Arundel school board is presented five options for including electives

October 11, 2001|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

It won't be easy or cheap to get all middle school pupils into physical education and fine arts courses by February, as ordered by the state, the Anne Arundel County school board was told yesterday by educators and parents.

To meet the state mandate, the school board is considering hiring up to 150 teachers, overhauling pupil schedules or lengthening the school day. Cost estimates range from $350,000 to $3.7 million for the second semester of this school year.

Yesterday, the board heard five options for getting middle schoolers into gym and fine arts - classes the board had considered electives until the state said otherwise last month, acting on a lawsuit brought by parents who were upset that their children's electives time had been cut in the name of a new reading program.

The five options:

Allow pupils who need gym or fine arts to take the class during the weekly, 30-minute advisory period. Cost: $350,000.

Each school, on its own, could reschedule pupils who need gym and fine arts into those classes. Cost: $1.4 million, much of it to hire gym teachers.

Middle schools have one period a day that alternates on an A-day/B-day schedule. For instance, many pupils take gym on A-day and an elective on B-day. This option recommends adding a C-day. Cost: $808,000.

Make pupils who need gym and fine arts take those classes before or after the regular school day. Cost: $695,000.

Put all middle schools on a seven-period day. This would require rescheduling for all pupils and hiring 150 teachers and administrators Cost: $3.7 million.

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