The creation of an alternative high school for disruptive Anne Arundel teen-agers is virtually assured, as members of the County Council effusively praised it during a workshop yesterday on the school system's $435.8 million operating budget request for the coming fiscal year.
Get-tough policies in the past two years have resulted in increased student suspensions and expulsions for school violence and other disruptive behaviors, including 575 expulsions through mid-April of this school year.
Leslie Mobray, director of student services, described to County Council members the high school expected to open in January 1997 in Crownsville.
The new program is one of few additions with the support of county officials.
County Executive John G. Gary and the school board are $11.9 million apart on budget figures. Gary has recommended scaling back or eliminating requests for more teachers, reading specialists, guidance counselors, psychologists, teacher training and testing.
However, the county executive supports the alternative high school, has offered a county-owned site for it and has included money for it in his proposed $423.9 million school budget.
With transportation, the cost of starting the alternative high school and operating it for the first half-year would be about $650,000. After that, it would cost $1.4 million a year, officials estimate.
School administrators envision a school that would combine individual and family counseling with a basic academic program. Students would spend one or two semesters there before returning to their home schools.
Councilman Bert L. Rice suggested a year-round alternative school and wondered whether the school should be expanded beyond capacity for 120 students.
"I think it would have a lot of impact if you say, 'OK folks, this continues right through the summer,' " said Rice, an Odenton Republican.
Kenneth Lawson, associate superintendent for instruction and student services, said the school system would consider Rice's suggestion.
Plans for the school, including hours and dress code, are being discussed.
"I believe this is an idea long in waiting," said Councilman George F Bachman, a Linthicum Democrat.
The high school would be housed in a county-owned building on the state's Crownsville campus, which also is the site of a state mental hospital and the county police detectives bureau. Ralph A. Luther, director of school facilities, said work has begun on renovating the building.
County schools have operated the Learning Center, an alternative middle school in Annapolis, for nearly two decades.
Pub Date: 5/15/96