So Far, Questions, Not Furor, Greet School Redistricting

January 12, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

Parents raised questions but voiced no immediate opposition to suggested school boundary line changes that will send about 1,000 Howard County elementary and middle school pupils to different schools next fall.

The quiet reception approximately 500 parents gave redistricting plans at meetings last week contrasted with the atmosphere a yearago, when a proposal to shift pupils from Harper's Choice Middle School to Wilde Lake Middle brought immediate opposition.

Among the few to raise questions at regional meetings Tuesday andWednesday were residents of the Cardinal Forest subdivision, whose children are among the 145 listed for transfer from Hammond Elementaryto the new Forest Ridge Elementary.

Forest Ridge, on Gorman Road east of Interstate 95, is to open in September.

Parent Teri Sprague asked, why not transfer students living north of Gorman Road from Hammond to Forest Ridge Elementary, since those pupils would be closerto the new school than pupils from Cardinal Forest?

Cardinal Forest parents are active in Hammond Elementary, she said, adding that rapid development in the area may mean that those pupils will face another redistricting in a few years.

Associate Superintendent MauriceF. Kalin promised to consider the idea before submitting his redistricting proposal to the school board Jan. 23.

Some parents of fifth-graders at Laurel Woods Elementary also may ask the board to let their children finish at the school rather than transfer to Forest Ridge.

Laurel Woods PTA President Donna Thewes said she has heard many requests from parents to let the fifth-graders stay. But parents generally recognize the need to transfer younger pupils from the seriously overcrowded school, she said.

Laurel Woods has 875 pupils -- more than 300 over capacity -- and would lose 230 to Forest Ridge next fall.

One parent who met the prospect of a boundary line change with relief was Cathy Nugent of Summer Blossom Lane in the Kings Contrivance section of Columbia. Children from her small community -- Rain Flower Way, Early April Way and adjoining streets -- would move from Jeffers Hill Elementary to Atholton Elementary next fall.

Jeffers Hill is a long bus ride for the children, Nugent said. She said the new Forest Ridge school is just 2.6 miles from her home, "but Atholton would be acceptable."

When she left the meeting at Hammond High School last week, she planned to drive over to Atholton Elementary to check the distance from the school to her home.

Northern and western county residents focused much of their attention on possible changes to Mount Hebron and Centennial high school attendance areas when the western high school opens in 1994.

Proposals to move youths fromDunloggin Middle School to the new Burleigh Manor Middle School and to send Patapsco Middle School pupils to Dunloggin next fall were greeted quietly.

Dunloggin is bursting at the seams with 900 pupils this year -- more than 374 over capacity. The overflow is housed in eight portable classrooms.

The plan calls for filling the Burleigh Manor with 475 pupils from Dunloggin, and transferring about 100 youths from Patapsco Middle to Dunloggin to relieve overcrowding at Patapsco.

Dunloggin PTA President Kathleen Maizel said she believed the transfer produced no vocal opposition last week because parents understand the overcrowding situation.

"Dunloggin is a wonderful school, and I'm glad I'm there," she said. "But when you're looking at a brand new state-of-the-art school, who wouldn't want to go?"

Parentsfrom Turf Valley Overlook asked why the proposal called for keeping their children at Patapsco Middle School next year.

Kalin replied that the western middle school scheduled to open in September 1993 onRoute 99 may mean changes for pupils on the west side of Patapsco's attendance area, so he would rather not make changes for next fall.

He said both Centennial and Mount Hebron high schools will be overcrowded by 1996 and their attendance areas will have to be shifted south. The north and east are blocked by the Baltimore County line and ashift west would run into the attendance area of Glenelg, which alsowill be over capacity, he said.

The board will conduct a public hearing and two public work sessions before voting on boundary lines March 26.

PORTABLE CLASSROOM COUNT

Following is a look at proposed changes in the use of portable classrooms next fall:

* Bollman Bridge Elementary, add two for a total of three.

* Bryant Woods Elementary, remove both.

* Elkridge Elementary, remove all four.

* Laurel Woods Elementary, remove all seven.

* Waverly Elementary, add four for a total of four.

* Dunloggin Elementary, remove all eight.

* Glenwood Elementary, add one for a total of four.

* Centennial High, add four for a total of four.

* Mount Hebron High, addtwo for a total of two.

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