School Board briefs for Thursday

March 18, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

School board praises chamber officials

Two Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce officials - President Fred K. Teeter Jr. and Chairman Tim Henry - were honored by the Washington County Board of Education Tuesday.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan praised Teeter, who is leaving his position April 30, as a "tremendous supporter of public education."

She praised Henry for a $25,000 donation the Chamber of Commerce Foundation made toward a planned arts school in downtown Hagerstown. Henry is also chairman of the foundation.

Teeter and Henry received Golden Apple Award lapel pins.

Janus speaks during comment period

During the citizen comment period at Tuesday's Washington County Board of Education meeting, Tom Janus urged the School Board to remember three R's: re-evaluate, reallocate and report.

Janus ran for the school board in the March 2 primary, but did not receive enough votes to qualify for the general election ballot. He introduced himself on Tuesday as a write-in candidate in the general election.


Janus said the school board needs to think about hundreds of children in the lower grades who are in danger of failing to meet education standards.

Among his suggestions for improving spending were cutting all assistant principal positions and eliminating the purchase of musical instruments.

Hovermale speaks about music, arts

To celebrate Music and Arts in Our Schools Month, Robert Hovermale, the Washington County Board of Education's coordinator of visual and performing arts, on Tuesday talked about and showed pictures of the programs in the school system.

He spoke about the many bands, orchestras, choruses, festivals and shows in the school system each year, as well as various outside partnerships.

Hovermale mentioned that the school system has received 28 musical instruments through a donation program.

"I wish Mr. Janus were here to see all the instruments we had donated," Hovermale said.

Speaking during an earlier public comment period, Tom Janus - who has declared himself a write-in candidate for School Board - suggested that the school system stop buying musical instruments.

Report says mobility may harm students

Four Washington County schools had twice as many new students during a two-year study period than the overall school system average, the Board of Education heard Tuesday.

JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown, the executive director of elementary education, and Leonard Lock, the performance measurement manager, told the board about a study tracking mobility, or student movement into the school system.

The average was 13.5 new students per school. Nine schools exceeded the average and four - Bester, Eastern, Winter Street and Pangborn - had about twice the average, a summary of the mobility report said.

Students who move from one Washington County school to another tend to stay in the school system, Lock said. Students who move from outside the county are much more likely to leave the school system.

Mobility can lead to lower achievement, lower attendance and a lower chance of graduating, the report summary said.

However, board member Russell Williams said he knew of students in U.S. Navy families who changed schools but did well academically.

School board to fax letter to legislators

At board member Roxanne Ober's suggestion, the Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to fax a letter to state legislators about two bills.

One bill clarifies that Washington County building excise tax revenue can be used for education. The other clarifies that the Washington County Commissioners have the power to collect Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance fees.

Ober agreed to write the letter and fax it to Washington County's representatives in the Maryland General Assembly.

Committee hearings on the bills are scheduled for today.

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