Lights for all on agenda for school board tonight

High Schools

October 09, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

All 10 unlighted county high school football stadiums might have lights in time for next football season if the county's Board of Education approves them at tonight's meeting. A staff-generated report recommends the lights.

Should the board give its approval for the $800,000 project, which will be paid for by donations, the principals of each school would then petition the Deputy Superintendent for final approval, mandatory public hearings would commence 30 days later and fund-raising would follow. Construction bids could be possible by spring.

Don Disney, county coordinator of athletics, will present a follow-up report tonight to his Sept. 11 report.

The latest report will answer procedural questions board members posed, evaluating data from the hearings, guidelines for financing lights and a recommendation on including the new Northern High School, the county's 12th, due to open in 2005.

Disney said he thinks he has answered all the questions and is optimistic about the board's approval. His updated report recommends that Northern High be included.

It also states that donations collected by a special finance committee and administered by a Department of Education account manager will be allowed to carry over for up to five years.

No corporations will be allowed to put their names on stadiums.

For the past 40 years, only Howard High has had a lighted stadium. Those lights were upgraded in June 2002.

Three previous attempts by the sports community to obtain countywide lights failed in 1987, 1989 and 2000.

Among the reasons given for needing lights are: enhanced opportunities for parents to attend their children's games; greater scheduling flexibility in terms of getting buses and referees; better accommodation of class schedules; revenue enhancement; the chance for the county to play host to regional playoffs; and equity with other jurisdictions that have lighted stadiums.

The Sept. 11 report states that 67 percent of Maryland public high schools and more than 90 percent of the new schools built in the past 10 years have lighted stadiums.

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