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County seeks state aid for Salem

January 24, 2001

County seeks state aid for Salem



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


ANNAPOLIS - Washington County education officials pleaded with the state Wednesday to help renovate the poorest school in the county, which also happens to be the highest-performing school in the county.

"Salem Avenue Elementary is almost an anomaly," Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. told the Maryland Board of Public Works.

While it has the highest proportion of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, Salem Avenue is the No. 1 ranked school in the county on Maryland's standardized tests, he said.

Washington County needs the state's approval to start planning a renovation and addition at the 50-year-old school.

The School Board wants to make room for fifth-grade students who are now attending Western Heights Middle School.

Parents are worried that's a disruptive environment for their children, who are being exposed to adolescent social issues at an earlier age, the school's two parent organizations wrote in a letter of support.

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"We'd like to take the opportunity to pull that community back together," Bartlett said.

Also testifying before the Board of Public Works on Wednesday were School Board President J. Herbert Hardin, Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington, and Salem Avenue Principal David Unruh.

The group got some positive feedback from the three-member board.

"I'll support your effort because I think you need it out in Western Maryland," said state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer.

The state has already approved $4.3 million for school construction projects in the county in the 2002 budget year, said Dennis McGee, facilities director.

The money will be used to:

- Remodel and build an addition at Williamsport Elementary School.

- Update wiring for computers at Marshall Street School, Maugansville Elementary, Fairview Outdoor School and Washington County Technical High School.

- Replace the roof of E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

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