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Thursday, June 26, 2008

River Hill Student Scores Perfect 2400 on SAT

Tarub Mabud, a junior at River Hill High School, achieved a perfect 2400 score on his SAT Reasoning Test this spring. Mabud, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, wants to study electrical engineering and business finance in college. He said he is considering the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Board Renews Contract With Superintendent

This month, the Howard County Board of Education renewed the contract of schools chief Sydney L. Cousin for four more years. Cousin, who has been superintendent of the 48,571-student system since 2004, will receive a base salary of $265,000, an increase of $33,537 over his current salary. In addition to retirement, medical and life insurance benefits, Cousin receives a $700 monthly car allowance and reimbursement for other expenses.

Board Chairman Frank Aquino said Cousin's salary is comparable to that of other superintendents in the region.

Montgomery County's Jerry D. Weast, who heads the state's largest school system, made $242,686 this year, while Jack D. Dale of Fairfax County received the top salary in the region ($279,340).

D.C. schools chief Michelle A. Rhee ranked second at $275,000. The average salary in the region is $231,905.

Those are base salaries and do not include benefits, which often push pay packages higher.

Cousin joined the Howard system in 1987 as director of school construction and planning. Two years later, he was promoted to associate superintendent of finance and operations and then became deputy superintendent and chief operating officer in 2001. In 2004, he was named interim superintendent, replacing John R. O'Rourke. Three months later, he was named to the permanent position.

Groups Using School Space Will Have to Pay More

Groups that use Howard County school facilities for meetings and gatherings will pay a bit more to rent space, beginning next week.

The fee increases range from $5 for a classroom to $50 for a high school auditorium. The higher fees will apply to all school facilities except the James Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School.

Rental fees are not the only price increases approved recently by the county school board. It also voted to raise the cost of school lunches. Elementary school children will pay $2.50 for hot lunch, an increase of 25 cents. Student breakfasts will go up to $1.75 from $1.50. Adults will pay $4.25 instead of $3.90 for a school lunch.

The lunch program receives money from the federal government but little from the county or state. By law, it must be self-supporting. With food costs increasing, many food service directors are struggling to keep their programs in the black. According to school system officials, food and supply costs have doubled over the past year. With significantly higher gasoline prices, transportation costs have nearly doubled.

Cradlerock Competes In Engineering Contest

Classes might be over for the summer, but students from Columbia's Cradlerock School spent four days participating in the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement USA National Engineering Challenge. The event, which took place June 19-22, was at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor and the University of Maryland at College Park.

In May, the four-student team from Cradlerock competed in the State MESA challenge and received first place, which earned members the chance to participate in the national challenge. Team members are Samira Bazuzi, Kevin Bochinski, Tracy Howse and Caroline Pyon. The team is coached by teachers Jason Cartwright and Keri Johnson.

At the Baltimore event, they faced middle and high school students from 10 states. The contest required them to "be highly proficient in theory, engineering design and performance in order to produce machines that propel objects and meet prescribed objectives."

School Board Meeting Set for This Afternoon

The Howard County Board of Education will meet at 4 p.m. today in the boardroom at the Department of Education, 10910 Route 108 in Ellicott City. Those attending can speak at the beginning of the meeting on any topic for which no formal hearing is scheduled. To sign up, call 410-313-7194. To arrange for sign language interpretation, call 410-313-7046.

-- Compiled by LORI ARATANI and CARRIE DONOVAN


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