School board approves a makeup day for snow Semester exams delayed one week for high schools

January 14, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Seeking to make up time lost to last week's snowstorms, the Howard County school board has canceled Friday's teacher training day and postponed high schools' semester exams for a week.

The board also voted at its meeting Thursday night to send letters to the county legislative delegation and the governor expressing its opposition to the use of state funds to build a new football stadium in Baltimore.

In canceling Friday's in-service day, the board hopes to avoid having to lengthen school days this spring to make up for lost snow days.

The board already has announced that pupils will attend school Feb. 19, the Presidents Day holiday, and will end the school year June 18, a week later than scheduled.

But if bad weather forces two or more additional days of classes to be canceled, the board almost certainly will need to lengthen school days. Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said school officials already have begun devising such a plan in case it is needed.

The last time Howard schools had to extend the day was during the spring of 1994, when students attended classes for 30 minutes extra for four weeks to make up two days lost to bad weather.

Students are to return to the classroom Tuesday, weather permitting, after tomorrow's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

School officials considered holding classes tomorrow but decided not to because "we felt it was relatively short notice for an adjustment in the calendar," Dr. Hickey said during Thursday night's meeting.

He said school officials also "wanted to allow enough time for everything to be cleared."

Despite the additional cleanup time, the superintendent and board members said they expect the snow will continue to cause difficulties for schools and pupils until it disappears.

"We're even going to have kids on Tuesday walking on the streets to school or walking on the streets to bus stops that don't really exist because they're buried under 15 feet of snowdrifts," Dr. Hickey said. "There will be problems with the bus stops until the snow melts."

Dr. Hickey urged parents to band together to try to shovel off sidewalks and bus stops, saying that's too big a task for the school system.

The canceled week of school also prompted the board to postpone high school finals for a week, from the week of Jan. 22 to the week of Jan. 29. Members said they want to give teachers and pupils more time to complete the semester's work.

In voicing its public opposition to state funding for football

stadiums, the board said it believed education dollars are a higher priority than money spent on athletics.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has signed an agreement with the Cleveland Browns guaranteeing that the state will build a stadium for the team near Camden Yards if the team moves to Baltimore.

"I love football and I'll be happy if Baltimore has a football team," said board member Karen Campbell. "My high priority is education funding. It borders on unconscionable for the state of Maryland to be subsidizing the business of football in lieu of building schools for county students."

Added board member Sandra French: "I do not support public dollars for private enterprise and private profit-making. Education more important than entertainment."

The board unanimously agreed to send letters to the Howard legislative delegation and Gov. Parris N. Glendening explaining its opposition to state funding for the stadium.

The Montgomery County school board passed a resolution last month also opposing stadium funding.

In other business, Dr. Hickey announced the transfers of two high school assistant principals, effective at the end of the semester. They are:

* Pepe Sandoval, who will move from Howard High to the new Long Reach High School.

* Barry Odell, who will move from Wilde Lake High to the new River Hill High School.

The superintendent said replacements for Mr. Sandoval and Mr. Odell will be named at the board's next meeting.

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