The following were among actions taken at the Jan. 14 meeting of the Howard County School Board. For more information, call 992-0500.
ASBESTOS SURVEY -- In a unanimous vote, the board approved funding that could total $350,000 for a systemwide asbestos inspection of school buildings. Although the school system's 46 buildings passed federal inspection in the spring of 1986, new EPA regulations require school systems to conduct new inspections and create a management plan for each building by October 1988.
The new laws surprised school officials, who are looking for ways to fund the inspection. Associate Superintendent for Finance Operations Charles Ecker said, "We didn't budget for this. So we have to try and find money for it." School Board Chairman Anne Dodd said the board "reluctantly" approved the funding, but is seeking partial reimbursement from the federal government. "We didn't want to pay for it, but we felt we didn't have a choice."
School systems that don't comply with the laws face stiff fines, said Dodd.
OFF-SITE GRADUATION -- The board voted to establish a task force to study alternative sites for high school graduation ceremonies following complaints by students concerned about security at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the only alternative site used now.
Graduation ceremonies for five county high schools have been held for the past five years at the campus, in western Baltimore County, because the number of guests exceeds the county schools' seating capacities. Last year, a man caused a disturbance at the Centennial High School graduation ceremony at the university campus by shouting. No security guards were available to escort him out.
Instructional Director for High Schools James McGowan says he wants to "make sure everyone's happy," but wants to try to work out the security problems with the University of Maryland before committing to other sites. One alternative site under consideration is Towson State University in northern Baltimore County.
The task force report is expected to be released in March.