City school board adds another public hearing on restructuring plans


The public will get another chance to comment on a Baltimore City school restructuring plan at a Oct. 2 public hearing, after parent and community groups complained that they needed more time to comment and help shape the plan.

At its meeting last night, the city's Board of School Commissioners also postponed a vote on the proposal and sent it back for revisions in light of the recent criticism.

"One of the major reactions we got from the community was they needed more time and more opportunity for input," said Joseph Lee Smith, school board president.

The restructuring plan would give individual schools more freedom to structure their own educational plans. The plan calls for 20 pilot schools to put their plans into effect starting next fall.

The proposal was presented to the board last month and was the subject of four sparsely attended hearings last week.

But some of those who testified at the recent public hearings complained that they had not been given adequate time to study the plan or opportunity to help shape it.

The tentative schedule now calls for a revised plan to be presented to the board at its Oct. 11 meeting, according to a spokesman, though a vote might not take place that night.

But Smith also said that the delay should not affect the planned 1991 implementation date.

The board's action drew a mixed response from some of those who had criticized the plan at last week's hearing.

"I'm appreciative of the effort to respond," said JoAnn Robinson of the Western High School Parent-Teacher Association. "I still .. feel that we're being pushed in a sort of 'do it now' fashion that is not going to give us a chance to have the kind of meaningful input that we want."

Sarah Daignault, education chair for the League of Women Voters, said she was pleased that the board delayed its vote and set an additional public hearing.

But she also said she had hoped for further explanations of how the plan would work.

The Oct. 2 hearing by the restructuring committee will take place at 6 p.m. at Baltimore Polytechnic High School.

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