School board readies for extensive redistricting 150 parents hear of proposed changes

January 29, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

Close to 150 Howard County parents filled seats and doorways to hear proposed school boundary changes at last night's Board of Education meeting.

Many of the recommendations dealt with moving students to fill up two new schools scheduled to open next year, Rockburn Elementary in Elkridge and Mount View Middle School in Marriottsville.

Other recommendations involved redistricting Centennial High School students to either Wilde Lake High School or the new western high school, scheduled to open in 1996.

School officials say they expect to move large numbers of students in 1996. "We have a problem," said Dana Hanna, school board chairman. "It's crowded schools."

The school system has planned to build and open eight new elementary, four new middle and three new high schools to accommodate the 11,000 additional students expected in the next decade, according to Associate Superintendent Maurice Kalin. Four schools are scheduled to open in 1996.

Among the highlights of the proposal:

* At the elementary school level, assign 26 relocatable classrooms to 12 schools to accommodate overcrowding.

Redistrict about 170 students, currently in kindergarten to fifth grade, from Waterloo to the new Rockburn school.

Students who would be affected live north of the proposed Route 100 between Meadowridge Road and the western Waterloo school boundary line.

Also included in the proposal was a recommendation to move to Rockburn more than 30 Elkridge students who live west of Interstate 95 between Patapsco River and Meadowridge Road as well as about 55 Worthington students in an area abutting Bonnie Branch Road between the Patapsco River and Montgomery Road.

* At the middle school level, send to Mount View about 270 Glenwood students who live east of Underwood Road, Pfefferkorn Road and Route 32 between Patapsco River and Folly Quarter Road. Also send to Mount View about 210 Patapsco students who live west of the Patapsco River and the (( Old Mill Road-Route 99 intersection.

* At the high school level, the proposal was to make no boundary line changes next school year but use relocatables to accommodate overcrowding at Centennial and Mount Hebron, and phase in students who live in Hobbit's Glen, Longfellow and Beaverbrook neighborhoods to Wilde Lake as they become ninth-graders in school year 1994.

Mr. Kalin emphasized that although these were his recommendations, they have not been etched in stone. "The process is fluid, and there will be changes as we go through the process," he said.

The board will hold a public hearing March 9 -- and possibly on March 10 -- at Howard High School in Ellicott City to allow parents to give their input. The board votes on redistricting lines March 23.

Copies of the proposal were handed out last night but are available at all the schools as well as the public libraries today.

In other matters:

* By a 4-1 vote, the board approved a 45-acre piece of land in Long Reach as the site of a new eastern school, scheduled to open in 1996. School board Chairman Hanna, who opposed the vote, said he was concerned the location was too close to two other high schools, Howard and Oakland Mills.

"I have a feeling the site is going to come back to haunt us onday, come redistricting," he said, adding people 10 years later are going to wonder why the lines were drawn as they were.

But Associate Superintendent Sydney Cousin said he and his staff had been looking for a site for two years, and although not perfect, the Long Reach site is better than the alternatives.

"Trying to find 50 acres that's useful, at a right price . . . that will serve the needs of students [in the future] is extremely difficult," he said.

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