November 8, 2016 Referendum on School Board

In the November 2016 election, the ballot for registered voters in Wicomico County included three options for choosing future Board members, as outlined in Senate Bill 145 (signed into law on April 26, 2016, by Gov. Larry Hogan).

Following each option, as it was presented on the ballot, is the percentage of the vote that option received:


Wicomico County Ballot Question A:

Please indicate which of the three methods for selecting members of the Wicomico County Board of Education you prefer.

  • For Retaining the Current System, a Board of Education with Seven Members Appointed by the Governor (25.2%)
  • For a Board of Education with Five Members Elected by District and Two Members Elected at Large (50.4%)
  • For a Board of Education with Five Members Elected by District and Two Members Appointed by the Wicomico County Council (24.4%)

Based on the outcome of the November 2016 election, members of the Wicomico County Board of Education will be elected starting with the November 2018 election. Five members will be elected by councilmanic district, and two will be elected at large by all county voters. Each Board member will serve a four-year term, starting on the first Monday in December after the election.


Prior to this outcome, the seven members of the Wicomico County Board of Education had been appointed by the Governor of Maryland, with local input. Senate Bill 145 details the role of a new Wicomico County School Board Nominating Commission in reviewing and recommending nominees to fill vacancies on the elected Board of Education. The commission is charged with recommending school board members to the Wicomico County Council, which must hold two public hearings prior to approving school board appointments.

The county recently approved the members of the Wicomico County School Board Nominating Commission so the commission could begin evaluating qualified candidates to serve on the Board of Education until the November 2018 election is held and elected Board members are sworn in.

The terms of two appointed Board of Education members are scheduled to end on June 30, 2017: Ronald O. Willey and Dr. Tyrone A. Chase are finishing their second five-year terms as Board members. Additionally, Joseph R. Ollinger, Vice President of the Board, has submitted his resignation to the Governor effective June 30, 2017, making it possible for the School Board Nominating Commission to fill all three seats at the same time, rather than reconvene when his term would have expired next year (June 30, 2018).