Mount Moriah tutorial funds restored

October 11, 1994|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,Sun Staff Writer

Supporters of a student tutorial program run by the Mount Moriah A.M.E. Church rose in protest at the Annapolis City Council meeting Monday night, demanding that $5,000 in government funds be restored for the nondenominational classes.

After pleas by a former mayor, a pastor, a tutor and a student, the council moved to restore the money immediately by using its discretionary funds. The program, created in 1987, has received public funding routinely, but this year the item had been dropped from the council's fiscal 1995 budget.

"I am not alone, no, never alone. We are here en masse," the Rev. John Williams Sr. told the council. And, en masse, dozens of the program's supporters rose and gave the council a standing ovation when it restored the money on the spot.

Ward 5 Alderman Carl O. Snowden urged the council to take up the matter immediately. "I'm assuming a program like this is worthwhile. I don't see a need to put this off at all," the Democrat said.

Tutoring for city students, from elementary through high school, was set to begin in a week -- with or without the money. This year, the tutorial also will include a Scholastic Assessment Test preparation class for high school students.

The money is used to pay the monthly salaries of two directors of the Annapolis Tutorial Program and to provide transportation and educational materials. The program serves about 150 students a year, tutoring each child for an average six weeks.

Mike Mallinoff, chief of staff to Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, said the mayor intended to fund the program but did not receive a letter from the church requesting the money.

"I would have to assume the letter wasn't sent," Mr. Malinoff said.

One of the tutorial program's co-directors disputed that claim.

"The letter was sent, as always," said Faye Gaskin, who has helped run the program for the last five years.

One by one, defenders of the program rose to speak in its defense. Former Mayor Dennis Callahan urged the council to support classes that have "nothing to do with race or religion and everything to do with helping students learn to read."

Also Monday night, the council heard testimony from Rich Josephson, chief of long-range planning at the Anne Arundel County Department of Planning and Code Enforcement. He outlined a new urban design plan for Parole, and tried to assuage fears of some council members that the 30-year commercial and residential development plan would not turn the area into another Tyson's Corner or Crystal City, two sprawling mall-strewn developments in northern Virginia.

Meanwhile, the council voted to review privately several proposals on the fate of the McNasby Oyster Co. building in Eastport. Former City Attorney Jonathan A. Hodgson, hired by the city to negotiate a lease for the building, will make those proposals in a closed session. Attorneys for the prospective tenants also will attend.

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