School panel to postpone Annapolis redistricting Board trims options in Pasadena to two

April 04, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County school board yesterday voted to put off for a year a plan to change attendance boundaries for Annapolis area schools and to hold another hearing before deciding whether to redraw boundaries for a crowded Pasadena middle school.

The Annapolis proposal, which would have juggled attendance boundaries for several elementary and middle schools, was shelved after Carlessa Finney, board vice president, said more time is needed to study it.

The board voted 7-1 to consider two of four options to alleviate crowding at George Fox Middle School in Pasadena at a hearing to get public input April 15. The redistricting plans the board decided to continue studying are:

To send sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Sunset Elementary School, who otherwise would attend George Fox, to one of two middle schools at Chesapeake Bay Middle about five miles away on Mountain Road.

To put all sixth-graders from Fox and Chesapeake into an all-sixth-grade school in one part of Chesapeake and operate Fox and the other side of Chesapeake as middle schools for grades seven and eight.

Board member Thomas Florestano, who favored keeping all options open, cast the dissenting vote.

School officials say that George Fox, with a capacity of 978 students, will have an enrollment of 1,242 by the year 2004 if boundary lines are not redrawn.

Board members put off voting on the favored option, creating the all-sixth-grade school at Chesapeake, after learning that it would cost $375,000 for busing.

Board members were angered that school administrators released the information only yesterday -- and only after it was specifically requested by school board President Joseph H. Foster.

"With all due respect, and I mean that in every sense of the word, it's not fair to this board, nor is it fair to the communities this board represents, to fail to give us this information on how much this move is going to cost ahead of time," board member Michael McNeely angrily told a trio of school administrators.

Winship Wheatley, supervisor of transportation, apologized for the problem on the estimated costs. He said his original reading of the numbers led him to believe transportation costs would be $163,000.

"It was a misunderstanding on my part," he said.

George Hatch, schools planning officer, said the two options to deal with crowding at George Fox will be discussed at a briefing at 7 p.m. Wednesday and at the public hearing at 7 p.m. April 15 at Chesapeake Bay Middle School.

The board is to vote on the issue at its April 17 meeting, he said.

Pub Date: 4/04/96

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