Parents offer proposals on school boundaries

March 09, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

Wilde Lake High School parents last night urged the Howard County school board to redraw boundaries so that children from the Longfellow, Beaverbrook, Hobbit's Glen and Dorsey Hall neighborhoods would attend the school.

They also asked that Wilde Lake get additional teachers so more students can take advanced classes, and that school officials allow juniors and seniors who want to transfer to the school to participate in extra-curricular activities without the required one-year waiting period.

"I urge the board to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and moral support for a battered and beleaguered community by acting decisively," parent Frank DeSantis said.

At last night's meeting at Hammond High School, parents offered their own redistricting proposals, especially ones that would eliminate moving large numbers of students.

Five Dorsey Hall parents asked the board to delay construction of the new Wilde Lake High School until an addition at Centennial and Mount Hebron high schools is built. The existing Wilde Lake is set to be demolished at the end of this school year and a new Wilde Lake scheduled to open in 1996.

Alistair Leslie, a parent, said it was the most fiscally responsible proposal.

"Increasingly. . . I have come to realize that decisions made both over the last year and in earlier years have been more politically driven rather than rationally driven," he said.

Reading strongly-worded statements, other Dorsey Hall parents criticized the redistricting process and said their neighborhood had been unfairly attacked as being racist because, it was said, they didn't want their children to attend Wilde Lake High which has a large number of minority students.

"Facts and figures aside, [Dorsey Hall] is a good community," parent Jane Jeffries said. "It's a good place to live."

Some parents at the meeting were split on the proposal to move 112 Saint John's Lane Elementary School students to Waverly Elementary School. Parents of children from the Wilton Acres neighborhood, who are slated to move to Waverly, asked the board to allow the children to stay at Saint John's Lane and said redistricting wasn't necessary.

"The simplest solution is to leave all the children where they are and provide temporary classrooms for them until the new school is built," said parent William V. McKee Jr. A new school is planned for Ellicott City in 1997 to ease overcrowding at St. John's Lane and other northern area schools.

Anne Lukiewski, a parent, pointed out that half the 112 students would have to move twice under the proposal -- once next school year and again in 1997 when the new school opens.

Waverly parents were also opposed. Waverly PTA President Patti Mackey said, "We're asking them to move from one overcrowded school to another overcrowded school."

But other Saint John's Lane parents approved of redistricting.

"If you chose to adopt a proposal that does not give relief to [our school] in 1994, then consideration must be given to what it will take for our school to manage for three more years without jeopardizing our children's elementary experience," said Valerie Linaburg, PTA president at Saint John's Lane.

Carole Grove said she would accept redistricting to ease overcrowding at Saint John's Lane.

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