Plan to send students to Meade High instead of Old Mill angers Severn parents

November 12, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Severn Elementary School parents say they have a message for Superintendent C. Berry Carter II and the rest of the county school board: Leave their kids alone.

About 300 raucous parents filled the school's auditorium Tuesday night to complain bitterly about a redistricting plan that would put some of their children in the feeder system for Meade Senior High School, instead of Old Mill High.

"I'm one of the people who bought my house in the Old Mill area so my kids could go to those schools," bellowed one man in the back of the room.

"My son's got a 'B' average right now. I won't sacrifice that," warned another.

Michael Raible, director of planning and construction for the school system, insisted that the plans were merely proposals.

He was there simply to get comments from the parents and relay them to Mr. Carter, who is to recommend a redistricting plan to the school board in December.

The comments Mr. Raible received were loud and clear.

Severn area parents don't want their their children in the Meade feeder system.

Schools in that system, particularly Meade High School, have lower functional test scores, lower SAT scores, and higher incidents of referrals, suspensions and expulsions than those in the Old Mill system, they argued.

But Old Mill's SAT combined scores aren't that much higher than Meade's (915 to 881), Mr. Raible countered.

And while Meade had about 100 more suspensions and 10 more expulsions, Old Mill had 116 more discipline referrals in one year, he added.

Never mind that, the parents shot back. The number of discipline problems at Meade is disproportionate to the total student body.

Meade had about 1,700 students last year.

Old Mill had about 2,200.

Severn Elementary Principal Marion Keenan urged the crowd not to pit one school against the other.

"I'm in the Broadneck feeder where we've had two murderers attending our school," Mrs. Keenan said.

"You can have good students and bad students anywhere. I think this is really lowering your criteria. This is not the issue," she said.

The issue of redistricting the Meade feeder system was raised by former school board member Paul Greksa, who pointed out that the boundaries made no sense.

A significant portion of the Severn area reaches far down into the Meade system, Mr. Raible said.

The first option, which would affect about 200 students, is to move part of the Severn area -- the communities of Severn Hills, Lake Village, Severn Village, Quail Run and Severn Woods -- from the Old Mill to the Meade feeder system.

In this move, Severn Elementary would take some students from Ridgeway Elementary. Severn and Ridgeway elementaries would remain in the Old Mill feeder system, Mr. Raible said.

The second option is to leave Severn boundaries as they are, but move all students from the Old Mill feeder system to the Meade feeder system.

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