Students raising funds for storm-victim relief


Education Notebook

Education Beat

News from Howard County schools and colleges

September 18, 2005|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

IN A continuing effort to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina, Howard County students have raised about $103,000 as of last week.

About three-quarters of the county's 70 schools are collecting donations or running other drives to raise money for families and children devastated by the natural disaster on the Gulf Coast, said Roger Plunkett, the school system's business, community and government relations officer.

For instance, River Hill High School is adopting Gulfport (Miss.)High School to help with its cleanup efforts.

Many schools are participating in the state Department of Education's "Maryland Kids Care" campaign by collecting pennies and other loose change and donating them to the Red Cross.

The Howard County school system has taken in at least two dozen displaced children from the Gulf Coast. As of last week, Maryland has enrolled 523 displaced students in 22 of 24 school systems with Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties leading the pack.

On to Baltimore

The Howard County school system's longtime transportation director has been appointed to manage Baltimore schools' transportation department.

Glenn Johnson, who has held his position in Howard County since 1989, will retire at the end of the month -- a decision he said he made before being appointed this month to the new post by state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick.

"Howard County has been very, very good to me," he said. "I have an excellent staff. Any time you've been with a group of people for this long, they'll definitely be missed."

In his new job, Johnson is among state managers assigned to oversee eight city school system departments under terms of a court order issued last month. The case involves a 21-year-old special-education lawsuit that names the city and state as defendants.

Some children with disabilities in Baltimore were not served because transportation problems prevented them from getting to school.

Johnson, 55, of Clarksville, said he is looking forward to working with Donald Swift, the city system's transportation director, starting next month.

His task, he said, is to "see if we can put a plan together to address the issues that are associated with transportation and resolve them."

Johnson began his career in transportation as a school bus driver in Prince George's County in 1972, a job that allowed him to take graduate courses at the University of Maryland.

He remained in the transportation department in Prince George's County until he transferred to Howard County as one of its area transportation supervisors in 1982. Seven years later, he was named the head of Howard's transportation office.

Johnson has a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in supervision administration from Bowie State University. He also served on numerous state pupil transportation committees and was the former president of the Maryland Association for Pupil Transportation.

Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said the state is finalizing contracts with the state managers, who are expected to be paid up to $150,000 each.

Johnson's successor in Howard County has not been named.

Contact Hanah Cho at 410-715-2837 or at hanah.

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