Howard Week

July 07, 2002

$5.2 million surplus is about twice what was expected by CA

The Columbia Association closed its fiscal year with a $5.2 million surplus - twice the amount projected - despite losses at its four divisions.

Unanticipated additional income from assessments and memberships helped push the homeowners association budget over its expected $2.6 million surplus, Columbia Association President Maggie J. Brown told the association's board of directors.

The association's total income for the fiscal year, which runs from May 1 to April 30, was $47.8 million - $735,000 more than expected. Income from assessments brought in $22.8 million for the year, $446,000 more than expected. Memberships contributed $13.7 million, $694,000 more than projected. The association's operating expenses were $30 million, $91,000 less than anticipated.

Memories abound as use for former school weighed

Inside the building that once was Harriet Tubman Junior-Senior High School, a trip down memory lane is more than nostalgia. For Howard Lyles, who played basketball in Howard County's first gymnasium for black students, and other county African-Americans, walking through the former school to see, feel and remember what went on there is symbolic, cultural and vital.

The stories behind Harriet Tubman School have been revisited since a coalition of nonprofit groups made it known that they were eyeing the school as a site for a county crisis center for battered women, victims of sexual abuse and others in need of shelter.

As the news spread that Harriet Tubman was being considered, an uproar surfaced in areas of Howard County inhabited by blacks - particularly those who feel strongly that their battered, abused and forgotten history has a greater claim on the space.

Police say data refute claims of racial profiling

Howard County police released preliminary data Monday on traffic stops by county police that they said indicate they do not profile drivers by race.

But the numbers show that blacks who are stopped by Howard police are more likely to be arrested or searched than whites who are stopped, and some critics said the early numbers signal racial profiling.

Police agencies are required by state law to release 2002 traffic-stop data by March. Howard County officials released a portion of their statistics, compiled between Jan. 1 and April 30, so the public could see what they're doing, said police Chief Wayne Livesay.

County police stopped 19,541 drivers during the first four months of this year. About 65 percent were white, about 27 percent were black, less than 5 percent were Asian and less than 2 percent were Hispanic, according to the data.

Council calls for new way to prevent crowded schools

Fed up with unreliable enrollment figures, frustrated Howard County Council members called Monday night for finding a new way to prevent crowded schools.

The comments occurred after the council unanimously, but unhappily, approved enrollment charts that determine where builders can go to work and where they must wait, based on projections for classroom enrollment in 2005.

"I don't have much confidence in these [enrollment] numbers. It may be time to look at other ways of doing this," said western county Republican Allan H. Kittleman.

He was referring to the council's required vote on charts that show - based on projected enrollments - which elementary and middle schools are over the 115 percent legal limit for crowding. Those over the line trigger development delays in 2005, under the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

School administrators cut ties with teachers group

Howard County school administrators have banded together to pull away from the education association that has represented them at the bargaining table, in hopes of joining a national group that will focus more on their specific needs.

About 175 principals, assistant principals and central office-based instructional facilitators recently formed the Howard County Administrators Association, breaking away from the Howard County Education Association, which has represented the system's teachers, secretaries, nurses and other support staff for years.

The administrators hope to complete the necessary paperwork to become part of the American Federation of School Administrators, a union with members throughout the United States. The group will represent its members in this year's round of negotiations.

"It's not personal to HCEA," said Adrianne Kauffman, principal of Reservoir High School, which will open in the fall. "There's just been a sense that our jobs were changing, a sense that perhaps we needed an organization that would represent our interests as the majority, not the minority."

Senior citizens' lunch with candidate canceled

A datebook item in this month's Senior Connection seemed innocent enough: a free lunch at the Elkridge Senior Center on July 22 with state Senate candidate and Howard County political institution C. Vernon Gray.

But the event listed in the free publication of the county Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging has been canceled, and the notice has become a lesson for county employees on walking the nonpartisan tightrope between public service and political advantage this election season.

Gray, a five-term County Council member, is a Democrat battling Republican state Sen. Sandra B. Schrader to represent the county's southeastern District 13 for the next four years.

The match is key to Democrats' efforts to gain control of the county's General Assembly delegation. Although the filing deadline for candidates is days away, both candidates are running hard.

Schrader said she is "disappointed" over the episode.

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