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Graduation Rate Rises to 90 Percent for Class of 2010- Rate Jumps for 24 of 25 MCPS High Schools

The graduation rate for Montgomery County Public Schools increased to 90 percent in 2010, spurred by dramatic gains among the district’s African American students. The graduation rate for the MCPS class of 2010 showed an increase of more than 2½ percentage points over the Class of 2009, with African American students gaining more than 4 percentage points.

“This is outstanding news for our district. More of our students are graduating on time with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful,” said Patricia O’Neill, President of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “Congratulations to the students, parents and staff that made these results possible.”
   The MCPS graduation rate of 90 percent is 3.4 percentage points higher than the rate for the state of Maryland (86.6 percent).

Maryland County Spends $1 Mil on 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', Turns Out it isn't the REAL Cabin

TheMoneyTimes.com reports, that according to historians, a Maryland county has put more than $2 million into buying and expanding a cabin falsely believed to be the basis of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Montgomery County purchased a two-story colonial house in Bethesda with the log cabin extending from one side in 2006 for $1 million and has since spent $1 million more on expanding and studying the property, which was believed to be the former home of Josiah Henson, whose life story inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

However, historians said they have now determined Stowe never lived in the cabin although it did belong to the Riley family who held Henson as a slave from 1795 to 1830.  Henson lived in slave quarters that have long disappeared, and never in the house or the cabin, which was then a kitchen.

Montgomery County to Get $2.6M for Snow Removal

(AP)-Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski says Montgomery County will receive $2.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover some of the costs for snow removal last December.

Mikulski said Friday that the agency had allocated the money to the state of Maryland.

A federal disaster declaration after the heavy snow storm made federal funding available to state and local governments for their cleanup costs.

On Thursday, FEMA also awarded funds to the District of Columbia, Virginia and Baltimore County.

21 MCPS Students Named Achievement Scholarship Semifinalists

Twenty-one Montgomery County Public Schools students have been named semifinalists for the National Achievement Scholarship. The scholarship program, administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, recognizes promising African American students throughout the nation.

More than 1,600 public, private and home school students, nationwide, were identified as semifinalists for the 2011 scholarship program, based on their performance on the PSAT. These students can now compete for up to 800 Achievement Scholarships.

Last year, 14 MCPS students from six schools were named semifinalists for the award, and eight received the scholarship. This year, the 21 MCPS semifinalists are from seven high schools across the county—Blair, Blake, Magruder, Richard Montgomery, Poolesville, Watkins Mill and Whitman. Overall, MCPS accounts for more than one-third of the public school semifinalists in the state of Maryland.

 

Court Orders Vote On Montgomery Co. Ambulance Fee

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's highest court has ordered a public vote on a recently passed ambulance fee in Montgomery County.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the referendum on the ballot for Nov. 2.

The lower court had ruled that elections officials were correct to bar referendums because thousands of people signed their names on petition forms in a manner that conflicted with state law. The county board of elections rejected thousands of petition signatures, including illegible ones and some from people who signed without a middle initial.ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's highest court has ordered a public vote on a recently passed ambulance fee in Montgomery County.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the referendum on the ballot for Nov. 2.

County Facing $140M Shortfall for Fiscal 2012

The Gazette reports that Montgomery County has a $145 million budget shortfall that officials already have identified for fiscal 2012, which begins next July.

On Tuesday, county officials told the County Council that known expenditures will be 4.3 percent higher in fiscal 2012 than this year. A fiscal plan approved by the council earlier this year allows for growth of one-tenth of one percent.

To help curb government expenses, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has directed all county agencies to prepare to trim their budgets by as much as 15 percent. County spokesman Patrick K. Lacefield said such a scenario might not even be the worst case if decisions during the next Maryland General Assembly session, which begins in January, transfer more state expenses — such as teacher pensions — to county government.

Poolesville Skate Park Open

The Poolesville Skatepark, constructed in 2010, is open to the public at no cost. Poolesville area youth worked with park planners to create the design depicted below. The park is open daily from 7:30 to dusk. During inclimate weather, the park will be closed.

Skaters are responsible for abiding by the posted rules and to maintain a clean park. Failure to do so, may result in loss of skating privledges or park closure. Click here for rules.