Board rejects closing schools for city elections

County officials say idea is too difficult logistically

Police to help with safety plan

Annapolis

May 06, 2004|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

Saying it is unwilling to disrupt school schedules, the Anne Arundel County school board denied a request yesterday by the city of Annapolis to close schools on days when city elections are held.

City officials had hoped to prevent interaction between voters and pupils, noting an incident in which a drunken adult walked through a middle school on a past election day.

The city uses nine Annapolis elementary and middle schools as polling places during its elections, which are held on different years than state and general elections.

The school system shuts down on state and general election days.

But school board members said closing Annapolis schools for two days in fall of next year to accommodate the city's primary and regular elections would be too difficult logistically.

Superintendent Eric J. Smith said he will work with the Annapolis Police Department on a safety plan to avoid any incidents on election days.

In other board business yesterday, several parents testified against the elimination of French classes at Meade and Annapolis middle schools. The schools had informed parents they would offer only Spanish next school year because not enough pupils registered for French.

The parents complained that the lack of French classes in middle school could have a negative impact on their children's high school careers.

One mother suggested that the school system consider using itinerant teachers who could serve small numbers of pupils at more than one school.

School board President Paul Rudolph said he was troubled by the complaints. Noting that "two buses of French students from Crofton Middle School [recently] left for Quebec," he asked Smith, "Why should French not be available to Meade Middle and Annapolis Middle?"

Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Lawson said after the meeting that he will look for a solution in coming weeks, once he finds out how many pupils at the schools are interested in taking French.

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