It's Parent Vs. Parent In School Redistricting Effort

March 15, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

Redistricting plans for the new Forest Ridge Elementary School pit Scaggsville Road area parents against parents from Hunters Creek and Warfields Range subdivisions. At issue is whose children must leave Hammond Elementary to attend the new school.

Both groups turned out in force at Thursday night's public hearing on school boundary line changes, and each urged the school board to send students from the other area to Forest Ridge on Gorman Road.

The board is scheduled to adopt boundary lines for 1992-1993 at its March 26 meeting.

Attention at the hearing focused on southeastern Howard. Plans to move 477 students from overcrowded Dunloggin Middle School to the new Burleigh Manor Middle or to transfer 80 students from Patapsco Middle to Dunloggin to relieve overcrowding at Patapsco attracted no comment.

Residents of the Carved Stone area south of Lake Elkhorn presented a rare request: Move our children, please.

The approximately 48 children from Carved Stone and surrounding streets have been an out-of-district "island" bused across Dasher Greenand Stevens Forest school attendance areas to Talbott Springs Elementary since 1979, parents told the board. Dasher Green is the closest school, but since it is overcrowded and Atholton Elementary has extraspace, they would like the children transferred to Atholton next fall.

"Because Talbott Springs is not part of our community, it is hard for us to get emotionally involved in the school," parent Ron Smith told the board. In response to concerns voiced at the March 5 boundary lines work session about redistricting East Columbia to the southeast, Smith said, "Our feeling is, 'Go ahead and take us.' "

If the board accommodates the Carved Stone area parents, perhaps the 50 students recommended for redistricting from Jeffers Hill Elementary to Atholton can stay put, suggested Jeffers Hill PTA President Jackie Palmer.

"I want you to understand that this (move to Atholton) will be a major adjustment for my little girls," said Julie Kringer, whosefirst-grade daughter Brittany spends four hours a day in special-education classes and whose second-grade daughter Catrina has cerebral palsy.

"To make Brittany move to another school would set her back," Kringer said, adding that when Catrina reaches fourth grade, her classes at Atholton will be on the second floor. The youngster cannot climb stairs and Atholton has no elevator.

Parents from the Scaggsville Road area, including Cardinal Forest subdivision, countered a staff recommendation to transfer their children from Hammond to Forest Ridge Elementary next fall. The parents argued that it would be more logical to draw the Forest Ridge boundary line north of Gorman Road, shifting students living in Hunters Creek, Warfields Range and Twin Oaks subdivisions from Hammond to Forest Ridge.

Parents living north of Gorman Road argued they are part of Hammond Village and that children from Hunters Creek, for example, live close enough to walk to school if crossing guards were provided.

Chris Huntington, a Twin Oaks resident, asked the board not to consider either alternative. Is the redistricting really because Hammond is overcrowded "or could it possibly be to fill a school that was opened prematurely?" she asked.

Without the 146 students who would transfer from Hammond under Associate Superintendent Maurice F. Kalin's plan, or the 75 affected bythe parents' alternative, Forest Ridge would open with just 237 students from Laurel Woods.

Huntington asked if anyone had considered an addition to Hammond Elementary.

"I just don't think the answer is shuffling these kids from one school to the other," she said.

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