2012: A year of building for the future at Washington County Schools
New construction plans, new reading program and a new health services deal highlight year
Cement pipes are shown being unloaded this past summer near the site of where the new Bester School will be built. (File photo / December 27, 2012)
Washington County Public Schools and the health department reached a deal for the county health department to continue to provide health services for the 2012 summer school session.
In August, the school system reached a deal with Meritus Medical Center Inc. to provide school health services starting with the 2012-13 school year. The one-year deal has two possible one-year extensions.
The cost of the program for the first year, from Aug. 15, 2012, to Aug. 14, 2013, is not to exceed $2,737,458.
Summer reading program
July 2 — The Washington County Public Schools system started a new summer school program aimed at helping incoming second-graders who were reading below grade level catch up before the start of the new school year.
Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox has said the transition between second and third grades is an important time for youngsters, when students shift from learning to read to reading to learn.
The school system invited approximately 400 students to participate in the program, but only about 170 enrolled.
Wilcox said school system officials want to do something with summer reading this coming summer, but aren’t sure yet if they will re-create the same program.
One possibility is holding the program at more schools.
Some parents said families had difficulty getting up early enough to get to one of the program’s four sites last summer, Wilcox said. Expanding the number of sites also would reduce transportation costs, he said.
Last summer’s reading program was held at Rockland Woods Elementary, Bester Elementary, Salem Avenue Elementary, and Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School.
July 17-present — Construction continues on a new Bester Elementary School behind the existing Bester Elementary in Hagerstown’s South End.
On July 17, Washington County Deputy Schools Superintendent Boyd Michael told the Washington County Commissioners that bids for the new school construction came in about $4 million over budget. Initial project estimates were about $17.3 million.
The package of construction work was rebid, with the school system asking for bids for both prevailing wages and nonprevailing wages.
During an Aug. 28 Facilities Committee meeting, Michael said the second set of bids also came in over budget.
On Sept. 4, the school board delayed voting on construction bids.
During a joint meeting between the school board and Washington County Commissioners on Sept. 11, the commissioners voted unanimously to transfer $2.1 million in savings from past school capital projects to the school board to use for other capital projects.
County officials left it up to the school board to decide whether to use the transferred funds for school construction or major maintenance projects.