Negotiations for a new three-year contract for Prince George's County school teachers continued this week after negotiators for the county teachers' union and the Board of Education exchanged contract proposals last week, a school spokesman said.
The current contract expires June 30, 1978, and negotiators say they hope to reach an agreement for a new contract by the end of December, before hearings begin on the budget for the next fiscal year.
The board of education and the county teachers union - the Prince George's County Educators Association - agreed to meet once a week during this phase of bargaining, a school spokesman said.
In another school-related issue, the county school board met last week and voted 6 to 2, with one abstention, to provide busing for approximately 60 children in the White Hall section of Bowie resolving a controversial issue that has been smoldering since the beginning og this school year.
The controversy arose because a number of Meadowbrook Elementary School parents contended that bus transportation should be provided for their children who were walking along what parents considered an unsafe route to school.
The county's School Transportation Department said the route that included Mill Way Road was safe and that those children would have to walk to school because they were within the school system's required walking distance boundary.
The parents then appealed to the Bowie City Council, which closed Mill Way Road to pedestrian traffic.That raised a furor among several school board members who said they were angered that the Bowie parents and the city council were forcing them to make a decision to bus the Bowie Children.
After some debate, the school board members voted to provide transportation for those children. After the vote, school board member Sue V. Mills said that the board's decision would set a precedent for busing other children within the walking boundaries set up by the school system. She said she would submit a resolution at the next board meeting to provide transportation for a group of children who walk along what she considers a dangerous road in her circuit.
School board member Bonnie Johns said she was willing to consider the claims of any group of parents who felt their children had to walk along a dangerous route to school.
In another related issue, the Prince George's County school system - along with other systems in Maryland - is celebrating school bus safety week. Prince George's County has the largest publicly owned school bus fleet in the nation and will be asking both students and the public to pay special attention to safety rules this week, according to a school spokesman.
The spokesman said the familiar yellow buses provide approximately 85,000 student trips daily over county roads. The transportation department is responsible for 818 buses that travel 12.5 million miles each school year, the spokesman said.
A spokesman for the Prince George's County school system said parents of children in the system should be receiving a letter announcing this years family income guide for free milk and free and reduced-price meals. The federally funded national school lunch, school breakfast, and special milk programs are designed to provide nutritious meals to children in families under financial pressure. School officials estimate that one-fifth of the 11.5 million lunches to be served in Prince George's schools this year will be free lunches under the program.
School officials also reminded parents that this is American Education Week and a number of special activities are scheduled in many of the county schools.