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DANCE CARD & Comedian Engvall takes break from competition to stop by Strathmore. B-5 The Gazette GERMANTOWN | POOLESVILLE | BOYDS DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, October 2, 2013 25 cents Mass furloughs likely to happen in Montgomery Federal agencies slash operations; national parks close n BY KATE S. ALEXANDER AND KEVIN SHAY STAFF WRITERS Thousands of federal jobs and employees call Montgomery County home, but many were not working Tuesday after Congress’ inability to compromise on the federal budget, shutting down most government operations. Exactly how many Montgomery County residents were forced to stay home was unclear, but most agencies in DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Garrett Park Mayor Peter Benjamin straightens items on the official town bulletin board inside the Garrett Park post office. A NEW CHAPTER Digital overnment n The first in a two-part series BY INSIDE Sides disagree on most efficient ways to get information to the public ANDREW SCHOTZ STAFF WRITER n High-speed Internet access is available to more than nine of every 10 households in the county, making it one of the nation’s most connected communities. A-15 Lawmakers and government groups are resuming a fight with media representatives over a requirement to buy newspaper advertisements. Known as “legal notices,” the ads are mandatory an- nouncements of certain government proceedings, such as public hearings and zoning requests. They are a revenue source for newspapers and a longstanding way to inform the public. The main questions: Are these ads the best way to publicize government workings? Should government bodies be forced to buy the ads? The Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties argue that the current legal-ad system is inefficient and wasteful; government bodies have better, cheaper ways to reach constituents. But the Maryland-DelawareD.C. Press Association, a media See ADS, Page A-15 See FURLOUGHED, Page A-13 County SAT scores show rises and falls African-American students’ scores up; Hispanic scores drop n in fight over government ads in newspapers the county were slashing operations and mandating that most employees stay home. Employees who are furloughed are required to not work and will not receive pay. Montgomery is also home to many companies that contract with the government. Those companies could see employees furloughed and delays in contract bids and awards. Eighteen federal agencies and installations are in the county, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the National Institute of BY LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER Montgomery County Public Schools’ 2013 SAT results showed movement in both African-American and Hispanic students’ scores — but in different directions. African-American students’ average combined score rose to 1397 this year — eight points above last year’s score. From 2011 to 2012, African-American students’ average score increased seven points. Hispanic students’ aver- age combined score, however, fell 32 points this year after a six-point increase from 2011 to 2012. Both student groups scored significantly higher than their state and national peers this year. The county school system’s overall average combined score fell three points — from 1651 in 2012 to 1648 this year — but was still 11 points above the 2011 score. The SAT serves as a college placement exam and has a maximum score of 2400 across three areas: critical reading, mathematics and writing. African-American students’ scores improved in all See SAT, Page A-12 Starr pushes for later high school start time n First bell would ring at 8:15 a.m. BY LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER High school students in Montgomery County Public Schools may be one step closer to getting more time to sleep before they wake up for school. Superintendent Joshua P. Starr announced Tuesday his recommendation to move the start time for the school system’s high schools back 50 minutes, from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Starr is also recommending adding NEWS OPEN FOR BUSINESS 30 minutes to the elementary school day to match the length of the high school and middle school days, and moving middle schools’ start time 10 minutes earlier to 7:45 a.m. Start and end times would not change until the 2015-16 school year at the earliest, Starr said. Starr said at a press conference Tuesday that the school system will study the feasibility and practicality of his recommendation, partially through engaging students, families, staff and the community and partially through estimating costs. “We’ve heard from some but not all of our community,” he said. He said there’s “a clear link” between sleep and students’ health and well-being, an area of focus for the school system. “Anything we can do to promote the well-being and health of our kids, we will try to do,” he said. In a news release from the school system, Starr called sleep deprivation among adolescents “a public health and safety issue.” After studying the issue for 10 months starting in January, the 2013 Bell Times Work Group developed a report including different options See START, Page A-11 SPORTS SIZE DOESN’T MATTER Poolesville is looking to bring in new businesses and economic opportunities. Rockville High quarterback lacks traditional size, but is putting up impressive numbers. A-4 B-1 DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr talks to the press about a report from the Bell Times Work Group, which is looking at pushing back school start times. Automotive Calendar Classified Community News Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please B-15 A-2 B-11 A-4 B-5 A-16 A-14 B-1 RECYCLE FALL HOME SERVICES INSIDE FOCUS ON LAWN & TREE SERVICES LOCAL JOBS INSIDE ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906631

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