Parents Fight Middle School Reassignment

Clemens Crossing Grads To Go To Wilde Lake

February 27, 1991|By Staff report

Clemens Crossing parents hope to persuade the school board this weekto continue sending their children to Clarksville Middle School rather than assigning them to Wilde Lake Middle, as recommended by schoolofficials.

That debate is likely to dominate tomorrow night's public hearing on school boundary lines.

"It's not a campaign against anyone, it's a campaign for what we want," said Toba D. Barth, an organizer of a parent group that supports the status quo. The group has conducted neighborhood meetings and researched the issue. "It's to preserve what we have."

The recommendation of Maurice F. Kalin, associate superintendent for planning and support services, would send Clemens Crossing graduates to Wilde Lake Middle School, a feeder school for Wilde Lake High. However schoolboard Chairman Deborah D. Kendig sees no implication that moving thechildren to Wilde Lake Middle means they would attend Wilde Lake High, since they live within walking distance of Atholton.

The hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. in the school board meeting room at the Department of Education.

In January, Kalin acknowledged that his recommendation runs counter to the feeder system. But Wilde Lake needs an infusion of pupils, he said. The school will lose 270 youngsters from the Phelps Luck neighborhood when they enter the new Mayfield Woods Middle School next fall.

Kalin's solution is to transfer 140 Clemens Crossing pupils from Clarksville Middle. He also recommends that 165 children living in the area east of Cedar Lane and south of Little Patuxent Parkway be transferred from Harper's Choice Middle to Wilde Lake.

His projections indicate that the transfers would keep Wilde Lake's enrollment above the 450 minimum set by the school board for a viable middle school program through 1996-1997.

Clemens Crossing parents hope school board members will look ahead to Wilde Lake High'senrollment projections when they consider redistricting for Wilde Lake Middle, Barth said.

Why not transfer children to Wilde Lake Middle who live in areas that are likely to become part of the Wilde Lake High attendance area, Barth suggested.

School officials expect to redraw high school boundary lines in the next few years. Student populations are projected to decline in older "built-out" areas like Wilde Lake village, but continue to grow in the Ellicott City area, where Centennial and Mount Hebron high schools are already over capacity. A new western high school is scheduled to open in September 1994.

Portable classrooms may also be an issue at the hearing, although Kalin has already recommended that Guilford Elementary receive two portables next year, rather than one. He changed his recommendation after hearing complaints about overcrowding from Guilford parents at lastmonth's boundary lines hearings.

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