Plans for 2 schools concern parents Proposals for Fox, Chesapeake middles address crowding

March 27, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

No matter how the county school board proposes to marry Chesapeake Bay and George Fox middle schools, the union is off to a rocky start.

The proposed partial redistricting to alleviate crowding at George Fox has upset parents. Parents of George Fox students are reluctant to have their children bused down Mountain Road, and Chesapeake Bay parents aren't waiting with open arms.

Many Chesapeake parents say their school is more crowded than it appears to be on paper and that the proposals would create a poor mix of students because George Fox students come from families with lower incomes and from a different community makeup.

"I have had a lot of parents mention to me that you could have a situation where kids in one school don't necessarily have as much as the kids in the other school," said Eileen Eaton, PTSO president at Chesapeake Bay Middle.

The median household income in the George Fox attendance area is $39,692; in Chesapeake, it is $48,839, about $3,500 more lTC than the countywide median, according to 1990 census figures.

George Fox parents say they prefer their crowded neighborhood school and its devoted staff to having their children spend more time on a bus and having to drive farther down the Pasadena peninsula for school events.

The intense feelings on both sides mean school board members are in for a volatile redistricting hearing tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Chesapeake Bay Middle School.

Redistricting was proposed by board member Thomas Twombly, who represents Pasadena.

George Fox is more than 100 students over its capacity of 978. Chesapeake Bay is a double school with a capacity of 2,330, and only one side is used for middle school students. Part of the other half is used by the small Phoenix program, a special education program for middle schoolers.

All four proposals call for the George Fox students to return to Northeast for high school. The proposals would:

Send Riviera Beach Elementary students to Chesapeake instead of Fox and create two middle schools at Chesapeake.

Send Riviera Beach Elementary students to Chesapeake, but leave Chesapeake as one middle school.

Send Sunset Elementary students to one of two middle schools at Chesapeake instead of Fox.

Put all sixth-graders from Fox and Chesapeake into an all-sixth-grade school in one part of Chesapeake. Operate Fox and the other side of Chesapeake, which was designed to house two schools, as middle schools for grades seven and eight.

Under most of the proposals, the Phoenix program would be moved to an undetermined site.

Pub Date: 3/27/96

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