S. Carroll parents pleased with school transfer vote Flanders/Amberly children will stay at Carrolltowne

March 19, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Mothers from the Flanders/Amberly neighborhood in South Carroll gathered yesterday to celebrate the school board's decision to allow their children to remain at Carrolltowne Elementary School.

The board voted Tuesday to modify a proposed redistricting plan so children from Flanders/Amberly would remain at Carrolltowne, instead of going to Eldersburg Elementary, as school administrators had proposed.

School officials are redistricting students in preparation for the opening of Linton Springs Elementary School in Eldersburg in August. School planners have said boundary adjustments are being made to balance enrollment among the five elementary schools in the southeast region.

Since January, mothers from Flanders/Amberly have objected to staff redistricting plan at public meetings and have suggested other options to the board.

"We got together after the school bus left and enjoyed not having to prepare for another meeting," said Cheryl O'Bannon, who served as unofficial group leader. "We've kind of built a close-knit group of bus stop parents."

O'Bannon said the celebration was bittersweet because parents from nearby Carroll Highlands lost their redistricting battle. They had tried to persuade the school board to let their children remain at Carrolltowne Elementary.

On that issue, the board sided with school planners and decided to send the Carroll Highlands children to Freedom Elementary.

"We worked with people from Carroll Highlands, and our hearts just go out to them," O'Bannon said. "So even though it was a victory for us, we really are hurting for that community."

Under the redistricting plan adopted by the board, the 776-pupil population at Linton Springs will include about 585 pupils transferred from Eldersburg Elementary. About 500 pupils will be redistricted to elementaries in the South Carroll area.

"We believe we have quality schools in all of Carroll County, and that was a critical factor in our recommendations," said Vernon Smith, director of school support services, at Tuesday's school board meeting.

"We know growth isn't stopping in South Carroll and, with that in mind, we felt we needed to focus on how to get Carrolltowne Elementary down to a lower number."

The school is severely overcrowded, with a population of 885 pupils and a capacity of 575. To reduce enrollment, the redistricting recommendation by school staff included sending 57 children in the Flanders/Amberly development to Eldersburg Elementary.

Instead, the school board voted 3-2 to send children from Hunter's Crossing to Eldersburg Elementary and keep the Flanders/Amberly children at Carrolltowne. The modified option will add 14 pupils to Carrolltowne's population.

Board President Scott Stone voted against the modified plan, along with member Joseph D. Mish. Stone said that after driving through the Flanders/Amberly and Carroll Highlands neighborhoods, it made more sense to send Carroll Highlands children to Carrolltowne.

"I was sympathetic to the isolation that Flanders/Amberly would have felt had they attended Eldersburg," Stone said. "But I concluded it was in the best interest of everyone for Carroll Highlands to go to to Carrolltowne."

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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