Board mulls shifting Taneytown students Some may transfer to Runnymede NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

January 14, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

School officials are taking a deep breath before making what they know will be a controversial proposal to shift students to the new Runnymede Elementary School when it is completed in September.

The most unpopular aspect of the plan is likely to be that about 140 students who will be shifted to Runnymede may get shifted back to Taneytown Elementary two years later.

Those children now walk to Taneytown Elementary School and would have to ride a bus the three miles or so to Runnymede.

Taneytown has no room for them now but it will when the school is renovated and expanded, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

"[Parents usually say] 'If you move my child now, you're going to guarantee me you're not going to move my child later,' " Mr. Smith said.

While he usually can assure parents in other redistricting moves, this time he can't, he said.

Taneytown Elementary is split, with 418 students in kindergarten through second grade at the regular building, and 408 students in third through fifth grades at an annex to Northwest Middle School across the parking lot.

All Taneytown Elementary students will be moved to the annex while the school is expanded and renovated from July 1994 to September 1995.

"This redistricting plan will not be without controversy," Mr. Smith told the school board yesterday.

"Is this going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy?" Superintendent R. Edward Shilling asked him.

Mr. Smith said he believes the proposals are "fair and reasonable."

"I just think they'll be difficult for some to understand," he said.

Runnymede, under construction off Route 140 and Mayberry Road, will have a capacity of 600 regular and 40 special education students when it is completed.

It will allow the school system to close Uniontown Elementary School and relieve crowding at Taneytown Elementary.

Mr. Smith said the staff looked for ways to avoid shifting students who live in the Taneytown city limits. But that would have meant excessively long bus rides for students who live northwest of the city to travel to Runnymede.

The three proposals presented to the school board yesterday will be explained to the public at two meetings next week, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Francis Scott Key High School and on Thursday, Jan. 21, at Northwest Middle School.

The board will make a decision on the redistricting at a meeting in March.

By next month, the staff will choose from three proposals:

* Option A -- moving the entire Uniontown attendance area and about one-third of the Taneytown area, including portions within the city limits. Route 194, Route 140 and Trevanion Road would be the boundaries.

* Option B -- builds on Option A to include the areas surrounding Otterdale Mill Road.

* Option C -- builds on Option B to include an additional part of the city, from Harney Road east to Route 194.

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