Schools confront crowding Howard presents redistricting plan

January 06, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

More than 100 parents and students attended the firs meeting to address overcrowding in Howard County schools, listening last night to projections of increases in student enrollment as well as redistricting proposals likely to be presented to the Board of Education.

The 11,000 additional students expected in county schools by 1999 -- an increase of close to 40 percent -- will require everybody to compromise, said Associate Superintendent Maurice Kalin, who led the meeting.

"The reality is, everyone's going to have to give and take," he said.

Among the school system's projections for 1999:

* Kindergarten enrollment will increase by 305 students, or 25 percent. First- through fifth-grade enrollment, meanwhile, will increase by roughly 4,200 students -- a 33 percent jump. Twenty-five of 30 elementary schools will be overcrowded. Only schools in Columbia will be under capacity.

* Middle school enrollment will increase by 2,900 students, or 42 percent. Ten of 13 schools are expected to be overcrowded, and two new schools are recommended to be built to accommodate the new students.

* High school enrollment will increase by 4,000 students, or close to 50 percent. All eight high schools will be overcrowded. Two high schools -- one in River Hill and one in Long Reach -- are scheduled for construction to relieve overcrowding.

While Mr. Kalin sketched a plan of what he expects to present to the five-member Board of Education, he said he and the board will work with the public to set boundary lines.

Mr. Kalin also said he will take into account a number of factors -- including transportation costs, and students' educational welfare and socioeconomic status -- when he makes recommendations for redistricting. His proposal goes to the board Jan. 25 at its bimonthly meeting.

On the elementary school level, Mr. Kalin suggested boundary lines for the new Rockburn Elementary School on Montgomery Road in Elkridge. Students living in the area bounded by Interstate 95 and Meadowridge Road, Bonnie Branch and Route 103 and the new Route 100 will be sent to Rockburn to ease overcrowding at Elkridge, Waterloo and Worthington elementary schools.

Mr. Kalin also proposes to increase capacity at the Bollman Bridge school next year and add two new schools in the northeastern region in 1996 and 1999.

Some students at the Clemens Crossing school may be redistricted to Pointers Run in 1994, and some students at St. John's Lane may be redistricted to Worthington or a school in Columbia in 1994.

On the middle school level, students living in the area bounded by Route 32 and Folly Quarter, Forsythe and Underwood roads will probably be redistricted to the new Mount View Middle School in Marriottsville. These students live in Waverly and West Friendship, and must be moved to relieve overcrowding at Patapsco Middle School, Mr. Kalin said.

Hammond Middle School, meanwhile, may expect eight to 10 portable classrooms to accommodate students while a new middle school -- scheduled to open in 1997 -- is being built.

On the high school level, Wilde Lake will close in 1994 for two years for renovations. While students from there attend the newest high school on Trotter Road during the renovation period, others living in the Dorsey Hall, Hobbits Glen, Longfellow and Beaverbrook neighborhoods may also join them. Some in the Centennial district now may be redistricted at the western school on Trotter Road permanently. Some in the Mount Hebron area may be moved into the Centennial area and others into the Wilde Lake area.

Atholton and Glenelg, meanwhile, will likely be redistricted in 1996.

Mr. Kalin, who uses a system of counting students and compiling their grade levels in geographical areas, says his goal is not to move elementary and middle school students more than once in three years.

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