Committee on schools proposed Liaison sought for county board ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY -- Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

September 28, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer Staff Writer Andrea F. Siegel contributed to this story.

Annapolis may soon have its own school board to monitor the progress of the 10 Anne Arundel County public schools located within the city limits, under a bill drafted by Alderman Carl O. Snowden.

The Ward 5 Democrat's legislation would create a nine-member standing committee on education to act as a liaison between the Annapolis City Council and the county school board.

"Historically, the city had no involvement with the schools because it was a county function," Mr. Snowden said. "We want to create a rapport so the citizens have some input."

Annapolis residents, like other county residents, may bring school-related concerns to local PTAs, Citizen Advisory Committees and school board members. One school board appointee must be from the legislative district that includes Annapolis.

Dorothy Chaney, who occupies that seat, said she is unsure what the function of the Annapolis committee would be and said the school board has had no problem communicating with the City Council. However, she said, the school board is open to hearing from many groups.

Similarly, board member Michael Pace said he would welcome participation by more parents -- provided the city's committee would not exclude other voices or serve as a political grandstand.

The proposed legislation is the latest in a series of efforts by Annapolis residents to influence the Board of Education's decisions.

In March, the city council and the county school board met for the first time ever to discuss plans for redistricting Annapolis area schools.

Shortly afterward, Adams Park residents successfully lobbied to have their neighborhood school re-opened as a bona fide elementary school. That building had housed the Learning Center, a program for students with behavior problems. A new home for the Learning Center is being constructed.

"At the first . . . meeting with the Board of Education, I learned that so much of what the Board of Education does and so much of what the city does impacts on one another," Mr. Snowden said. "We now realize development impacts directly on schools and we need some coordination in our efforts."

The council also is seeking to have more of a say in county school operations because, "when a citizen has a concern, it makes it appear you're passing the buck when you say, 'That's a county problem,' " he said.

The proposed legislation, scheduled to be introduced Oct. 11, calls for each alderman and the mayor to each appoint a member to the education committee.

The committee members would be appointed to staggered, five-year terms.

In addition to establishing a rapport between the council and school board, the education committee would be responsible for an annual report assessing academics, discipline problems, redistricting and related issues.

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