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County OKs handling 45 Allegany kids

August 07, 2000

County OKs handling 45 Allegany kids



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The Washington County Board of Education voted 7-0 Monday to give about 45 Allegany County students the option of attending Hancock Middle-Senior High School for a two-year trial period, starting at the beginning of this school year.

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Approval came in a special meeting Monday afternoon at the Board's Central Office on Commonwealth Ave.

The students, in grades six through 12, are from the Little Orleans area east of M.V. Smith Road near Interstate 68 and would normally attend Fort Hill in Cumberland.

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 Allegany Board of Education approved the move last week. State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick must give final approval before the plan can be put in place. Both sides expect state approval to come within the next few weeks.

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If students choose to attend Hancock, they must remain at the school for at least two years, both school boards have said.

According to preliminary figures, Washington County Board members said the county would receive $2,805 from Allegany County, which is what that county allocates per student. But because the Washington County local contribution will be $3,436 per student in fiscal year 2001, the state Department of Education is responsible under state law to fund the difference, Washington County Board member J. Herbert Hardin said.

"Washington County taxpayers would not be able to say that we educate Allegany County students for less than we pay," Hardin said.

Also under the agreement between both school boards, Allegany County would pay for and bus the students from Little Orleans to Hancock for the first year. Students would be bused to the Fort Hill fire hall, where they would switch to a different bus that will drive them to Hancock. They would arrive at the school at about 8:05 a.m. and leave at 3:35 p.m., according Hardin.

Once the first year is up, both sides would re-negotiate the busing issue, with Washington County possibly supplying some of the transportation. The entire agreement would be reviewed at the end of the trial agreement.

The Washington County Board of Education also voted to form a transition committee to help ease the school change for students.

"Every effort will be made to accommodate them and to increase their opportunity for learning," Board President Paul Bailey said.

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