Classroom-space petition drive launched Crofton coalition focuses on two schools

July 21, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A coalition of Crofton-area groups is launching a petition drive to gain classroom space at two schools and ensure that additions to those schools are built.

"We are hoping for thousands of signatures," said Torrey Jacobsen, treasurer of the Greater Crofton Council, the umbrella community organization. "We are helping the schools get their classroom space."

Neighborhood associations, PTAs, Crofton Town Hall and other sites will have petitions for Crofton Elementary and Crofton Middle schools starting this week, he said. The petitions will be given to county school officials, the County Council and County Executive John G. Gary at the end of August -- just as all three begin early work on the fiscal 1997-1998 capital budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Petition organizers say they are furious over the situation regarding portable classrooms -- free-standing buildings -- at both schools and want relief from crowding.

Crofton Middle has a capacity of 920 students. This fall, enrollment is expected to hover around 878. But the number of students is expected to jump to 971 in the fall of 1997, according to the most recent school system projections.

Crofton Elementary has a capacity of 464 students. The student population this fall is expected to reach 553. In the fall 1997, it is expected to be 564, according to the school's recent projections.

Crofton Middle, which had four portable classrooms during the last school year, is losing two over the summer. One of them is going to Crofton Elementary, said Rodell E. Phaire Sr., director of Anne Arundel County's school facilities planning and construction. The other is going to Arundel High School.

"That is unacceptable," said Jacobsen.

Phaire said the arrangements for moving portables were made only after a study this spring that took into consideration needs throughout the county.

"The Department of Instruction [part of the county school system] did a detailed assessment of every portable in the system and identified those two as units that could be relocated elsewhere without harming the instructional program at that school," Phaire said.

Petition organizers say they also want a fixed date and commitment from school and elected county officials to add wings to both schools. They say they have been told for a few years that they would get relief from crowding, but have yet to get it.

L "Our schools need the classrooms, the space," Jacobsen said.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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