- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009

PG considers boundary changes

Prince George’s County school officials are considering boundary changes inside and outside the Beltway to level out enrollment and trim costs. Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. released his proposal on Nov. 12, but critics say the plan leaves too many schools under-enrolled or over-capacity.

The school board is scheduled to vote next month on the plan, which would affect 50 schools but close none.

The superintendent’s plan is not a perfect plan, and some schools need considerable attention, schools officials said last week at the first of four public hearings on the changes.

The plan would leave 44 schools either under- or over-capacity on state-rated capacity levels. The superintendent has not proposed to close any schools.

Parents are speaking up

For example, Mr. Hite wants to convert Langley Park-McCormick Elementary into a middle school, but parents and community leaders say leave it alone. They say the school math and reading benchmarks are great - 75 proficient in math and 79 proficient in reading.

Two public hearings on the boundary changes remain: Nov. 30 at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi and Dec. 1 at Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro.

Campuses going tobacco-free

If you are a parent in search of a smoke-free college campus, the list just grew longer.

The University of Kentucky - the largest university in the tobacco-growing state and home to a tobacco research center - began banning all smoking on campus on Thursday. The ban includes chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, snuff and cigarettes. The same day, the University of Louisville began restricting smoking its Belknap and Shelby campuses.

Meanwhile, Purdue University backed away from a total smoking ban and, instead, has decided to restrict smoking to specific areas. The policy will take effect July 1.

Kentucky joins more than 300 universities, including Indiana and Ball State, that have nonsmoking policies.

NCAA graduation news

Seventy-nine percent of NCAA Division I freshmen student-athletes who entered college in 2002 earned their degrees, the organization announced last week.

“Be assured - the NCAA’s commitment to academics is as strong as it has ever been,” said Jim Isch, the NCAA’s interim president. “Having been on three major campuses before coming to the NCAA 10 years ago, I know how critical academic success is to the future of intercollegiate athletics and for the student athletes who participate.”

Now hear this

Those in the know knew Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson were sweeties.

The couple attended sports events, education-related events and Obama-related events.

She flew to the West Coast to visit him. He flew to the East Coast to visit her.

Now it’s official

Washington’s schools chief and Sacramento’s chief executive are engaged.

She is a 39-year-old mother of two, and he is a 44-year-old bachelor long familiar to NBA fans as simply “KJ.”

He founded a charter school called St. HOPE, and she once served on its board.

The soon-to-be’s say don’t expect wedding bells to chime anytime soon. Their coast-to-coast bond is sustenance enough for now, they say.

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