2 plans unveiled for redistricting

January 06, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

The Howard County school board will have two alternatives to consider as it takes up high school redistricting this year.

Associate Superintendent Maurice Kalin unveiled the alternatives last night to some 150 parents who went to Hammond High School to learn more about this year's redistricting proposals.

Both alternatives would change the school board's tentative decision last year to transfer Dorsey Hall neighborhood students to River Hill High School, still under construction and expected to open in 1996.

Under the alternatives, Dorsey Hall students would transfer to Wilde Lake High School and join more than 250 students from the Longfellow, Beaverbrook and Hobbit's Glen neighborhoods in Columbia. That group was also redistricted out of overcrowded Centennial to Wilde Lake, a high school with the county's lowest enrollment, with under 1,000 students.

The board decided late last year to increase capacity at Wilde Lake by roughly 400 students to 1,400, at a time when the school is undergoing more than $20 million in renovations, to be completed in 1996.

Looking for ways to increase the capacity, Dr. Kalin drew up the alternatives that were discussed last night.

The alternatives would also allow school officials to redistrict some students at Mount Hebron and Glenelg to Centennial in an unspecified school year to relieve crowding at those two schools.

The first alternative transfers Dorsey Hall students to Wilde Lake to make way for a technology magnet program at River Hill High School, on Route 108 near Trotter Road in Clarksville.

The second alternative also transfers Dorsey Hall students to Wilde Lake with the three Columbia neighborhoods, but also redistricts the Clary's Forest neighborhood from Wilde Lake to River Hill. This second alternative would free space at Wilde Lake for a technology magnet program.

Parents were divided over the alternatives.

"When the addition comes to Centennial, at the very least, we should come back," said Dorsey Hall parent Kathleen Maizel.

"There's no plan that is taking advantage of the 1,400 seats [at Wilde Lake]," said Beaverbrook parent Marianne Hollerbach, adding that Mr. Kalin "is not using taxpayers' money wisely."

One parent asked about the future of a possible performing arts magnet at Wilde Lake, and another questioned why officials would consider moving large numbers of students to Wilde Lake when the idea is to move as few as possible.

Mr. Kalin answered that Superintendent Michael E. Hickey was still looking at a possible performing arts magnet, and that Wilde Lake's increased capacity allowed school officials to look at alternatives.

Last night's meeting came three months after the board approved a $41 million capital budget for next fiscal year, deferring for one year $219,000 in planning costs to build an addition to Centennial.

The addition would have created some 300 seats, presumably allowing school officials to keep the Dorsey Hall students from being sent to River Hill in 1996. School officials had wanted to reserve space at River Hill for the technology magnet program.

On the middle school level, no boundary changes were discussed.

However, at the elementary school level, changes in boundary lines were proposed for Saint John's Lane Elementary School. One would transfer 85 students west of Town and Country Boulevard to Waverly, while another would take students from the Mount Ida area and send them to Rockburn Elementary.

Mr. Kalin also came up with possible boundary lines for Manor Woods Elementary School, scheduled to open during the school year.

About 300 Waverly Elementary School students who live south of Interstate 70, and 60 West Friendship Elementary School students who live in the area of Driver Road, Route 144, Folly's Quarter Road and Tridelphia Road, would constitute Manor Woods' enrollment.

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