No bus service planned for Waterloo

November 23, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

About 70 Waterloo Elementary students will continue walking to school now that the county school board has decided not to reinstate bus service.

In a unanimous vote yesterday, the five-member board upheld school Superintendent Michael E. Hickey's decision to end bus service to Kendall Ridge neighborhood students after the Columbia Association built a pathway that connects their homes to Waterloo.

Board members, all of whom noted that they had walked the heavily wooded path, said they felt the walkway was just as good or better than pathways in other school districts.

They also said it ultimately was parents' responsibility to get their children safely to school.

At last night's meeting, Kendall Ridge parents, wearing red Waterloo T-shirts, talked of appealing the board's decision to the state Board of Education.

"When they were kids, crime wasn't as high," said Ireatha Woods, who has a fifth-grade daughter at the school. "Life wasn't as complex. Two parents didn't have to work."

In other matters, the board:

* Approved two policies that give teachers and administrators who are being considered for involuntary transfers earlier notice and a chance to apply for other positions.

* Heard a report on four proposals for next school year, including one to decrease the number of early dismissal days and another to add more staff development training days for teachers. The board will hold a public hearing on the proposals Jan. 26 and will vote on the new calendar Feb. 7.

* Decided against participating in a statewide University of Maryland study to determine the unmet dental needs of students.

The study would have required 120 students in kindergarten and third, sixth, ninth and 12th grades to undergo a three-minute oral examination and to answer a brief questionnaire.

The three board members who voted against the study were concerned that students would lose class time to participate in the study.

* Heard a report on the technology magnet program that is scheduled to start in two years. The magnet program will scrap traditional vocational-technical education in which students are provided job-training and replace it with a program that focuses on careers. For example, students may work in an auto dealership and learn all parts of the business.

School officials told the board that the program will increase standards for all students because it will make such subjects as algebra and geometry prerequisites for entering the program.

The board favored the academic emphasis of the program but had reservations about the effects on special education students. Daniel Jett, director of high schools, told the board that officials are looking at alternative programs for special education students. The next progress report is expected in mid-January.

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