Panel proposed as liaison between schools, council Hearing to focus on Snowden idea


Alderman Carl O. Snowden says Annapolis needs a standing committee on education to act as a liaison between the City Council and the county school board. But critics say that would just be another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy.

Both sides will get to air their views today at a hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall by the council's Rules Committee. Tom Twombley, school board president, and Carol Parham, acting school superintendent, are among those expected to testify.

Mr. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat and chairman of the Rules Committee, has proposed a liaison panel that would monitor the progress of the 10 public schools within the city limits.

Critics of the proposal have noted that Annapolis residents, like other county residents, may bring school-related concerns to local PTAs, citizen advisory committees and school board members.

One school board appointee must be from the legislative district that includes Annapolis.

Dorothy Chaney, who occupies that seat, has said she is unsure what the function of the proposed Annapolis committee would be and that the school board has had no problem communicating with the City Council.

But Mr. Snowden said it has become clear to him that the city needs a greater voice in school affairs, and vice versa.

Although the city government does not contribute any money for the schools, its 30,000 residents do through their county property taxes, Mr. Snowden said.

He said he would like to see greater cooperation in improving scholastic achievement, setting school district boundaries and, more mundanely, where high school graduations are held.

The council already has helped move the Annapolis High School graduation ceremony from the USAir Arena in Landover to the U.S. Naval Academy, and has successfully lobbied the school board to reopen Adams Park Elementary School in 1995, he said.

The school system also needs better coordination with the city about housing construction that could cause classroom crowding, the alderman said.

His bill calls for each alderman and the mayor to appoint a member to the education committee. Members would serve staggered, five-year terms.

The Rules Committee also will consider three other bills, one to ban certain signs downtown, another to require the city to close certain streets during events such as boat shows, and the other to bar residential developers from building "private" streets that must be maintained by homeowners' associations.

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