Schools consider tighter residency rules Spring Garden group wants admissions from outside district halted

February 28, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Parents from Spring Garden Elementary School are urging the school board to stop allowing in any more students from outside the crowded school's attendance area.

Most of the 1,101 out-of-district elementary students in Carroll attend the schools they do because they are closer to their day-care sites. A limit on such students could affect all elementaries if a change in policy grows out of the school board's discussion of the issue at its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at North Carroll Middle School.

Enrollment at 4-year-old Spring Garden Elementary grew so quickly that the school already has sprouted 10 portable classrooms. The portables are the only reason there is room for the 56 students from outside the district who attend the school.

"Originally, we started this thing to keep our kids from being shipped over to Sandymount," said Ann Hintenach, who lives off Route 91 and has two children at Spring Garden.

"We fought that battle, and our children were not redistricted, but we feel we have to continue on to solve Spring Garden's problem, and the problem is we are grossly overcrowded," Ms. Hintenach said.

One condition for attending an out-of-district school is that it must have room.

But the definition of "room" can include room in a portable classroom.

"We have said no when there were not relocatables and the building was at capacity," said Superintendent Brian Lockard. But in cases where the schools have room because of portables, the schools have allowed out-of-district students.

He said the issue will be whether to count portables in the decision to allow out-of-district students. If they are not counted, it could eliminate the practice at several crowded elementary schools, 14 of which have portables.

"I think it's something we want to take very slowly and look at very carefully," Dr. Lockard said. "I don't think you want to just all of a sudden say they're all going back" to other schools.

Ms. Hintenach and other parents from Spring Garden would like a policy that bars out-of-district students if a school is crowded enough to require portables.

The parents also want the board to act quickly to redraw the boundaries for elementary schools so that the fourth section of North Carroll Farms, when its 220 homes are built, would lie in another school's district. Students there are now scheduled to attend Spring Garden.

Spring Garden has 56 students who attend with special permission, and 35 children who live near Spring Garden attend other schools under the same policy.

At a few schools, there are about as many students attending from out of district as students in the district attending other schools.

But others have far more students coming in than leaving, notably Sandymount Elementary, which has 93 coming in and 22 going to other schools.

Winfield has 66 coming in and 42 going elsewhere. Robert Moton, Charles Carroll, Elmer Wolfe, Taneytown, William Winchester and Westminster have more students leaving for other schools than attending from out of district.

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