On the face of it, Sabillasville parents received some great news Wednesday. But did they?

That evening, the county school board voted to conditionally approve a charter for the new Sabillasville Environmental School. This means, should enough students sign up, the school would be open this fall. After two years of battling to save the school from closure, it was a monumental victory for parents. “I’m overwhelmed,” Alisha Yocum, president of Sabillasville Elementary’s parent teacher organization and leader of the effort, told our reporter Jillian Atelsek.

But then came the sobering details — the current Sabillasville Elementary School building isn’t part of the deal. At least not at this point.

It seems that in order for the charter school to get to use the existing building, the school board must officially close Sabillasville Elementary. Then, the newly constituted charter school can apply to use the old site. But even that doesn’t guarantee anything.

At the meeting Wednesday, board president Jay Mason said other charter schools could apply to take over use of the building and he couldn’t promise that the Sabillasville parents’ bid would be successful. Parents were, understandably, frustrated at yet another hurdle in the process.

Yocum is still staying positive about launching the charter school, given Wednesday’s conditional approval. She has every reason to be. But why the fate of the building couldn’t have been determined at the same time is beyond us, especially since the school board has been weighing this issue for two years.

We are going to try keeping this one positive because we always want to celebrate democracy in action.

Early voting for Frederick’s primary elections started Wednesday. To say turnout was light on the first day would be an understatement.

By noon, the lone polling place had seen 19 voters. By the time polls closed for the day, 13 hours after opening, a whopping 38 voters had cast ballots.

We’d be upset if not for the other options in place for this election. Mail-in ballots have been sent to voters, and so far, those have been more than trickling in, according to election officials. They can be returned in the mail or delivered to one of seven drop box locations around the city.

Barbara Wagner, director of the county’s Board of Elections, said they’ve been getting plenty of ballots both from the drop boxes and in the mail. She also expects primary day on Tuesday to be busier.

While we’re saddened by the dismal showing on the first day of early voting, we’re going to remain hopeful turnout far exceeds the less than 14 percent turnout seen four years ago.

Many of us woke Thursday morning to the unfortunate news of a fire that significantly damaged Brodbeck Music Hall on the campus of Hood College. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The fire damage was believed to have been mostly contained to the third floor of this historic building, the oldest on Hood’s campus. It was not immediately known how the fire started but a lightning strike is suspected.

Built in 1868, Brodbeck Hall now serves as a space for classes, music lessons and performances.

“We are saddened by this event, but we must remember that the safety of our community is what is most important,” the college’s Facebook statement read. “We are so grateful to the quick response of campus safety, the RA’s who took care of our Smith residents, and of course, the [DFRS] for their service.”

As of late Thursday, it was too early to know what next steps are, but we’re happy to hear from Hood President Andrea Chapdelaine that the structural integrity of the building is sound. “I fully expect a complete restoration – music will be heard within its halls again,” she said in a statement.

That’s reassuring, even after a day of disappointment.

After years of waiting, state funds to revitalize U.S. 15 may be on the horizon. That’s welcome news considering how long local elected officials have fought to address gridlock and safety issues along the highway.

State Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) made the announcement Monday after he and Del. Carol Krimm (D-District 3A) met with state Transportation Secretary Greg Slater to urge that money for U.S. 15 be included in the state’s $16.4 billion, six-year capital budget. After years of cajoling and lobbying state officials, this is by far the closest the state has come to addressing the problems along U.S. 15.

But before we get too excited, it’s important to keep in mind that the capital budget is a fluid document. Projects can be added and subtracted with relative ease, depending on competing projects and, perhaps more importantly, the goals of the department and the governor. And with Gov. Larry Hogan leaving office in a little over a year, a new governor will certainly have their own priorities.

We hope that’s not the case and funding is approved for the needed improvements. We have reason to be optimistic, though, given the news from the state this week.

Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to letters@newspost.com.

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