More parents join battle over school redistricting

March 27, 1994|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Sun Staff Writer

The redistricting battle over Emmorton Elementary School, a 600-student building under construction near Harford Glen Environmental Center, has intensified as more parents join the fight to keep their children in the schools where they are enrolled.

Bel Air neighborhoods have been pitted against each other since December, when a 28-member committee, created by the school system, released its redistricting proposal.

Some children who live south of town and attend Ring Factory Elementary or Homestead/Wakefield Elementary schools would be transferred to Emmorton when it opens.

But some parents, including Edward D. Webster of Broadview, didn't like the committee's proposal because it would transfer his children to Emmorton. Working with neighbors, he devised a counterproposal that would leave his children at Ring Factory.

"Our kids should be parked at Ring Factory and allowed to stay there because our neighborhood isn't going to get any bigger. The kids from the new developments, like Hunter's Run, should go to the new schools," he said.

The school board will decide which neighborhoods will be redistricted to Emmorton at its April 18 meeting. The final redistricting meeting to solicit community input will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Ring Factory Elementary.

"Our neighborhood will be there with bells on," Mr. Webster vowed.

Residents of neighborhoods such as Hunter's Run and Bright Oaks also plan to attend the meeting, but their purpose is to lobby the school board to accept the committee's proposal. That would leave their children at Ring Factory while Mr. Webster's proposal would move them to Emmorton.

Carl Carlson, president of the Hunter's Run Homeowners Association, said: "We should stay at Ring Factory because we are closer to Ring Factory than the Broadview families."

His neighborhood is one of the newest in Bel Air, and homes still are under construction in the development.

Some Bright Oaks parents circulated a flier urging neighbors to fight the redistricting because they thought that children who attend Emmorton Elementary would become part of the Edgewood school district and would later attend Edgewood Middle and High schools.

But Donald R. Morrison, school spokesman, said Emmorton children would attend Bel Air Middle and High schools.

Diane Kinnear, a member of the Bright Oaks board of directors, said she did not want her children to attend Edgewood schools because students generally had lower test scores than children at Bel Air-area schools.

"I bought my home in Bel Air at Bel Air prices so my children could attend Bel Air schools," Mrs. Kinnear said.

She said she wanted her children to attend Bel Air schools because the school population is stable.

"Children at those Edgewood schools are always moving in and out because there are so many military families living there, stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground," she said.

Families who live in the Lake Vista area southwest of Bel Air do want their children moved to another school -- but not to Emmorton, said Dr. J. Douglas Abbott, a spokesman for several communities.

The committee's proposal would move the children to Emmorton.

"We want to be redistricted to Youth's Benefit Elementary in Fallston because our lives revolve around activities in the Fallston area," Dr. Abbott said.

If that isn't possible, he wants his children to stay at Homestead/Wakefield until a planned Fallston-area elementary school opens in 1997.

"Otherwise the school system will just be moving us again in two years," he said.

Mr. Webster said he shares that concern.

"Our children have already been transferred. They started at William S. James Elementary in Bel Air and were transferred to Ring Factory when it opened in 1990," he said.

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