25 Years Ago: Board votes to advertise all school system jobs, except teaching slots

From The Aegis dated May 21, 1987:

Any job, except teaching positions, that came open in the Harford County Public Schools had to be advertised before they were filled, the school board voted 25 years ago this week.

Despite objections from Superintendent Dr. A.A. Roberty, the school board voted, 6-1, to support its vice president, Dr. Percy Williams, to require that school system jobs be advertised. The move stemmed from directions from the state school board in April that there be no impediments in hiring or promoting minorities.

With the vote, nine top central administrative positions would have to be advertised, taking away Roberty's exclusive right to appoint his "top lieutenants" at his discretion.

It was a victory of sorts for Williams, who had fought for three years to break down what he called "barriers to equal opportunity" in hiring and promotion in the school system.

Radon was becoming a concern in Harford County 25 years ago. A report issued by the University of Pittsburgh Radon Project indicated that five homes in the Fallston ZIP code had radon levels "well above" the national standard for safe levels. Radon is a radioactive gas that had been linked to lung cancer.

State health department officials questioned the validity of the report, but admitted it was in line with monitoring it had done on its own, which showed one home of the seven reporting results had radon readings of less than four picocuries per liter of air, the national minimum standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Reports on the remaining six houses indicated levels in the 4 to 20 picocurie range, which was in line with the average 11.1 readings in the Pittsburgh study.

"We don't view Harford County as a potential radon problem area at the current time," Ray Feldman, the spokesman for the Sate Health Department's Office of Environmental Programs, said.

Weeks after the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered the shutdown of Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, officials from the agency were preparing to provide an update on the status of the power generating company.

The Harford County Council and officials from Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace were planning to have the new plant manager discuss the "problem-plagued" plant, which was shut down March 31 after operators were found sleeping on the job.

Eighty percent of Harford County's freshmen passed the functional writing test necessary for them to graduate in four years, up eight percentage points from the year before. The tests were given to 2,194 freshmen and 585 10th graders in January.

Statewide, 67 percent of freshmen taking the test passed in 1987 compared to 69 percent in 1986. The improvement was traceable to more assistance given to students by teachers in writing narrative and explanatory passages.

The seventh Cystic Fibrosis Walk for Breath relay at Harford Community College 25 years ago raised more than $22,000 to support research. The relay was held in memory of Charlie Kennedy, who died from CF when he was 11.

Harford County residents were buying more beer and less liquor, and were smoking less 25 years ago. State tax figures showed that beer revenues in Harford over the previous nine months were up to $102,386, compared with $95,315 in the same period the previous fiscal year, an increase of about $7,000. Revenue from distilled spirits was down about $400 from the same time a year earlier, while tax revenue on cigarettes was down by about $18,000.

A front page picture showed Dave Volrath, head lacrosse coach at Fallston High School, getting a lift from his players after they won the MPSSAA Class BC boys lacrosse title at UMBC this week 25 years ago. The Cougars beat Edgewood, 15-9, for their second state crown, a year after finishing second.

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