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& A JOYFUL Noise Area choirs gather to spread the word on a region rich in talent. B-5 The Gazette SILVER SPRING | TAKOMA PARK | BURTONSVILLE DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, February 5, 2014 25 cents Andrews proposes public campaign funding Measure would help fund candidates but place limits on size of contributions n BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER A bill to provide public funding for county executive and county council campaigns has drawn praise from a number of organizations dedicated to good government as an example for other jurisdictions to follow. The bill, sponsored by Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg and co-sponsored by all eight of his council colleagues, would allow candidates to receive public money to help fund their campaigns, but places limits on the size of contributions for candidates who accept it. The bill was introduced Tuesday . Andrews, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for county executive in the June 24 primary, said Monday he believes the bill will encourage more candidates to run for office and more residents to participate in campaigns, as well as reduce the influence of special interests in government. Andrews said he’s been working on the issue since before his election to the council in 1998, including while serving as executive director of Common Cause Maryland from 1988 until 1994. That group’s current executive director, Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, praised the legislation Monday as something that could be used in other counties. “We absolutely believe that Montgomery County is setting the model for other counties to follow and for the state to follow,” Bevan-Dangel said. See FUNDING, Page A-10 Student discipline moves to include more discretion n School system updating policy to follow new state regulations BY LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER Happy New Year Montgomery County school administrators can use discretion for disciplinary action against students involved in major offenses, after the state school board adopted new regulations on Jan. 28. In addition, the regulations call long-term suspensions and expulsions as “last resort options,” and outlines what schools must do to help suspended students receive certain services, according to the state board’s proposed regulations. Montgomery County Public Schools and other Maryland school districts have until the beginning of next school year to update their policies. Lori-Christina Webb — ex- ecutive director to the county school system’s deputy superintendent of teaching, learning and programs — said schoollevel administrators now can use discretion to decide more serious disciplinary cases. Such decisions were previously guided by minimum and maximum discipline outlined in the school system’s policy, she said. Webb said school administrators previously could use discretion for the “vast majority of offenses,” but not the most serious offenses. “This codifies the authority of the school-based administrator to use their judgment and discretion,” Webb said. The school system’s current Student Rights and Responsibilities policy includes several student actions that call for a mandatory recommendation of expulsion and mandatory referral to police. See DISCRETION, Page A-10 BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE Salt trucks wait at a parking lot in Gaithersburg to start salting roads Monday. Wintry assault assails area salt stockpiles BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE Phillip Lee of Silver Spring performs a Lion Dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Sunday at Hollywood East Cafe in Wheaton. See story, A-2. Businesses eagerly awaiting express buses Burtonsville owners say lack of public transportation limits employment n BY ALINE BARROS STAFF WRITER The Cuba de Ayer Restaurant in Burtonsville is hiring but transportation problems for prospective workers are a roadblock. “There is a lot of good people that I’ve been wanting to hire in the past that I have been unable to do,” said owner Jessica Rodriguez. Rodriguez said she often wants to hire people or runs into people looking for a job. “But the minute I find out they live in Wheaton or off of anything that is not up or down [Route] 29, it is very difficult for them to figure out how they are going to get here,” Rodriguez said. Other business owners along Old Columbia Pike-Md. 198 — which links Burtonsville to Silver Spring, Rockville and Laurel in Prince George’s County — are criticizing the lack of transportation options in the area. Some employers won’t hire potential candidates who depend on public transportation. Cuba de Ayer Restaurant has been open eight years. It expanded last year, doubling its kitchen and dining space, but the restaurant hasn’t been able to take advantage of the extra room because it doesn’t have enough staff, Rodriguez said. This all could change if a proposed bus See BUSES, Page A-10 SPORTS NEWS FROG CALLING TOUGH DECISIONS FOR ATHLETES FrogWatch volunteers are part of a nationwide program to collect data on the amphibians. Players make signing day commitments too early because of recruitment pressure. A-5 B-1 Automotive Business Calendar Celebrations Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please Cold temperatures, regular storms have kept crews busy n BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER Having survived last month’s polar vortex and with Punxsutawney Phil recently predicting six more weeks of winter weather, state, county and local officials are keeping an eye on the toll this winter’s weather has taken on their supplies and budgets. Montgomery County has used slightly less than 50,000 tons of road salt since the winter season started in November, said Keith Compton, the chief of the Division of Highway Services in the county’s Department of Transportation. At $52 a ton from the county’s supplier at the Port of Baltimore, that’s about $2.6 million worth of salt so far this winter. The county tries to keep about 30,000 tons on hand so it will always be prepared for a major storm. See SALT, Page A-10 B-14 A-11 A-2 A-13 B-10 B-5 A-14 A-12 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906240

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