Annapolis council fails to back separate school district for city

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Several Annapolis city council members agreed at their meeting last night that schools in the city need more resources and a representative on the Anne Arundel County school board.

They did not, however, support a solution proposed to them by county school board member Eugene Peterson - to carve out independent school districts to serve Annapolis and Fort Meade.

The Laurel resident said he made the recommendation to foster discussion about funding the proposed $773.1 million school budget.

Peterson told council members that a separate district could direct funds to improve the achievement of minority students. The city, he said, can raise money by levying taxes or by selling bonds because it doesn't have a revenue cap like the county.

"While it isn't clear what the finances of an independent district would be, it is clear that currently, Annapolis children are being shortchanged," Peterson said.

Several aldermen concurred. "I do feel we are not getting our fair share for the students," said Cynthia Carter.

But Alderwoman Sheila M. Tolliver said low-income residents would have to bear the burden of additional taxes. Revenues would be limited by the city's large amount of tax-exempt property, she added.

Tolliver said she did not agree with the proposal but suggested that redistricting to promote economic integration would be a better alternative.

"We already know from experience that ghettoizing kids ... has a negative impact," she said.

Peterson also has called for the federal government to take over schools that serve Fort Meade, as more military families are expected to move into more than 2,000 new and renovated homes on the base.

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