Board Ok's School Site

News in brief

October 27, 1991

County school board members gave a quick preliminary approval Thursday to the use of 83 acres on Route 144 east of Triadelphia Road as the site for the planned northern elementary school.

But the Nov. 14board meeting may decide to allocate the site to the urgently neededwestern middle school, said Sydney L. Cousin, associate superintendent for finance and operations.

The western middle school is scheduled to open in September 1993;the northern elementary school is to open one year later.

If the school system's land acquisition staff cannot find a middle school site within the next two to three months, the board may have to use theRoute 144 land for the middle rather than the elementary school, Cousin said.

The property, which is predominantly wooded and has narrow frontage on Route 144, would be more suitable as an elementary school because of joint development plans with the county Recreation andParks Department, he said.

Plans call for the western middle school to be an active community recreation site, with a large gymnasium and ball fields for public use. The Route 144 land would be shared with the Parks Department as a passive recreation site, with picnic tables, hiking paths through the woods, and a bird sanctuary.

School officials will have the land tested to see whether it can support a private well and septic system. If it can, they will begin price negotiations with owner Samuel Cimino Jr.


Parents of about 30 youngsters at a Columbia day-care center found themselvesscrambling for new child-care arrangements this week after the stateDepartment of Human Resources cited the operation for having nearly twice the number of children its license permits.

Fran Sterner, regional manager of the Child Care Administration of the state Department of Human Resources, said LaPetite Child Care's operation in the 8800 block of Columbia 100 Parkway violated the licensing requirement that limited enrollment to 32 children.

Sterner said the department, which licensed the center in April, made three inspections this month after receiving a complaint that enrollment exceeded the limit.

She said that the center started exceeding the limit last month. Shedeclined to say what effect the additional children had on the quality of care. The center reduced enrollment and complied with state licensing regulations Wednesday, she said.

"Some of the parents foundslots at other LaPetite centers, others found other day-care arrangements, while some others were not able to find child care right away," she said.

Sterner said the state agency has a compliant pending against the same day-care operation, but she declined to elaborate. An employee at LaPetite cited by the state said that the director had no comment about the licensing violation.


Budget cuts may force Howard County residents to shovel their own streets and keep their children home from school on snowy days.

Granville W. Wehland, chief of the county's Bureau of Highways, said cutsbeing considered would eliminate overtime for the 90-member county work crew, forcing the county to limit snow removal primarily to the most heavily traveled roads.

"I am concerned that some families might find themselves trapped in cars if there is an awful storm and there will be no county road workers in the area," Wehland said.

Alsoof concern, he said, is the impact that reduced snow clearance operations would have on the opening of schools in the county.

"We typically started snow removal as early as 2 a.m. so the school buses could get through, but without overtime that will not happen," he said.

If overtime is eliminated, workers will be restricted to 7:30 4 p.m. shifts.

"People are going to have to get used to dealing with the cutbacks,and it may be like the '40s and '50s, when chainswere used on car tires to go anywhere when it snows," Wehland said. "It is awful hard to take things away from people once they get used to them."


Despite a worsening market, the county's $97 million bond refinancing Wednesday achieved all of the county's goals, including raising $2.1 million for the general fund, a Wall Street underwriter told the County Council last week.

In addition to the general fund money that will be used to help reduce an expected deficit of $9.5 million, the sale shortened the life of the remaining bonds by an average of 2 1/2 years. It also reduced the amount of interest the county will have to pay on those bonds in future years by $5,000, to $15,000 a year.

The bond refinancing also reduced by $1.4 million the amount of debt on $40 million in water and sewer bonds.

The bonds carried the same high rating as the county's past bonds, but that rating will drop if the county goes through another year without balancing its budget, the bond rating agencies told county officials.

The county ended fiscal 1991 with a $3 million deficit, which it covered by borrowing from special funds that are to bereplenished with fiscal 1992 revenues.

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