School board OKs raise for management Panel also considers change in calendar, ways to ease crowding

176 due 2.5% pay increase

Parham details plan for shifting students from two high schools

December 04, 1997|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

Almost 200 Anne Arundel County school system employees will get a raise, the school year may begin later next summer, and student ranks at two crowded high schools could soon shrink as the result of a seven-hour, action-packed school board meeting yesterday.

The eight-member board voted, with one abstention, to give 22 high-ranking administrators and 154 mid-level managers a 2.5 percent cost-of-living pay increase, starting in January.

Unionized school employees have received similar cost-of-living increases. In June, the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County negotiated a two-year contract granting some 4,000 teachers raises.

In a long-awaited presentation yesterday, schools Superintendent Carol S. Parham rolled out her suggestions for shrinking the student population at North County Senior High School in Ferndale.

More than 1,800 students go to the school built for 1,740. More than 2,200 are expected to be enrolled by 2006.

Her proposals:

Hire a full-time employee to find "jumpers" -- students who live in other counties or in Baltimore but attend North County High. In the 1996-1997 school year, 72 such students were found; Parham estimated at least 100 more went undiscovered.

Add a portable classroom.

Permit students who want to go to other county high schools to do so if they can provide their own transportation.

Change to an "extended schedule" by 1999, which would stagger the times students are in the building. She gave no specifics.

Crowding is even more severe at Arundel Senior High School in Odenton. With a capacity of 1,908, the school has almost 2,100 students and stands to grow to almost 3,000 by 2006. Parham recommended: Permitting students to transfer to other high schools.

Sending students from Crofton Woods and Crofton Meadows -- who would now go to Arundel Senior -- to South River Senior High in Edgewater. That would divert about 200 students a year, and South River can handle the load, she said.

With a capacity of 2,030, South River now has 1,114 students. Younger siblings of students already at Arundel High could also attend Arundel, but only one younger sibling per family, and only until 2001, Parham proposed.

The board will vote on her recommendations -- based on suggestions from parent committees -- at a school board meeting next month.

The board will also decide in about two weeks whether, and how, to adjust the 190-day school-year calendar, in part to accommodate teachers who complain that summer jobs don't end by Aug. 25, the county's usual first day.

Teachers also say that with 65 percent of the buildings lacking air conditioning, staff and students would struggle with less heat and humidity with a later start. Days could be made up at the end of the year.

The issue is tricky. Administrators said that a later start for the school year could mean less time to prepare report cards for parent-teacher conferences the first two days of the third week of November.

Moving conferences to December would force the scheduling of school during Thanksgiving week, a vacation week.

"We want to mull" the pros and cons more, said Carlesa Finney, school board president, and put off a vote on the schedule until Dec. 17.

She urged parents to call board members or school system administrator Lou Apuzzio at 410-222-5383 and give their preferences for the calendar.

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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