Student transfers proposed

January 27, 1995|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

A redistricting proposal unveiled at last night's school board meeting would affect hundreds of middle school students in the eastern part of the county.

The proposal presented by school officials would affect relatively few elementary school students and would not require that any high school students be redistricted until 1996, when two new secondary schools are to open.

At the middle school level, officials proposed transferring more than 120 Mayfield Middle School students who live north and east of the proposed Route 100 to Ellicott Mills Middle School, which is scheduled to be replaced in 1999.

Also, to further boost Ellicott Mills' enrollment, students living in the Columbia Hills neighborhood could be transferred from Dunloggin Middle School to Ellicott Mills.

The increased enrollment at Ellicott Mills is necessary because about 420 students from that school, along with about 15 Mayfield Woods students, would transfer to Elkridge Landing Middle School, which is under construction.

In addition, about 75 elementary school students residing in the Columbia Gateway development would attend Jeffers Hill Elementary School to relieve crowding at Guilford Elementary School.

An undetermined number of students at Swansfield Elementary School also might be redistricted, officials said, and the 34 students attending Pointers Run Elementary School on an open enrollment basis might have to return to their neighborhood schools next fall.

The proposal is a working draft, and other recommendations may be added as redistricting progresses, said Associate Superintendent Maurice Kalin.

The school board will hold a public hearing March 7 on all redistricting proposals and will decide March 23 on new boundary lines.

Also last night:

* About a half-dozen parents and teachers testified on proposals for next year's school calendar. The three proposals deal with when to make up snow days, whether the school system should lengthen the school day to make up for those days and whether students should attend school for 180 or 183 days.

Parents were concerned that students missed too much class time because of half-days for parent-teacher conferences, while teachers complained about not having enough time to plan or meet with parents. The board will approve next year's calendar at its Feb. 7 meeting.

* Two community leaders told the board it should do as much as possible to keep Superintendent Michael E. Hickey in Howard County. He is one of two finalists for the top post in the 77,000-student Raleigh, N.C., school system.

Businessman Dick Pettingill told the school board that the reputation of the county school system has attracted many businesses to the county. "I would strongly encourage you to do all you can do to keep Mike in Howard County," he said.

The board offered to extend Dr. Hickey's contract for another four years last week, but members said they would not make a reappointment decision until they finished their annual evaluation the superintendent in several weeks.

Dr. Hickey has said that he and his wife will decide over the weekend whether to remain in Howard.

"The ball's in his court now," Chairwoman Susan Cook said.

* The board approved a new smoking policy that reflects last year's changes in state law.

State law prohibits students under age 18 from possessing tobacco or cigarette rolling papers on school grounds. The school system's new rule, which takes effect Feb. 1, applies the prohibition to all students, even if they are over 18.

* The board voted to name the eastern high school under construction on Dobbin Road Long Reach High School. The Long Reach Village Board lobbied for that name, saying it would reinforce the relationship between the school and the community. Another suggestion was Snowden River High School.

* The board also approved 31 visions, beliefs, mission and goals for "Beyond the Year 2000," a blueprint to take the school system into the next century. Thousands of teachers, principals and residents worked on the list.

School officials will now begin looking at policies and practices to determine whether they reflect the 31 statements.

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