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School Board OKs magnet school

April 16, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

After some debate over an anticipated budget shortfall, the Washington County Board of Education voted 4-2 Tuesday to start The Emma K. Doub School for the Integrated Arts and Technology in the 2003-04 school year.

School Board members Jacqueline Fischer and Edward Forrest voted against starting the school next year, noting word that the Washington County Commissioners did not plan to fully fund the board's fiscal year 2004 budget request.

The county's proposed budget lists $74.6 million for the School Board. That amount is about $2.9 million more than the $71.7 million the school board received from the county in the current fiscal year.

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Fischer said she felt it was poor judgment to open another magnet school at a time when the School Board might have to face decisions like increasing class sizes.

School Board Vice President Paul W. Bailey said the School Board knew it was possible the budget would not be fully funded.

"We, I think as a board, committed ourselves to this because we said this is the way we're going to improve the school system in Washington County," he said.

Schools Director of Elementary Education JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown said she has gotten calls from parents requesting application information for the magnet school. She said it would be a disadvantage to the staff and students to wait to make a decision.

The School Board voted 6-0 to approve the new district boundary line for the school by drawing a line around Funkstown and Emma K. Doub elementary schools' existing borders and then removing the line that now separates them.

Forrest said he voted in favor of redrawing the district lines because he respected the School Board's decision to move forward with the magnet school next year.

Fischer said she voted in favor of the redrawn lines because she understood no cost was attached to redrawing the lines.

The school system's second magnet school, which will be made up of students from Emma K. Doub and Funkstown elementary schools, will follow in the footsteps of The Fountaindale School for the Arts and Academic Excellence in Hagerstown's north end.

A total of $198,000 is needed to start the combined Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education and The Emma K. Doub School for the Integrated Arts and Technology.

The cost includes hiring one all-day kindergarten teacher, two gifted and talented teachers, paying for instructional materials, staff development and upgraded technology hardware and software.

Roger Giles, schools director of funded and special programs, said the magnet school would have an expanded focus on enrichment programs in grades 2-5.

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