Board votes to correct omission NORTH Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro Principal to get place on plaque

October 30, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

A groundswell of support from parents and staff at Sandymount Elementary School prompted an about-face among Carroll County school officials who agreed yesterday to correct their $1,000 mistake.

The county Board of Education voted yesterday to pay for recasting a commemorative plaque for the newly renovated and expanded school, which is scheduled to open to students Nov. 9.

The original plaque is missing what parents and staff said was the most important name -- Principal Helen "Anita" Metz, who chaired the construction committee.

The plaque listed Dean Johnson, who was the school's principal when planning began for the new school. Mrs. Metz took over his duties two years ago, led the school through the move to temporary quarters and equipping the new building, and will open the facility.

School officials have said the omission of her name from the plaque was an oversight.

Mrs. Metz said yesterday she heard of the board's decision when she arrived in the school office.

"I felt so warm," she said. "And I was just so excited that my community had felt so strongly about the job I've been doing with their children, and with this project, that they went to great lengths to make sure that plaque would contain my name."

She said that when she first saw the plaque in October, other members of the school staff must have read the disappointment in her face, but she never encouraged or discouraged their efforts.

"I'm just so very pleased they felt so strongly," she said. "Right now, I feel as if I'm running for president, and my points in the polls are way above President Bush, Governor Clinton and Ross Perot."

Mrs. Metz has been in Carroll schools for 22 of the 36 years she has been an educator. She also has been principal at Freedom and Taneytown elementaries and assistant principal at Manchester Elementary.

One board member abstained from the vote. Joseph D. Mish Jr. said he did not oppose including Mrs. Metz's name on the plaque, but thought $1,000 was too much to spend.

Last week, Cheryl A. McFalls, Ann M. Ballard and Carolyn L. Scott also said they were inclined to agree with Superintendent R. Edward Shilling that, with so many more capital project expenses than money to pay for them, they couldn't justify spending $1,000 to recast the plaque.

Mrs. McFalls had suggested that the school's PTA might want to pay for the new plaque or an additional plaque.

Since then, however, the board has been inundated with letters from parents and one from the school's staff that asked for removal of the plaque until the schools can find money to recast it.

Mr. Shilling reversed his position yesterday and asked the board approve buying another plaque.

Mr. Mish suggested getting an additional, less expensive plaque to recognize Mrs. Metz. But other board members preferred to recast the original one.

"I wouldn't want it to look like an afterthought," said Mrs. Ballard.

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