The following were among actions taken and items discussed at the January 28 meeting of the Howard County School Board. For more information, call 992-0500.
SCHOOL BOUNDARY CHANGES -- To help accomodate the county's booming population of school-age children, school officials have recommended transferring 145 students, installing 12 portable classrooms at several elementary and middle schools and studying the possibility of reopening unused school buildings -- all next fall.
A public hearing will be held on the recommendations at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 as part of the school board meeting.
In a report to the board, Maurice Kalin, associate superintendent for planning, said there is overcrowding at every level at almost all of the county's 43 schools. But he said that the greatest crunch will come in elementary schools, where officials predict that an additional 2,904 students will enroll by 1993. At the middle and high school levels, smaller increases are expected, with 1,872 new middle school students and 420 new high school students expected to enroll during the same period.
Redistricting will more evenly distribute the student population in the county, the report said, moving students from high growth areas in east Columbia and Ellicott City to schools in the central and western areas of Columbia.
In the future, 14 construction projects, both new schools and expansion of existing schools, will help offset the student population explosion. In addition to Bollman Bridge Elementary School, which opens in September, four new elementary schools and four middle schools have been included in the proposed 1989 capital budget and are scheduled to open in the next seven years, the report said. Three new elementary schools and two middle schools will open in the next seven years.
School Superintendent Michael Hickey said that fewer students will be affected by redistricting next year than were affected this year.
"We made the majority of the moves last year. We don't want to disrupt large segments of the community year after year," Hickey said.
Last year, the board voted to transfer 1,000 students this year and next year. Half will fill the new Bollman Bridge Elementary School. The report recommends installing eleven portable classrooms at elementary schools and one at Ellicott Mills Middle School as a short term solution to overcrowding.
The report also recommended renovating the old Rockland Elementary School -- located in the center of one of the high growth areas and now used as an arts center -- and reopening it next year.
SMOKING POLICY REPORT -- A report evaluating a six-month old student smoking ban concluded that implementation of the ban has been "smooth and successful" and that smoking among students overall has decreased significantly this school year.
The board voted to ban smoking last spring in an effort to promote a healthier school environment. Smoking had been permitted in the county's eight high schools since 1972. Among findings in the report was that there were 259 first-offense violations between September and December 1987 and only 35 second offenses.
However, representatives from high school government groups at the meeting said that smoking in the bathrooms has increased and urged that the ban be more strictly enforced.
The report noted that 49 students participated in school-sponsored smoking cessation classes last semester and recommended that the board continue to monitor the smoking policy and to provide adequate support services such as the smoking cessation clinics.
SPECIAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM -- The board unanimously approved a new curriculum, effective immediately, that will focus on health and safety issues in special education classes.
Previously, special education teachers had adapted the curriculum covering such topics as sex education, hygiene and personal safety that is used in the school system's general classes.
But administrators felt something different was needed for the 742 students enrolled in special education programs.
"It was not appropriate for our students," said Martha Sullivan, director of the system's special education department. "This is tailor-made for the special education program and will be presented at a rate and understanding level that will meet their needs."