No insights offered on school boundary changes Board of education must adjust lines by this September

January 17, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Huddling around colored maps of high school districts, the Howard County school board continued grappling last night with proposed changes to boundaries for next fall.

Board members offered little insight into how they might change the recommendations made by Associate Superintendent Maurice Kalin, other than to request more information about ways to shift pupils to spread out the county's exploding enrollment.

The board must adjust high school boundary lines for next fall to accommodate the opening of two new high schools, Long Reach and River Hill. More than 1,400 pupils would have to change schools under the proposal being considered by the board.

More than 750 elementary school pupils also are expected to change schools to accommodate the opening of Ilchester Elementary School.

But board members have heard little debate -- and received few complaints -- about proposed new boundary lines for that area of the county.

At last week's public hearing, more than three dozen parents and students testified about the proposed high school changes, and many urged that the lines be shifted to allow all of the pupils in their neighborhood to attend the same school.

In response to the public hearing, Dr. Kalin last night did suggest one change to his recommendations: Move the proposed boundary line between Atholton and River Hill high schools east from Pindell School Road to Route 29.

Fulton area residents had protested plans to split their neighborhood between the two schools.

At the board's earlier work session, members said they wanted to put more pupils in the three new high school buildings -- Long Reach, River Hill and Wilde Lake -- and keep fewer in the older ones.

But changes were not made to address many of the other concerns raised by parents at last week's hearing.

For example, Dr. Kalin's Jan. 3 proposal calls for portions of the Elkridge community to continue to be split between Howard and Long Reach high schools.

Plans to divide Glenelg and River Hill high schools along Triadelphia Road also weren't altered.

However, not everything will remain unchanged by the time the board makes its final decision.

JTC Members indicated last night that they are considering making additional boundary changes to some Columbia and Ellicott City neighborhoods, asking Dr. Kalin to provide more information on the number of pupils living there.

The areas that board members said last night they might move next fall include Ellicott City's Columbia Hills neighborhood and the Sebring and Hilltop neighborhoods of Columbia.

Those neighborhoods could be moved to Wilde Lake High School, members said.

The board is scheduled to meet for another work session on boundary lines Monday at 7 p.m.

The board agreed to hold a brief public hearing at the beginning of the session to permit testimony from people who were snowbound during last week's hearing.

A final decision on boundaries for next fall is expected to be made by the board at its Jan. 25 meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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