Linton opening to bring change Eldersburg likely to get new students in next school year

January 16, 1998|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

When Linton Springs Elementary School opens in late August, it will be the new school building in South Carroll, but not the only new school.

Eldersburg Elementary will become a new school in another way, with almost an entirely new student population. About 500 students at the school are expected to be shifted a few miles away to fill the new Linton Springs, no matter which of four options the school board chooses when it makes boundary lines final in mid-March.

"Eldersburg is pretty much going to Linton Springs," said Molly McEvoy, PTA president at Eldersburg Elementary. Her youngest daughter will be a fourth-grader at Linton Springs next year, under all four options.

Eldersburg Elementary's new population would be made up of students from other southeastern schools such as Freedom, Piney Ridge or Carrolltowne, where crowding is a problem.

McEvoy and other PTA leaders of the affected schools saw the options last month. The options were released to the public at the school board meeting Wednesday.

Parents may attend two public hearings next week to comment on the proposals before school staff members recommend one of the options -- or develop a fifth one.

The public hearings will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Liberty High School for parents from Eldersburg and Piney Ridge schools and 7 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty for parents from Carrolltowne and Freedom elementaries.

In addition to those four schools, the new district lines could also relieve crowding at Friendship Valley in Westminster.

The redistricting is the first in a string of boundary changes the school system is planning.

Next will be changes in the Westminster area for the new Cranberry Station Elementary, which is to open in August next year. Middle-school boundaries also are under study.

Linton Springs is under construction at Linton and Ronsdale roads in Eldersburg. The county owns a large site there that will eventually also have a high school and possibly a middle school.

The elementary school is planned for 750 children, larger than the 600-pupil schools that have been built in the county recently.

But in the densely populated southeast, the school board agreed to build a larger school. Even after it opens, some other southeastern schools will remain over capacity.

Redistricting is always one of the most controversial issues in any school district. McEvoy said some parents are bound to be disappointed, especially those whose children don't go to the new school.

But easing the pain, she said, is the fact that virtually all the southeastern schools have good reputations.

"I think we're very fortunate to have strong schools," she said. "It's sort of a no-lose situation, at the risk of sounding naive. Nobody is being moved to a rundown, low-budget, understaffed, inner-city school with problems."

But there will be challenges, she said. Eldersburg Elementary is an open-space school. Classes are arranged in suites of four, with a common area in the middle. Although the Eldersburg staff favors the open-room setup and is accustomed to it, students will be coming from other schools that have traditional rooms and may need to adjust, McEvoy said.

"That's going to be quite a challenge to the Eldersburg staff," she said.

Pub Date: 1/16/98

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