Briefs: Schools soon to get free snacks

November 02, 1999

Schools soon to get free snacks

Students at Hancock, Bester and Winter Street elementary schools will be able to get free snacks during after-school programs beginning in about two weeks, according to Food and Nutrition Supervisor Gary Dodds.

The United States Department of Agriculture is offering the new program because nutritious snacks are important for effective learning and help kids learn the importance of nutrition, Dodds said.

To be eligible, more than 50 percent of a school's students must be eligible for free and reduced lunches. Salem Avenue and Lincolnshire elementary schools are also eligible but do not have after-school programs.


After School Snacks targets families with severe needs, Dodds said. But any student enrolled in intramural sports, homework assistance programs or arts and crafts after school can eat for free.

The snacks will be crackers and juice, milk and cookies or a sandwich and milk. Each snack costs about 44 cents and the government will reimburse the Washington County Board of Education.

School Board attorney hired

Lawyer Judith S. Bresler, whose practice is in Columbia, Md., has been hired to act as attorney for the Washington County Board of Education, a choice one board member criticized as expensive and too far away.

"I just think it's important to have a local person," said board member Mary Wilfong. She said lawyers who live in the area have local contacts and a better understanding of local culture.

"Not only is she expensive, but she's got miles to go," she said.

School Board President Edwin Hayes said the board put out a bid for a lawyer three months ago. Twelve responded and the board narrowed the pool to three applicants, he said. The board interviewed the final applicants two weeks ago and reached a decision Monday, he said.

The board's former attorney, Richard McGrory, was not one of the 12 applicants, according to Community Relations Specialist Donna Messina.

Several board members defended Bresler as the best choice.

"She knows education," said board member Doris J. Nipps. In the long run, her knowledge may reduce the board's legal expenses, she said. "I believe she has the expertise this board needs."

Board member Herbert J. Hardin said 80 percent of Bresler's legal work is in education. "To me, she was the best candidate," he said.

Paul Bailey said Bresler best fit the board's criteria.

Wilfong and School Board President Edwin Hayes voted against hiring Bresler. Hayes refused to answer questions following the meeting.

Kids to help get vote out

Washington County's kids will help get the vote out again during the upcoming presidential election, thanks to Allegheny Power.

The company is sponsoring Kids Voting Maryland, a project that teaches students about the election process in an effort to make them regular voters. The 2000 election will be the third time it is used in the county.

Allegheny Power representatives Tuesday proposed the project to the Washington County Board of Education, which agreed by consensus to support it.

Through the program, children cast mock ballots at polls and encourage their parents to vote along with them. Volunteers work at polling stations to compile results for the young voters.

Project Coordinator Frank Clopper said 9,000 children turned out during Kids Voting's first year in Washington County. Its goal is to make children lifelong voters.

"If you start young, you are often successful," said Allegheny employee Carolyn Shaw.

This year will include a poster contest promoting the program. "It's a community-wide effort and it catalyzes the election process," Shaw said.

Keller Bruner to serve as auditors

Keller Bruner and Co. will serve as auditors for the Washington County Board of Education, which voted to extend the firm's contract Tuesday.

The company has been the School Board's independent auditor for three years. The board is not required to seek a formal bid, so Budget and Finance Director Chris South negotiated a deal proposal.

Under the agreement, the company will provide services in fiscal 2000 for $32,100, about $600 more than last year's cost, according to South. The School Board has an option to renew the contract for two more years at a consecutive cost of $33,225 and $34,550.

ID badge policy approved

A policy requiring all school system employees to wear identification badges will take effect as soon as the cards are ready.

The Washington County Board of Education passed the policy following a second reading Tuesday night. As part of the safety measure, all staff members have had their photographs taken for the badges.

Some 400 employees at the Central Office had their pictures taken last week, McKinley said. Each card will have a pocket clip and collar or necklace-style attachment. Snap-off chains have been ordered so they don't catch on things and hurt the wearers.

Executive Director of Support Services William McKinley said the badges will be ready by mid-December.

Many new teachers Tri-State natives

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