Community Expresses Concern About Portables

Urbana Town Courier
Sally Alt
Although the Frederick County Public County Schools (FCPS) system is working hard to ensure the health and safety of classrooms, community members believe that more should be done to safeguard the health of students and teachers in portable classrooms at Urbana Elementary School (UES). Jeff Esko, who taught for 23 years in the Gifted and Talented Magnet Program at UES, filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging that his health issues were caused by working in a portable classroom. The fifth grade teacher spent seven years teaching in portable buildings used as classrooms at UES, and has been treated for ocular migraines and vision loss Health issues in some portable classrooms may be linked to indoor air quality problems, which can be caused by poorly functioning HVAC systems, chemical off-gassing from pressed wood and other high-emission materials, water entry and mold growth, and improper or infrequent cleaning, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Outdoor air should be supplied continuously when a portable classroom is occupied by students and teachers, the EPA said.

Frederick County schools rank first in Maryland achievement report

Frederick News Post
Rachel S. Karas
Frederick County Public Schools scored the highest of any Maryland school district in a state report analyzing educational success. The 2012 Maryland Report Card school progress index released last month gave Frederick County a rating of 1.0558 for its academic achievement, growth, college and career readiness, and reduction of the gap between its highest- and lowest-performing students. A score of 1 or higher means a school district met the index's standards for achievement, according to the index's website. Maryland Report Card data is compiled annually by the state's Department of Education to compare the two most recent calendar years of standardized test results. This is the first year the report has included a school progress index. Stephen Hess, the county's former director of research, development and accountability, said the standing is not something to be taken lightly. Success comes from the hard work of teachers, parents and students and a countywide dedication to progress, he said.

County approves senior development

Frederick News Post
Liam Farrell
The graying baby boomers in Frederick County are getting another community just for them. On Tuesday night, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners approved a change in zoning to allow construction of the Monrovia Town Center, an age-restricted development of more than 1,600 units south of Monrovia. About 50 acres of the area, near Urbana, will be donated for public use and will eventually house a fire and emergency medical service substation and a Frederick County Sheriff's Office substation.The developer, 75-80 Properties L.L.C., will also put $10,000 for each market value unit, or about $14 million, toward improving neighboring roads such as Md. 75. Any new development of 25 or more dwelling units must make at least 12 percent of its units affordable for middle-income residents.