Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Morse seeks his first full term on Board of Education

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Jeff Morse of Taneytown is seeking to be elected to a full term on the Carroll County Board of Education to continue working on projects he has been involved with and helping put new ideas into place.

‘‘[My time so far] has demonstrated for me that I love this work,” Morse said.

Morse, 53, was appointed in May 2007 to complete the term of Tom Hiltz, who resigned citing personal reasons. He is one of six people running for two seats on the Carroll County Board of Education. The top four vote-getters in the Feb. 12 primary will move onto the Nov. 4 General Election.

‘‘I think I’d be even better in a full term,” said Morse, who teaches science at Littlestown High School in Littlestown, Pa.

If elected, he said his role as a teacher would continue to be an asset to the board. ‘‘In board discussions and administrative discussions, having a current teachers’ perspective is critical,” he said.

Being a teacher in another school system allows him to compare what is happening in Pennsylvania to what Carroll County and Maryland are doing, he said.

Carroll County Public Schools is in the process of installing cameras in schools as part of its security measures, and Morse said he has seen firsthand where cameras in the hallway can be a benefit in schools.

‘‘It’s made it much quicker in solving those petty vandalism problems,” he said. ‘‘We can’t turn our schools into prisons,” he said, adding that he is in favor of ‘‘reasonable monitoring at the door.”

Information sharing goes both ways, he said, adding that he brings ideas from Carroll County to Littlestown, such as the cell phone alert system that the county is working on. ‘‘It [has] been a benefit in both ways.”

Communicating within the school system and the community is also important, he said; it is also ‘‘an ongoing problem.”

He would like to see the county continue to use the EschoolNewsletter to electronically send messages, and be clearer about at which meetings the public is permitted to offer comments.

He said he always e-mails people back except for in the case of mass e-mails. ‘‘I think I’ve done a good job,” he said about responding to questions and comments that he has received. ‘‘It can be a challenge. ... It comes with the territory.”

Morse said he would also like to take advantage of a slowdown in the county’s growth to update schools instead of building new ones.

Ten years ago, he said, capacity was the focus on the school system, and several schools were built to accommodate a growing a number of students. ‘‘That is no longer the top need.”

Schools that open under capacity provide opportunity for students to get ahead, he said. He would like to see the extra space be used as locations to offer college classes through a partnership with Carroll Community College. He also thinks a similar setup could be arranged in the new fine arts wing at South Carroll High School.

‘‘We could make college in the classroom very meaningful in Carroll County,” Morse said.

To contact Morse, send e-mails to