School board adds to list for construction funding

April 07, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education added five projects worth $10.3 million to its request for state school construction money in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The projects must now be resubmitted to the Interagency Committee, a state agency that approves all public school construction and determines the amount that the state will contribute toward those projects.

Included on the revised construction list:

* $630,000 to plan renovations to South Shore Elementary School and build an addition.

* $6.3 million for an addition to Broadneck Senior High.

* $1.6 million for renovation and conversion of Andover High School.

* $200,000 to plan an addition at the Center for Applied Technology-North.

The remaining money would be spent on systemic renovations, including roofs at Severna Park Middle and South River Senior, and new heating and air-conditioning systems at Crofton Middle and at Severna Park and Glen Burnie senior highs.

Ralph Luther, director of operations and maintenance for county schools, said the move is designed to take advantage of the General Assembly's promise to spend more than originally planned on school construction.

In reviewing the status of other construction projects, board members learned that Deale and Meade Heights elementary schools probably won't open in September 1995.

An improperly designed water pressurizing tank to support a new sprinkler system has held up progress on the school at Deale, and that means students won't be occupying the school until after the winter break. Land and environmental assessments have delayed work on Meade Heights, school construction experts said.

The school board also approved the transfer of $300,000 from the Solley Elementary School project to be used for planning for small construction jobs. The money became available when bids to build Solley came in lower than expected.

Deputies approved

In other action, the school board voted 6-0 with two members absent to approve Superintendent Carol S. Parham's choice of two deputies. Kenneth Lawson was promoted from acting associate superintendent for instruction and support services to the newly created position of associate superintendent for instruction and school services. Ronald L. Beckett, acting assistant superintendent for administration, was promoted to the newly created job of associate superintendent for administration and support services.

The school board also reviewed a plan to improve minority students' scores on the Scholastic Assessment Test, required for entrance into most colleges and universities. The plan calls for providing SAT prep courses, now at three high schools, at all 12 schools beginning in the fall. In addition, school administrators say they want to increase minority enrollment in honors courses by 5 percent.

Four-period day

School board members also learned that despite the apparent success of the experimental four-period day at Chesapeake High School, it will remain the only one in the county to use the schedule.

Chesapeake students take four 85-minute classes during a semester, instead of six classes of about 55 minutes each.

Kenneth Nichols, acting director of high schools, told board members that only one school -- South River High -- is looking to duplicate Chesapeake's program in the 1995-1996 school year.

Yet most teachers and students at Chesapeake say they prefer the four-period day, the school's principal said yesterday. "It's been an interesting year," said Harry Calendar. "The staff was tired at the end of the first term because they'd worked hard to rewrite the entire curriculum. The second semester was more relaxed."

A survey at the school found that 86.8 percent of teachers and 75.7 percent of students said they preferred the new schedules.

Teachers reported they are spending more time preparing lessons and correcting and grading papers.

The school board also suspended, for 15 days without pay, an Arundel Middle School industrial arts teacher for an unspecified act of misconduct.

The board required Raymond Schisler to attend sensitivity training and be reassigned to another school cluster. The board also ordered Mr. Schisler to be evaluated for the first six months of his new assignment.

Board members would not discuss the case, but Thomas J. Paolino, the president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, said that "at no point was he accused of touching students."

Mr. Paolino said Mr. Schisler has been on administrative leave for nearly a year. Mr. Paolino called yesterday's ruling "an overreaction on the part of the board."

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