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By Kate Leventhal | Posted 1/31/2007

On The Agenda Jan. 22

Bill 07-0570 Nuisance Abatement--Community or Neighborhood Associations: Would allow the Health Department to put neighborhood/community associations in charge of removing or abating certain nuisances, especially in the areas around abandoned homes.

Public Interest Grade: A Currently, when a vacant property creates a nuisance, the city imposes a lien on the abandoned property and collects the money when the property is purchased by a new owner. Some community associations, such as Coldstream-Homestead's, keep the areas around vacant properties clean while waiting for them to change hands. This bill would allow these associations to impose a lien on the properties they tend to as well. This way, the organizations would acquire some income from the sale of property and further motivate neighborhoods to spiff up the buildings within their boundaries.

Resolution 07-0245R Informational Hearing--No Child Left Behind Act--Highly Qualified Teachers--Baltimore City Public School System Compliance: Requests that the CEO and chief academic officer of the Baltimore City Public School System brief the City Council on the status of the school system's compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The act requires that by June 2007 all teachers of academic subjects be "highly qualified" for their positions.

Public Interest Grade: A A couple of weeks ago Baltimore City schools faced litigation threats and angry protests when it tried to shuffle 150 teaching assistants, right in the middle of the school year, from Title I schools with high percentages of impoverished kids to schools serving wealthier students. The reason for the shift was that No Child Left Behind mandates that only "highly qualified" assistants--those with associate's degrees or those who passed a state exam--could work in Title I schools. The school system faces a similar ultimatum for teachers this summer, and the council is demanding answers from North Avenue so the city can avoid a tense situation like the one that happened with the teaching assistants.


Clarke

City Council Quote Of The Week

"This was wholesale moving of teaching assistants in the middle of the year because of bad timing and poor planning." --Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke (D-14th District) on the shuffling of city teaching assistants due to the No Child Left Behind Act.

City Council Fact of the Week

George A. Nilson, of the law firm DLA Piper and a former Maryland deputy attorney general, was nominated for city solicitor last week. Others who have held this position include Edgar Allan Poe, great-nephew of the famous writer, and George Russell Jr., the first African-American to hold the position. He was also the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Bench of Baltimore.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. To view the City Council's meeting schedule visit www.baltimorecitycouncil.com.

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