School board may weigh countywide redistricting

December 02, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County school board may consider comprehensive redistricting of all public schools next year, as well as look into year-round schooling.

As the board began to look at proposed changes in school boundaries affecting five school feeder systems yesterday, Acting Superintendent Carol S. Parham suggested that the board take a broader and longer view of the school system's facilities.

"We must have a plan to deal with our increasing enrollment," Dr. Parham said.

The board will vote next month on whether to proceed with countywide redistricting, restrict the study to the Arundel, Broadneck, Chesapeake, Meade and Old Mill feeder systems, or do both.

Dr. Parham said that a larger look at building use would take about a year and that a countywide redistricting proposal would not come before the school board until December 1994. Because it would be considered a five-year projection, it probably would be implemented in phases to begin in September 1995.

"This is a massive undertaking," she said.

By contrast, plans for the five feeder systems would go to public hearings and return for a final vote by the end of April. The plan would start with the coming school year.

The board yesterday authorized the school system to seek up to $100,000 in state funds for a year-round education incentive grant. Dr. Parham said the proposal would seek money to explore the idea and whether it has the potential to work in Anne Arundel County. The proposal must be in by Jan. 21 and grants will be awarded Feb. 14.

If the school system were to receive the grant, which it must match by 20 percent of the amount, the work could be going on as part of a larger study into how the county uses its school buildings.

Redistricting of the five feeder systems, as proposed by Dr. Parham, addresses the worst crowding problems in the school system. Parts hinge on construction of new schools or additions to existing ones in the next few years

Board President Thomas Twombly said he favored the countywide approach: "We've got to look at everything."

Dr. Parham noted that redistricting, whether of a small area or the whole county, is an emotional situation.

About a dozen parents of some of the feeder systems in the current proposal addressed the school board, most saying that they opposed what has been pitched for their communities.

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