School board may alter remap plans Pasadena, Annapolis areas may be targeted in meeting today

Earlier efforts criticized

Bury says moving Fox Middle students would be disruptive

April 02, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County school board is likely to rework redistricting proposals today for Pasadena and Annapolis -- the two most contentious areas -- as it tries to redraw school attendance boundaries in four sections of the county.

Board member Janet Bury said she will suggest allowing children who would be moved from George Fox Middle School to Chesapeake Bay Middle School under the current proposal to complete middle school at George Fox.

Moving the students from one middle school to another can be too disruptive, Bury said.

Board member Paul G. Rudolph said he has one change in mind for Annapolis, where many communities were furious with the board's plan to send some black children to schools closer to their homes, a move that could lead to resegregating schools.

Rudolph's plan would allow children from the mostly black Newtowne 20 community to remain at Georgetown East Elementary and send children from Woodside Gardens, which also is heavily black, to Eastport Elementary. Under the current proposal, Woodside Gardens children, who attend Annapolis Elementary, would go to Georgetown East Elementary, and Newtowne 20 children would go to Eastport Elementary.

The proposal would reduce the amount of disruption, he said.

Pasadena residents sharply criticized the board's plans for George Fox at a meeting in February, saying some children would end up going to three schools in three years. Others pointed out that the crowding at George Fox was increasing, a long-term problem that would not be resolved by removing a small number of students.

The proposal calls for reducing crowding at George Fox by shifting to Chesapeake Bay Middle School 270 students who ordinarily would attend George Fox.

The board would take all of Riviera Beach Elementary's students and some of Sunset Elementary's pupils out of the Northeast High School feeder system for middle school only, beginning in August.

The students, in grades six, seven and eight, would attend Chesapeake Bay Middle School in the Chesapeake High School feeder system but then return to Northeast for high school.

Bury's plan would allow the students from Riviera Beach and Sunset who are at George Fox to stay there. "We need to have those kids grandfathered, at least the ones who want it. I know it will cost more," Bury said.

Carolyn Roeding, a school activist who served on a community )) panel that explored redistricting options, called Bury's proposal "more palatable" but said it was "still only a Band-aid."

Ideally, Bury said, she wants a new, larger George Fox that would accommodate a growing population.

"I don't think the Northeast and Chesapeake feeder systems are being taken care of in these things," she said. "We know that the crowding is going to continue at George Fox."

The board will have to hold hearings on any changes it makes in redistricting proposals, which means it must move quickly.

The board is required to adopt by the end of April redistricting plans that would take effect at the beginning of the next school year.

Other redistricting proposals would shift some school boundaries in the Meade feeder system and split the elementary schools between MacArthur Middle and the new Meade Area Middle.

Staying at MacArthur would be Harman, Manor View, Maryland City, Pershing Hill and West Meade elementaries. Moving to the new school would be Brock Bridge, Jessup, Meade Heights, Severn and Van Bokkelen elementaries.

In the Southern feeder system, some students would move from the crowded Tracey's Elementary School to the newly renovated Deale Elementary, which is the closest school.

In other business at the 10: 30 a.m. meeting today, the board is to pick a name for the alternative high school that opened at the end of January. Last month, the board decided to consider names from anyone in the county; now it can pick from 21 names or come up with another.

At least a few board members are inclined to go with Crownsville High School, or something similar, after rejecting that name earlier as casting a stigma on students because the school is on the grounds of the state mental hospital.

The controversy over the school name began when the board suggested Arundel Academy, and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution objected to anything that sounded like Anne Arundel Academy, a defunct semiprivate school in Millersville that some of their ancestors attended.

Last month, board members bickered for more than hour over the Crownsville name, which students preferred.

"This is getting on my nerves more than anything else," said Steven White Jr., the student school board member."

"Let the atmosphere and the positiveness of the school determine the reputation it gets. Let's let the school speak for itself, not the name," he said.

Bury agreed, saying, "It's a much bigger issue than I thought it was going to be. The kids picked Crownsville High School; they did not see anything wrong with it. You know, I think of Crownsville and I think of the Renaissance Festival and some very expensive homes."

Pub Date: 4/02/97

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