As the race for the Frederick County Board of Education enters its final stretch, candidates are reporting modest campaign contributions coming from opposing camps.
According to their latest financial reports, school board candidates Kathryn “Katie” B. Groth and Joy Schaefer — two of the three candidates endorsed by the Frederick County Teachers Association — have received financial support from former and current Frederick County educators and school officials.
The candidates not endorsed by the union, Tony Chmelik and Colleen Cusimano, however, have received individual financial support from members of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners and some critics of the school system.
The five candidates vying for three seats on the school board filed their latest financial reports last week, outlining their fundraising and spending from March 19 through Oct. 21.
Zakir Bengali, a retired scientist from Adamstown, did not raise or spend more than $1,000 and did not have to itemize donations.
According to the reports, which had to be filed by Friday, Groth collected $2,793 in campaign contributions and was the highest fundraiser in the last stage of the race. She is followed closely by Schaefer, a Spring Ridge mother of three, who collected $2,767 in revenues in the latest cycle. Chmelik, a father of 11 who owns a construction business, came third with $2,226 in revenue.
Groth’s contributions came from 37 individual donors, including some of her former school board colleagues, as well as educators and local politicians such as former Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen; Frederick City Alderman Carol Krimm; and Brunswick Mayor Karin Tome. Groth’s biggest donations this cycle were $300 from former school board member Michael Schaden and $250 from Valerie Dale, the wife of former Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale. Gary Brennan, the president of the Frederick County Teachers Association, also contributed $100 to Groth’s campaign.
Schaefer shared some of Groth’s contributers and also received $100 in cash from the Thurmont-based Democrats and Friends, as well as $328 in in-kind contributions from the United Democrats of Frederick County, which financed a newspaper advertisement for seven candidates, including Schaefer.
Schaefer’s revenues this cycle come from a combination of $1,243 in contributions and a loan of $1,614. Schaefer has spent $1,866 on her campaign this cycle.
Chmelik spent $933 on funding his campaign efforts. He received contributions from 13 donors including $150 from Point of Rocks resident Tom Neumark, founder of the Frederick Classical Charter School and a frequent school system critic, as well as an $80 donation from Frederick County Commissioner C. Paul Smith (R). Chmelik’s biggest donations were $1,000 from Ijamsville resident Philip Catron and $500 from Peter Sujansky of Boonsboro.
Chmelik also received in-kind contributions from Frederick County Commissioners Blaine Young (R), Billy Shreve (R) and Kirby DeLauter (R), who split the cost of a $256 newspaper ad endorsing Chmelik before the primary election in April.
Cusimano, an information-technology specialist, raised $475 in contributions and spent $1,274 in the last campaign cycle. Cusimano’s donations came from eight sources, including Neumark, who donated $300.