Desegregation guidelines may affect decisions about who will attend Adams Park Elementary, but they won't affect the Anne Arundel County Board of Education's plans to reopen the school by 1997, the school board's lawyer said yesterday.
"Desegregation may play a part in demographics, but we're months away from that issue. It's not something the countywide redistricting committee will have to worry about," said P. Tyson Bennett, an Annapolis lawyer on retainer for the school system. "The board has a right to decide whether or not it will open a school."
Varying the attendance boundaries for the school also could prevent the desegregation guidelines from becoming an issue, he said.
"They could designate it as a neighborhood school or decide to let some students in the neighborhood continue to attend the schools they do now, or they could create a magnet school and open up enrollment on an admissions basis," Mr. Bennett said. "And the attendance boundary doesn't have to be a perfect circle."
A Board of Education employee who is the liaison between the school board and the redistricting committee raised the desegregation issue to head off any future legal problems.
Logistical and financial concerns continue to be obstacles, however, as officials try to meet the September 1997 reopening date promised to members of the Adams Park Alumni Association.
The Adams Park building is still occupied by the Learning Center, the county school for children with behavior problems, and no new site has been found. In addition, school officials said, the state has said it won't cover the costs of renovating the school to get it ready again for elementary students, which means the county will have to pay.
The school has been closed to elementary students for many years. The Adams Park Alumni Association has argued that a neighborhood school is needed, in part to make it easier for parents to participate in their children's education. Neighborhood children attend Rolling Knolls or West Annapolis elementaries.