The following were among actions taken at Thursday's meeting of the Prince George's County Board of Education. For more information, call 952-6005.
COMPUTERS FOR SCHOOLS -- The board voted unanimously to spend $5.1 million on computers for second- and third-grade students in 68 elementary schools that do not have magnet or compensatory programs.
George Ridler, budget director for the school system, said the computers would be installed this fall but paid for over a five-year period out of school operating budgets.
Schools spokesman Bonnie Jenkins said the 68 schools were chosen to receive computers because, unlike the system's magnet and compensatory schools, they do not have computer instruction for students.
Magnet schools, established as part of the school system's desegregation effort, offer special academic programs, such as science and technology and creative arts, to attract white students to predominantly black schools. Computers are a part of each magnet program's curriculum.
Compensatory schools, though they do not have magnet programs, receive computers in addition to other learning supplies and equipment as compensation for being too geographically isolated from others schools to be included in the desegregation effort.
MAGNET EXPANSION -- The board postponed a vote and scheduled a public hearing tonight on the proposed expansion of the school system's magnet program. The expansion would create a communications arts elementary school and career high schools with special programs in banking, finance and biotechnology.
The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the Sasscer Administration Building on School Lane in Upper Marlboro.
The magnet program, now in its third year, offers special programs at 39 of the county's 171 schools. Current programs include traditional "academy" schools, which have a rigid curriculum and strict discipline; French/foreign immersion, with a curriculum taught entirely in French; humanities and social sciences; and science, math and technology.
Murphy's proposal, if approved by the board, would bring to Laurel High School the "University High" program for college-bound students now used at Suitland High School; add a career magnet program with an emphasis in banking and finance to Largo High School; and add a biotechnology magnet program to Fairmont Heights High School.
School officials said the expansion is expected to cost $1.2 million and will be paid for out of the system's operating budget.
ALCOHOL AND DRUG POLICY -- The board approved a stricter drug and alcohol policy for all county schools beginning next September.
Under the modified Student Code of Conduct, students guilty of first offenses for drug and alcohol possession will be suspended for five days and with their parents will be required to enroll in a county-run substance abuse program before they will be allowed to return to school.
Students who choose not to enroll in one of several programs offered to county citizens for a small fee will be expelled from county schools.
Second offenses for drug and alcohol possession will result in automatic expulsion, under the changes sponsored by board member Angelo I. Castelli.
Currently, students who are caught with drugs or alcohol are suspended for five days or expelled, depending on the amount of substance involved and whether it is a first offense. Suspended students are automatically reinstated after the five days.
Castelli said he sponsored the resolution because he wants a drug-free school environment.