News briefs

News briefs

September 19, 1990

SCHOOLS CLOSER TO REIMBURSEMENT

The county school system has moved one step closer to state reimbursement for part of the cost of three completed elementary school additions.

The state Board of Public Works, which consists of the governor, comptroller and state treasurer, gave planning approval early this month to additions to Northfield, Centennial Lane and St. John's Lane elementary schools.

Planning approval doesn't guarantee reimbursement, but means the state government will "most likely" insert some money for the projects in the following fiscal year's budget, said Sydney L. Cousin, associate superintendent for finance and operations for county schools.

The county school system asked for $673,000 in state aid for the $2.1 million Northfield project, and $275,000 apiece for the $655,000 Centennial Lane and the $900,000 St. John's Lane projects.

The BPW indicated that the county is likely to get $633,000, about half the $1.2 million requested.

The difference is in the square footage of each addition that was eligible for state financing, explained Yale Stenzler, executive director of the state Interagency Committee for School Construction.

The state calculates its share of the project cost based on enrollment projections multiplied by 90 square feet per pupil. If the local school system builds additional square footage, it will have to pay the full cost of the additional space, Stenzler said.

County school officials used transfer tax revenue and bond issues to pay construction costs, rather than delay the projects until the state government agreed to share the cost.

The Northfield project, completed in August 1986, gave the school kindergarten, art, music and physical education areas and increased capacity from 400 to 600 students.

At Centennial Lane, capacity was increased by 125 students in a project completed in August 1987. At St. John's Lane, a project completed in September 1988 increased capacity by 125 students, to a total of 619 and added space for gifted and talented classes and a computer resource room.

NO MORE WEDDINGS FOR NON-DEPUTIZED CLERK

Howard County Clerk of Courts C. Merritt Pumphrey said the court worker whom he did not deputize will not be allowed to perform weddings for a while.

"I'm obviously not going to let her do any more weddings until this thing gets straightened out," Pumphrey said.

He decided four years ago not to deputize Laura Pannebecker as a deputy clerk, but since then she has performed hundreds of marriage ceremonies.

The state permits only deputized employees to perform the ceremonies.

The state attorney general's office last week advised Pumphrey either to swear in Pannebecker or stop her from performing any more ceremonies.

Pumphrey said Sunday that he doubts that his failure to deputize Pannebecker leaves open the possibility that any of the hundreds of marriages she has conducted in the last four years could face a legal challenge.

But some family law attorneys said that although the courts are not likely to declare the marriages invalid, the issue is not clear-cut.

Fredric G. Antenberg, a lawyer in the county, suggested that couples married by Pannebecker who want to take a conservative approach may want to retake their vows "so there wouldn't be a cloud over the validity."

People who conduct marriages without proper authority can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined $500. Pannebecker has been on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Howard County Circuit Judge J. Thomas Nissel said he was unaware that Pumphrey had not deputized an employee who has been performing weddings.

"I would just assume that would have happened," Nissel said. "If someone doesn't have a license, it doesn't invalidate a marriage, but I would have to look into it."

LOCAL BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS PARTNERS

Two schools signed educational partnerships with local businesses for the 1990-1991 school year.

Head Ski of Columbia will help Deep Run Elementary School students form a ski club. It will give career presentations on fashion design, corporate management, marketing and computer-assisted design.

J.M. Gaske/Key Press of Ellicott City will print the student-parent handbook and PTA stationery for Worthington Elementary School. Employees from the printing company will provide career information and tours.

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