Schools chief abandons plan to reroute Severn students from Old Mill to Meade

December 03, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Severn-area parents have gotten a reprieve.

Anne Arundel School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II and his staff yesterday recommended that the school board consider moving about 600 sixth-grade students from Meade-area elementary schools to MacArthur Middle School in the fall of 1994.

But they abandoned the idea of moving Severn students out of Old Mill Senior High and into Meade Senior, no doubt pleasing dozens of angry parents who opposed the proposal during public hearings over the past several weeks.

The recommendations -- which came during a more than eight-hour session during which the board voted 5-1 against a proposal aimed at shortening meetings -- were markedly different from proposals taken to the Severn and Meade areas over the past two months.

Michael Raible, director of planning and construction for the school system, said officials had learned recently that a site for a Provinces Elementary School in the Severn area may become available.

Mr. Raible met with various communities -- surrounding Meade, Northeast, Chesapeake and Annapolis high schools -- to discuss redistricting options aimed at lessening school overcrowding.

In the Meade area, one option was 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. Severn Elementary would take some students from Ridgeway Elementary. Severn and Ridgeway elementaries would remain in the Old Mill system.

A second option was to leave Severn Elementary's boundaries as they are, but move all its students from the Old Mill to the Meade system.

Hundreds of parents came out at community meetings to oppose the proposals, many citing what they perceived as lower functional test scores, lower SAT scores and higher incidents of referrals, suspensions and expulsions at Meade High.

Mr. Raible said he and his staff still plan to study moving students from the Old Mill system into the Meade system.

Mr. Carter and his staff also recommended drawing new boundaries for Solley Elementary in Pasadena, where a new school is scheduled to be completed in 1995.

The changes would move students living west of Stoney Creek, now attending Sunset Elementary, and south of 220th Street and west of the Turf Valley development, now attending High Point Elementary, into Solley.

All students living east of Green Haven would move from High Point into Sunset Elementary. And students living in the communities of Stoneybrook Village and Mount Pleasant would move from High Point to Sunset.

In all, 700 students would be affected.

In the Annapolis area, the superintendent and his staff recommended that about 865 students attending Annapolis, Eastport, Edgewater, Hillsmere, Parole, Tyler Heights, Georgetown East, Germantown, Rolling Knolls, and West Annapolis elementaries be moved to new schools.

The proposal would increase the minority population at some schools substantially, while decreasing the minority population in others. The new boundaries would be based almost solely on community boundaries, and less on racial and other considerations.

Carlesa Finney, a member of the school watchdog group Committee for Education Equity and Community Relations, said parents had a number of concerns about community-based schools.

"Schools with a high number of non-white students traditionally have received less funding," Mrs. Finney said.

Also yesterday, the board received a report on meeting the needs of every student.

Mr. Carter and his staff had been asked to put together such a report during an October discussion on raising the grade-point average required to participate in extracurricular activities. Forty-six percent of black high school students, compared to 26 of white high school students, did not achieve the required 2.0 GPA.

Yesterday's report suggested improving outreach to the community, expanding services to underachieving students and improving the attitudes of school staff toward cultural diversity.

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