Board approves shift of 179 pupils Mount Airy to send them to Winfield

January 06, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

The Carroll County school board has unanimously approved boundary change that would shift 179 students from Mount Airy to Winfield elementary schools.

In spite of pleas from several parents at last night's meeting, the board declined to allow the 38 fourth-graders affected by the change to complete fifth grade at Mount Airy, even if parents agreed to drive them to school.

"The next year, they'll be coming back to Mount Airy Middle School and they'll be with all their friends," said Ann M. Ballard of Mount Airy, who once served on the Parent-Teacher Association with many of the parents present.

"I think it will be more difficult for the parents than the children," she said.

Winfield Principal Raymond Mathias said he is forming a committee of parents from both schools to devise ways to ease the transition.

Lisa Butler of Cloverdale Court, the mother of a fourth-grader, said it would be easy to grandfather in the small number of fourth-graders affected because buses already run from their neighborhoods to nearby Mount Airy Middle.

Grandfathering would set a bad precedent, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

"It may be easy to accept it in this situation, but . . . cumbersome to accept it in another situation," Mr. Smith said.

"If a parent felt absolutely so strongly that their child wants to come to Mount Airy, they could find a baby-sitter in the Mount Airy attendance area," he said.

Location of child care is one of the few reasons the school system will allow a child to go to a school other than the one assigned.

The boundary change stems from crowding at Mount Airy and a renovation at Winfield that is expected to be complete in September.

The area affected is along Route 27, including Buffalo Road north of Old West Falls Road.

Kathleen Sanner, a school system planner, said the staff recommended the large shift because growth in the Mount Airy area is much faster than in the Winfield area.

Mount Airy Elementary has about 840 students in a building designed for 700. Winfield will have a capacity of 680 to 740 students by the time the renovation is done. With the shift, enrollment at Winfield will be 575.

Also, about eight teaching positions will be shifted from Mount Airy to Winfield.

The 179 children will not be the only ones saying good-bye to Mount Airy Elementary. Principal Althea Miller announced she was retiring after 29 years in the school system.

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