa, a property manager, has run before. Active in county civic organizations, he said he would give the School Board his full-time commitment. Williams, who taught for 20 years at Dale City Elementary, said she offers a teacher's perspective to the board. Incumbent John Harper Jr. bowed out of the race because of health problems.
Here are the candidates in other races:
Gainesville District: Campaigning began early for the seat in this fast-growing district, which has to face the issue of balancing school repairs with new construction.
Incumbent Charles J. Colgan III, 25, said he plans to run again to continue some projects started during his tenure on the board, including renovations to Stonewall Jackson High.
Gail Johnson, 55, who owns a home-based graphics and editorial service company, was one of the first candidates to announce. Johnson said she plans to be an accessible board member and will concentrate on promoting community schools and a strong basic education.
Don Richardson, 42, also declared his intention to run early. A software engineer, he said his background would help ensure the system was using technology well.
Woodbridge District: Incumbent Steven Keen, 44, will face challenger Dennis C. Stewart, 48, in the fall elections. Keen, a retail manager, said he is proud of the steps the School Board has taken toward fiscal responsibility, reading instruction and parental choice in instruction.
Stewart, a computer specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers, was an appointed School Board member from 1992 to 1995. He would like to see more money for schools coming from state and federal sources, improved reading instruction and funds directed to renovations for older schools.
Occoquan District: Attorney Keith Scarborough, 46, and retired Navy officer Steve Wassenberg, 57, are vying for this seat.
Scarborough, who works with the Association of National Advertisers, said school quality needs to be seen as more a quality-of-life and economic development issue. Wassenberg holds a seat on the county Park Authority Board. He supports increasing discipline in the classroom and a strong core education.
The incumbent, Linda H. Lutes, is not running for reelection.