Washington County school board briefs

August 12, 2012

Monica Bowers to take over as acting principal at Hickory Elementary School

HALFWAY — Hickory Elementary School will have a new principal this school year.

Timothy J. Aitken, who became principal at Hickory a year ago, has left the school system for personal reasons, school system spokesman Richard Wright said.

Monica L. Bowers will be acting principal at Hickory, a move the board of education approved Aug. 7 as part of personnel moves.

Bowers’ most recent job was listed as Title 1 achievement coordinator, a job she split between Hickory and Lincolnshire elementary schools, Wright said.

Bowers said that job, though it had a different title, involved serving as an assistant principal at those schools.

Before that, she was a student achievement specialist at Hancock Elementary School, Bowers said. Her duties included training and mentoring teachers, and analyzing student academic data.

Earlier, Bowers was a classroom teacher at Winter Street and Clear Spring elementary schools.

BOE sends letters of support to keep rate of slot machine machine funding level at the current range

The Washington County Board of Education agreed to send a letter to state and county officials supporting the current funding contribution level from slot machine revenue to the Maryland Education Trust Fund.

The school board voted 6-0 Aug. 7 to send the letter supporting the current funding level of 48.5 percent to 51 percent amid word there could be an effort to reduce that contribution to 30 percent. Board member Karen Harshman was absent.

Education Trust Fund dollars are used to support state operating aid to public schools, according to an email from Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office. The fund also can be used to support capital or construction projects for public schools, public colleges and universities, and community colleges.

Funding sources for the trust fund include revenue from slots and lottery games, according to an email from Bill Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education.

School board member Donna Brightman brought up the issue at the Aug. 7 board meeting. State legislators began meeting in special session Aug. 9 to consider expanding gambling opportunities in Maryland.

Last week, the state Senate voted for a measure to allow table games and to add a casino in Prince George’s County, according to The Associated Press.

Brightman said there also might be negotiations with state legislators from some areas, such as Baltimore City, who want a larger piece of school construction funds. That could reduce the amount of school construction funds available for other counties, she said.

The letter the school board agreed to send is to include support to protect the existing formula-driven process for school construction money, according to the motion for the letter.

The letter was to be sent to the Washington County delegation of the state legislature, the Washington County Commissioners, the Interagency Committee on School Construction, the governor and state legislative leaders.

— Julie E. Greene

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