Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

October 25, 2006

Teachers union pleads for improved benefits

More than 100 members of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County lobbied the county school board yesterday to increase salaries, maintain health care benefit levels, raise tuition reimbursement and decrease paperwork for teachers.

Contract negotiations are set to begin in November.

Teachers "are burning out, becoming frustrated and planning to leave," union President Cheryl Bost said to the board. "They feel the focus on the child and instruction has been lost."

Board members also voted to name a new school in the White Marsh area Vincent Farm Elementary School. It is set to open in the 2008-2009 school year.

Education

42% of students miss test benchmark

More than 40 percent of Baltimore County high school students did not earn a passing score on the English II section of the state's High School Achievement test, according to information presented at last night's school board meeting.

Of the nearly 8,700 county high school students who took the test, slightly less than 42 percent did not receive a passing score. However, this marks an improvement from the previous year, when almost 48 percent of county high school students did not pass, according to the Maryland State Department of Education's Web site.

State guidelines require that all high school students, beginning with the Class of 2009, pass achievement tests in English II, government, biology and algebra/data analysis to receive a diploma. An exception is made for students who do not pass each test, but meet minimal score requirements and achieve a cumulative passing score on the four tests. Students are able to retake the tests until they earn a passing score.

Some county high schools had a substantially lower percentage of students passing the English II test. Of the county's 24 high schools, the six schools with the lowest percentage of passing students are all located on the west side of the county. At Milford Mill Academy, the lowest-performing school, 67 percent of the students did not pass the test.

Julie Scharper

Eastpoint

Three men sought in shooting at mall

County police were searching for three men believed to be involved in a shooting Monday night at a Baltimore County mall, authorities said yesterday.

Shortly before 8:40 p.m., shots were fired in the parking lot of Eastpoint Mall, near an Applebee's restaurant. George Thompson, 32, of the 1800 block of N. Bentalou St. in Baltimore was injured, county police said.

Thompson was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he was in fair condition yesterday evening, hospital officials said.

Witnesses also said they saw three men in black, baggy clothes flee, some in a black Cadillac Escalade and some in a four-door, dark-colored Oldsmobile, Cpl. Michael Hill, a county police spokesman, said.

Nick Shields

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