Officials behind on study of year-round school

September 01, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County school officials admitted this week they are seven months behind in starting an $118,000 study on year-round schools.

The person who will oversee the research hasn't even been hired.

"Part of the delay was in the process of writing a job description," said Ken Nichols, an administrative assistant at the Board of Education. "The first time we advertised we only got two reponses, so we had to advertise again."

He said he expects the project manager will be announced "within the next week."

The delay became public this week when Carolyn Roeding, C former president of the County Council of PTAS and a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in District 31, wrote to Gov. William Donald Schaefer complaining about the board's inertia.

"If they're not going to use the money, I think they should give it back," she said yesterday.

The state is paying $95,000 toward the project. The rest of the money comes from the school board.

Four other school districts -- Allegheny, Calvert, Howard and Montgomery counties -- also are using state grant money to study the year-round school issue. A fifth district, Baltimore City, which had already prepared a pilot, is using its grant to put one school on the year-round schedule.

"We're not in a race," Mr. Nichols said. "We're only a month behind Calvert County in hiring our facilitator. For Mrs. Roeding to say that we're behind, delayed, and we have catching up to do is fine, but I still believe we're in a position to meet the ultimate deadline of June 1995."

Calvert County's project manager, Larry L. Lorton, a former superintendent of Anne Arundel County schools, was hired in July.

Mr. Nichols said the Arundel project manager will be paid $33,000 for 12 months of work. The schedule outlined in the grant proposal will be revised, but the project will be completed on time, he said.

The timetable included in the grant proposal said the Board of Education would hire "a facilitator" and create a task force by the end of February, complete research by May and begin meeting with the public in July.

"I kept asking about it because there was all this rigamarole about the study last year," Mrs. Roeding said. "People I know kept asking the committee when they would meet. One person was told it wouldn't meet until the redistricting committee gave its report, another was told the Ron Price fiasco was causing the delay, and someone else was told they hadn't hired the consultant yet. They need to be accountable."

The Price "fiasco" to which Mrs. Roeding referred concerned a systemwide teacher-student sex scandal that began with the arrest of Ronald W. Price in April 1993. Price, a former Northeast High School teacher, was convicted of having sex with his students. He is serving a 21-year sentence. Three other teachers, charged with child abuse but acquitted by juries, still face administrative proceedings.

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