Transfer of 600 students proposed Balto. County seeks shift in schools to relieve crowding

March 25, 1998|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County school officials yesterday proposed transferring almost 600 elementary and middle school students over the next two years to relieve crowding, in the system's first widespread redistricting in several years.

The proposed boundary line changes, which would affect eight schools, came as school officials formally released new long-term plans to handle student enrollment growth and the system's aging buildings.

The plans -- which come after last week's announcement of new enrollment forecasts through 2007 -- include a new, 592-seat elementary school in Woodlawn and a larger-than-expected new elementary in Owings Mills.

"The growth in the northwest area continues to be rapid, and the new enrollment projections validate the urgent need for the capital projects in the pipeline," said Donna Flynn, northwest area superintendent.

These proposed changes are subject to school board approval in June:

The 115 Southwest Academy middle school students who live in the Winfield Elementary School district would attend Old Court Middle School in the fall. The 87 Southwest Academy students who live in the Woodmoor Elementary School district would attend Woodlawn Middle. Without the changes, Southwest Academy is projected to be 301 students over its enrollment capacity next fall.

With the opening of the new Sparks Elementary School in the fall, school officials propose sending 101 Jacksonville Elementary School students who live in the Loveton Farms area to Sparks. The 59 Fifth District Elementary School students who live between Stringtown Road and Mount Carmel Road, from the intersection of Benson Mill Road and Yeoho Road East, also would be sent to Sparks.

School officials propose making Mars Estates Elementary School a primary school for pre-kindergarten through second-grade students and making Deep Creek Elementary School an intermediate school for third- through fifth-graders. Families of students at the two schools frequently move during the year -- forcing students to transfer multiple times -- and the change would reduce the number of times students would have to switch schools.

In fall 1999, school officials propose transferring the 218 Deer Park Middle School students who live in the Cedarmere Elementary School and Timber Grove Elementary School districts to Franklin Middle School. Franklin Middle's 400-seat addition should be completed by fall 1999, giving it space for the students.

In the capital budget changes presented to the board last night, the new elementary school in Woodlawn would be built on a 40-acre site south of Dogwood Road and west of Rolling Road, relieving the county's most crowded elementary, Chadwick.

Projected enrollment growth in Owings Mills has caused school and county officials to change a proposed kindergarten-through-8th-grade school to a 750-seat elementary. The K-8 school would have had 300 elementary seats. Plans for middle and high schools in the area will be deferred.

A 100-seat addition to Deer Park Elementary also will be in place by January under the revised construction plans announced last night.

The new construction plans also include an extra $12 million for repairs to some of the county's older schools. The new funding for repairs comes as a consultant studying the condition of the district's buildings has found widespread need for repairs -- with some preliminary repair estimates ranging as high as $400 million.

The boundary line changes proposed last night face a series of local meetings and hearings before the school board holds a public hearing May 19 and votes June 16. The schedule of meetings includes: In the Northwest Area, the PTA executive boards of the affected schools will be told about the plans at 7 p.m. April 1 at Owings Mills High School. A community hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 4 at the same location.

In the Southwest Area, the PTA executive boards of the affected schools will be told about the plans at 7 p.m. April 2 at Southwest Academy. A community hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 5 at the same location

In the Central Area, the PTA executive boards of the affected schools will be told of the plans at 7 p.m. April 14 at Hereford High School. A community hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 11 at the same location.

In the Southeast Area, the PTA executive boards of the affected schools will be told of the plans at 7: 30 p.m. April 16 at Deep Creek Elementary School. A community hearing will be held at 7: 30 p.m. May 7 at Mars Estates Elementary School.

Pub Date: 3/25/98

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