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Vote set on school busing plan

August 02, 2000

Vote set on school busing plan



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The Washington County Board of Education will hold a special meeting Monday to vote on whether to allow about 45 Allegany County students to attend Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

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The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. at the Board's central office on Commonwealth Avenue in Hagerstown, Board President Paul Bailey said.

"We're either going up or down with it, one way or the other," Bailey said. "It's only fair that we do that. Those kids have to get situated with where they're going to school."

The Allegany County School Board voted Tuesday to give students in grades six through 12 from the Little Orleans area the option of attending the school in Washington County or Fort Hill in Allegany County, according to Allegany Schools Superintendent John O'Connell.

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Parents of the students have pushed to allow their children to attend Hancock, saying it would cut the amount of time they would spend on a school bus from about 90 minutes to about 45 minutes.

The Washington County Board of Education and State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick must also approve the move before a policy can be put in place, O'Connell said.

Bailey said Washington County School Board members cannot comment on the proposal until the board receives official word from the Allegany County School Board. That is expected by Monday.

If the proposal receives final approval and Allegany County students choose Hancock, O'Connell said they must attend the school for a two-year trial period. After that, the policy would be re-evaluated.

O'Connell said Allegany County would pay the $2,149 it normally pays for the local portion of cost per pupil to Washington County. That is about $750 less than the local portion Washington County pays per pupil.

Allegany County plans to ask the state to pay the difference.

"I think they will be agreeable," O'Connell said.

He said Allegany County would absorb transportation costs for the first year of the agreement, while both sides would share costs the second year.

About 336 students were enrolled in Hancock Middle-Senior High School during the 1999-2000 school year. The school's capacity is 628 students.

O'Connell said the move could be a good one for Hancock residents.

"I doubt they will be unhappy with this arrangement, because it increases enrollment in Hancock," he said.

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