With a redistricting plan set for the county's northeast elementary schools, education officials are turning their attention to the overcrowded schools in the Eldersburg area.
The expected opening of the$4.8 million Piney Ridge Elementary School next year could mean redrawing the attendance areas for Eldersburg, Carrolltowne and Freedom District elementaries.
The enrollments at those schools will be taken under consideration when school officials -- support services and transportation staff -- sit down this week to develop two or three redistricting options, said Vernon F. Smith Jr., Carroll's director of school support services.
The Board of Education is expected to receive a preliminary report on the redistricting plan for Piney Ridge at its Feb. 13 meeting. The staff will recommend a plan in March, and the board is expectedto take action the following month, after a public hearing.
Redrawing boundary lines, school officials said, is necessary to alleviateovercrowding and to balance enrollments among new and existing schools.
Lester P. Surber, Carroll's supervisor of school facilities/planning, said the students who currently are housed in portables at Eldersburg, Carrolltowne and Freedom District elementaries easily couldfill the 600-student capacity available at Piney Ridge.
But in developing redistricting options, officials have asked the staff to be "cautious and sensitive" to the limited space for portable classroomsat the new school, which could open as early as next January. Officials do not want to open the school above capacity, as happened several years ago with the new Hampstead Elementary.
Although the school, initially scheduled to open in fall 1992, could be ready several months earlier, officials said the school's construction planning committee has recommended that students not be reshuffled during mid-year.Reshuffling would disrupt students and staff, the committee said.
When redrawing boundary lines, Smith said the staff will also take into consideration the realignment of the attendance areas of the middle schools that feed students to Liberty High. Currently, some Eldersburg Elementary pupils step outside that system to attend Mount Airy Middle School.
Redrawing the Eldersburg elementary attendance areacomes on the heels of the board's approval earlier this month of a redistricting plan for the Manchester, Hampstead and Spring Garden elementaries.
School officials, however, have not taken lightly criticism parents dished their way during the previous redistricting debate. Responding to Manchester parents' concerns about the lack of information on the redistricting plans, school officials plan to mail notices to parents of children in the southeastern attendance area.
Information about the northeast Carroll redistricting proposals was sent home with school children. Many parents, however, complained they did not receive the notices.
"Mailing the notices would reduce the confusion with kids not taking home announcements," Smith said.
Although appreciative of the staff taking into consideration public concerns, board member Cheryl A. McFalls said sending notices home with children is a good -- and less expensive -- means of relaying information.
"I question the need to use taxpayers' dollars in the way ofpostage to send information home to parents," she said. "That will probably allow us to be criticized less,