Making the School Board Accessible

November 23, 1993

Judging from the turnout of 200 people, the Carroll County Board of Education's recent experiment of holding its first evening session since 1986 was a raging success. The evening meetings should continue.

New board member C. Scott Stone deserves credit for following through on a campaign promise to get the board to try evening meetings. As Mr. Stone correctly guessed, Carroll residents have a keen interest in observing the actions of their school board. Had there been a controversial item on the board's agenda, undoubtedly even more people would have turned out.

The best school systems thrive on citizen participation. By observing school board meetings, people in Carroll can learn of the major issues facing the school system and have a meaningful say in resolving them.

By continuing to hold meetings at 9 a.m., the board guarantees that public attendance will be meager. Because these sessions typically last more than three hours, attending a school board meeting means losing half a day's work. As a result, only those fortunate enough not to have to punch a time clock can attend. The board should switch all its meetings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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DEWEY'S SYSTEM: Every day, thousands of people visit Carroll's five well-stocked libraries and can borrow the latest novel on the best seller lists or a recent video. Or, if they want, they can sit at a computer and tap into the emerging electronic information highway.

This is possible due, in part, to the tireless efforts of Mary Lou Dewey, who has resigned after devoting 35 years to the Carroll County Library Board. When Mrs. Dewey, of Lineboro, began volunteering for the library system, the books in the county's two libraries numbered in the hundreds and were based in tiny storefronts in Westminster and Hampstead. Mrs. Dewey, probably the most active layman working on behalf of Carroll's libraries over the past generation, can take great pride in the system's success. The community owes Mrs. Dewey thanks for helping to enhance an institution dedicated to human knowledge and culture that will benefit generations to come.

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