ELDERSBURG — Carroll school administrators don't want to crowd students into the new Piney Ridge Elementary School in its first year.
Instead, theywant to open with fewer students to allow growth in the school, which opens in September off Freedom Road, south of Route 26.
Under the administrators' plan -- known as Option A -- the schoolwould start with about 490 students. Two other redistricting optionswould bring enrollment close to or over capacity, which is 600.
"What we heard loud and clear from the citizens that participated in the two public meetings we had was a general concurrence that Piney Ridge should open with room to grow," said Vernon F. Smith Jr., director of school support services. "Option A most efficiently does that."
The meetings were held last month at Eldersburg and Carrolltowne elementaries. About 100 people attended each of the meetings. There was little opposition to the three redistricting proposals.
The board will not take action on the recommendation at its regular meeting at 9 a.m. today. The final public meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m., May 1, at Liberty High School.
The board is expected to act at its regular meeting later that month.
Concerned about the room for growth at the school, which has limited space for portable units, the board may consider an additional measure that would transfer 19 students from Freedom to Carrolltowne, instead of Piney Ridge. Students living south of Route 26 and east of Route 32 would be affected.
Administrators consider that measure viable, but have not recommended it because of a previous decision not to transfer students to existing schools.
"Our recommendation is to only transfer from existing schools to the new school," Smith said.
Redrawing boundary lines is necessary to alleviate overcrowd
ing at the existing schools -- Eldersburg, Carrolltowne and Freedom -- and to balance enrollment betweenthose elementaries and Piney Ridge.
Under Option A, for example, the enrollment at Eldersburg Elementary, which has a capacity of 550 students, would fall below 600 students. Its enrollment is currently 786 students.
Option A creates a Piney Ridge attendance area usingthe Route 32 corridor, the Freedom Avenue connector, the township limits of Sykesville and the Gaither Road area.
Freedom and Carrolltowne elementary boundaries are affected in the same way under all three options. But under options B and C, even more students would have to be pulled from Eldersburg Elementary.
The Piney Ridge attendance area would be expanded under Option B to include Obrecht Road east of Route 97 and White Rock Road south of Martz Road. Option C would include all of White Rock and Streaker roads east of Patrick Drive.