‘Just untenable’: Calls mount for improvements at South Lake Elementary

Parents, teachers and local religious leaders turned out at an elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland, to call for construction of a new school, which they say is desperately needed.

Parents, teachers and local religious leaders turned out at an elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland, to call for construction of a new school, which they say is desperately needed.

Members of Action in Montgomery, a community advocacy group, stood outside the building that was riddled with problems, from overcrowding to infrastructure and even rodents, as WTOP reported over the summer.

South Lake has almost 900 students, which is well over the original building capacity, and is home to the most Black and Latino students of any county elementary school. It also has the highest number of children who are participating in free meal programs.

“It’s just untenable to think that a school that’s filled with Black and brown children is going to be passed up,” said Daniel Xisto, pastor at Takoma Park SDA Church, directly to the county council. “They need to be woken up.”

Back in May, county lawmakers voted unanimously to delay South Lake’s new school construction by a year, with a completion date of September 2024, despite Montgomery County Public Schools’ recommendation to prioritize the school in the county’s Capital Improvements Program.

The Montgomery County school board recommended that the council reverse their decision and put the school back on track for a September 2023 completion.

County Council member Craig Rice chaired a session of his Education and Culture Committee last month to revisit the issue. A plan is on the table to rearrange and front-load fiscal year funding to accomplish that goal.

All committee members agreed during their meeting that South Lake needed to be prioritized, including Rice, who said that South Lake “certainly rises

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University of South Carolina announces tuition freeze

During the State of the University address, President Bob Caslen announced the university’s next steps in response to COVID-19, including a tuition freeze.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina announced a tuition freeze for the next academic year to lessen the financial burden on students caused by the coronavirus. 

University President Bob Caslen outlined the plan during his State of the University address Wednesday, Sept. 30.  

During the address, Caslen spoke about the university response to COVID-19, as well as additional steps for USC as the state’s flagship university. This includes “expanding access to underserved residents and boosting its research enterprise,” according to the university. 

This was Caslen’s first State of the University address as president of USC. He began the address by thanking UofSC researchers and staff. 

“The very fact that our campus is open and has remained open; the fact that we are delivering education to more than 35,000 students using flexible modalities; and the fact that we are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and taking care of each other; it’s clear to me that the University of South Carolina is demonstrating what it means to be the state’s flagship institution of higher education,” Caslen said.

RELATED: USC positive COVID-19 test rate drops below 2%

Caslen also expanded on the university’s strategic plan, For South Carolina: A Path to Excellence.

“Within the very name of our university rests its most solemn obligation: to serve the people of South Carolina. How we fulfill this obligation is what will make us preeminent, and our new strategic plan lays out the pathway to get there,” Caslen said.

Highlights of the strategic plan include:

  • Enhancing diversity among students, faculty and staff while continuing to make campus a welcoming environment for all;
  • working to make college more affordable and offering new innovative
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Ashstone Inc., a General Contractor in Pompano Beach, Announces the Launch of their Innovative Company in South Florida

Press release content from Accesswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

The Team at Ashstone Inc. Has 30 Years of Experience and Focuses on Residential and Commercial Construction

POMPANO BEACH, FL / ACCESSWIRE / September 28, 2020 / Sean Emmanuel, a general contractor in Pompano Beach and CEO of Ashstone Inc., is pleased to announce the launch of his new company.

To learn more about Ashstone Inc. and the construction and contracting services that they offer, please visit

As a company spokesperson noted, for home or business owners who are looking for an experienced general contractor, Pompano Beach based Ashstone Inc. is an ideal choice. Emmanuel and his team bring 30 years of experience to the new company, and they are devoted to striving for excellence, no matter how big or small the job may be.

From new residential construction and commercial construction to additions, renovations, design and insurance claims, Ashstone Inc. is a one stop construction project shop that enjoys transforming their clients’ dreams into reality.

“Ashstone is renowned for our reliability, and are well-recognized for delivering exceptional quality services on time with reasonable prices to our clients,” the spokesperson noted, adding that they are proud to be one of the premier construction companies based in South Florida.

“We are committed to customer satisfaction; our construction and building work delights our clients and makes us proud. We aim to bring our wealth of experience to the management of any construction or renovation program.”

Emmanuel and his team also take a great deal of pride in being a progressive company that is devoted to modern ways of thinking and innovative projects. They also feel strongly in the values of diversity, honesty and clear communication. The team from Ashstone strives to