Budget Cuts Threaten Camp Sex, Race Balance

March 18, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff writer

The county school system had been making strides toward balancing the numbers of boys, girls, minorities and whites in its summer camps, but budget cuts may set the effort back, school officials say.

Russell J. Heyde, school coordinator of outdoor education, presented board members Monday night with a mostly upbeat report on the system's efforts to make summer camps available to all students.

"In the beginning, these camps were attended primarily by a white, middle-class population," Heyde said.

Through recruitment and scholarships, more boys, minorities, youngsters from poor families and students considered at risk of dropping out of school were given the chance to attend the camps, Heyde said. However, the report showed that the positive gains made in achieving equity among the camps were jeopardized by fiscal problems.

Minority students had previously made up about one-fifth to one-quarter of the summer computer campers. But when students were asked to pay the entire expense of the camp due to school budget cuts, no minorities applied.

Tuition for the summer programs -- art, music, science and computer camps -- ranges from $275 to $300.

The board Monday night also asked the superintendent's staff to rewrite the proposed policy prohibiting portable electronic pagers on school grounds. The school system now abides by state law barring students from carrying pagers unless they have received permission for medical or other reasons.

The staff had rewritten the policy to give school principals the sole authority to decide who can and cannot have pagers in the school. But board members expressed concern over the additional powers given to school principals. The policy will be rewritten and the board will vote on policy at a future meeting.

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