Clemens Crossing parents didn't just ask the school board not to move their children from Clarksville to Wilde Lake Middle School. They brought a carefully researched alternative proposal to Thursday's public hearing on redistricting.
Other speakers at the school board hearing sought additional portable classrooms for Guilford Elementary School; "reunion" of children from Sebring. Woodleigh and Hawthorn subdivisions with Clemens Crossing; no transfer to Pointer's Run for Clemens Crossing Elementary School students; and redistricting of Dunloggln Middle School students to fill Harpers Choice Middle.
The most researched proposal came from a group that identified Itself as the "Clemens Crossing Walkers," parents whose children have traditionally followed a path from Clemens Crossing Elementary School to Clarksville Middle to Atholton High School.
The proposed redistricting, which would affect 140 students, is part of Associate Superintendent Maurice F. Kalin's plan to boost enrollment at Wilde Lake. The school will lose approximately 270 students next fall when children from the Phelps Luck neighborhood enter the new Mayfield Woods Middle School.
Many speakers from the Clarksville neighborhood stressed that redistricting will create a rift in the neighborhood school pattern, the importance of a stable environment for middle school students and the sense of continuity among parents working together in PTA.
John Vandervossen. the father of a seventh-grader at Clarksville Middle, put it simply: "I would like Philip to stay at Clarksville as his four brothers and sisters before him did."
The alternative redistricting plan outlined for the board by seven representatives from the "Clemens Crossing Walkers" called for:
Transfer students from the Beaverbrook section of Columbia and Hilltop Road from Harper's Choice to Wilde Lake.
Transfer students from northern Clarksville - roughly the area between Route 108 and Folly Quarter Road, from the Department of Education offices to Route 32 - from Clarksville to Harper's Choice Middle.
Transfer students from MacGill's Common in the Village of Kings Contrivance from Clarksville to Oakland Mills Middle.
The parents' proposal is an extension of an alternative offered by Kalin in his boundary line recommendations.
The suggested alternative would take all of Bryant Woods Elementary School to Wilde Lake plus students who live north of Owen Brown Road and attend Clemens Crossing Elementary.
The parents' plan would give Wilde Lake 522 students next fall, while Kalin's recommended plan would give the school 560 students, "Clemens Crossing Walker" member David Naftaly pointed out.
Parents and some students from the Sebring and Hawthorn areas north of Owen Brown Road did not oppose the recommended transfer of Clemens Crossing children to Wilde Lake. but asked to be allowed to join them.
Students from the area were channeled from Clarksville to Harper's Choice Middle six years ago, and would like to rejoin the remainder of Clemens Crossing, speakers said.
Representatives of the Harper's Choice Middle School PTA expressed concern about enrollment dropping if students are redistricted to Wilde Lake.
If students must be transfered to fill Wilde Lake, take them from the most overcrowded schools -Dunloggin and Charksville, suggested PTA member Rod Wallace.
Parents from Guilford Elementary School expressed support for Kalin's recommendation to place two portables at the school next fall, but said they really need four.
Residents of the area south of the Middle Patuxent River whose children now attend Clemens Crossing and are recommended for transfer to Pointer's Run asked the reason for the change.
"There's no real gain for any area from this change," said parent Sue Medicus. "It doesn't empty Clemens Crossing or fill Pointer's Run."
Kahn's report said transfer of the 44 students would relieve crowding at Clemens Crossing, which is 50 students over capacity this year.