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Still more options for schools proposed

January 09, 2002

Still more options for schools proposed



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


Prompting laughs from some fellow Washington County School Board members and staff, Vice President Bernadette Wagner asked the board to consider several proposals Tuesday, including closing Hancock and Conococheague Elementary schools and combining the students and turning Hancock Middle-Senior High School into a school for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Wagner said she was responding to Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan's charge to the School Board to "think outside of the box" when considering options dealing with the redistricting of students.

Wagner also proposed:

--Building one school for Hancock and Clear Spring high school students.

--Sending Clear Spring Middle School students to Clear Spring High School.

--Using Clear Spring Middle School as a third through fifth-grade school for Clear Spring and Conococheague elementary students.

--Using Clear Spring Elementary School as a kindergarten though second-grade school for Clear Spring and Conococheague elementary students.

"Mrs. Wagner is thinking out of the box. I think it's a Cracker Jack box," School Board member Paul Bailey joked.

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Director of Facilities Dennis McGee laughed at the proposals and said Hancock Elementary School, built in 1977, was the county's third-newest building.

While some made light of Wagner's recommendations, others said the options should receive some consideration.

"It's really in rough shape," Morgan said.

"They complained about the acoustics," School Board member Roxanne Ober said of the school's staff.

"The carpeting is just awful," Morgan responded.

"The lighting's not good," Wagner said.

"I think we are getting off track here," School Board member Doris Nipps said. "I'm not sure that I'm willing to look at options about changing other high schools."

Wagner said her proposals would keep Conococheague students in a rural setting if the school were to close; create one, larger high school for Hancock and Clear Springs students, which would provide more programs than their current, smaller high schools; and take away pressure from the Washington County Commissioners to save on long-term capital costs.

"It gives people something to think about," Wagner said. "It opens up possibilities."

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