Many issues await interim schools chief

Education beat


On Wednesday, Nancy M. Mann will attend her first Anne Arundel Board of Education meeting as interim superintendent, and, in some ways, the board will be back to business as usual.

Though the agenda for the meeting might appear lengthy, many of the items are routine, according to school district staff, and include issues that were put on hold as the schools prepared for last month's departure of Superintendent Eric J. Smith and awaited the announcement of Mann's appointment.

Among the items being considered are several policy revisions. About two years ago, the school board and school system staff decided it was time to update the board's policies, many of which hadn't been looked at in decades, according to school system Chief of Staff Robert C. Leib. A policy review committee has been working on revising policies and sending them to the board for approval, but it hadn't sent any to the board in several months.

"We sort of put it on the back burner when we knew we were going to be transitioning to a new superintendent," Leib said.

The board also will hear a recommendation on redistricting between George Fox and Chesapeake Bay middle schools.

In 1997, amid some controversy, the board moved some children who would have attended George Fox, which was overcrowded at the time, to Chesapeake Bay. Those students went on to Northeast Senior for high school. Chesapeake Bay pupils typically attend Chesapeake High School.

Because of declining enrollment at George Fox, the principals of the two schools have proposed that part of the 1997 redistricting be reversed.

Board Vice President Tricia Johnson said she didn't expect the proposed move to be as controversial as when the redistricting occurred, based on what she has heard at Parent-Teacher Organization and county advisory council meetings she has attended.

"The schools agree that this is what they want to be done," she said.

The board also is scheduled to vote on expanding the International Baccalaureate program to Meade High School.

Though Mann will now be attending all school board meetings, she's not relying on them to find out what the community thinks of county schools.

Mann announced last week that she and members of the school board would hold three community forums to gather public opinion on the school system.

Johnson said the meetings would be in a town-hall format and that the board wants to hear what's wrong with the school system as well as what's working. The feedback could be especially valuable as the board begins to tackle the school budget.

The forums will be: Dec. 12 at Annapolis High School, Dec. 13 at Severna Park High School and Dec. 15 at Glen Burnie High School. All will begin at 7 p.m.

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