Schools to move 887 students Five elementaries affected by efforts to fill Triadelphia Ridge

March 27, 1998|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

Howard County school board members last night approved a redistricting plan under which 887 elementary school students -- 100 more than initially proposed -- will switch schools next fall.

Under the part of the plan that had drawn the most heated reaction -- but involved the smallest number of students -- 28 pupils will move from Lisbon Elementary School in the northwestern part of the county to Bushy Park Elementary School in Glenwood to balance their enrollments.

"Lisbon is part of the problem in terms of overcapacity in the western part of the county," said Maurice Kalin, the associate school superintendent who handles redistricting. "I think they should be part of the solution."

Said Valerie Hillman Narron, president of the Lisbon PTA: "We are definitely disappointed. We asked not to be redistricted at all."

The boundary-line changes at Lisbon and four other schools are part of an effort by school officials to fill Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School in western Howard, which will open in August. The other schools affected will be Bushy Park, Clarksville, Pointers Run and West Friendship elementaries.

Another school, Gorman Crossing, will open in August and draw students from Laurel Woods and Forest Ridge elementaries.

The redistricting is necessary to accommodate continued nTC growth in the Howard school system, which is expected to more than double in the next decade. Enrollment at most elementary schools exceeds capacity -- and the situation is likely to worsen.

About 150 parents filled school board chambers last night to learn of the decisions, and school board Chairman Stephen C. Bounds directly addressed them early in the meeting.

"Any move is going to be tough for kids, but also remember that opening a new school is exciting for kids," Bounds said. "Whether you leave this room disappointed or ecstatic, you need to convey this in a positive way for children."

The boundary line changes approved by the board included:

Moving from Bushy Park to Triadelphia Ridge 150 students whose streets empty onto and are south of Burntwoods Road, and students who live on parts of Mustang Path and parts of Sharp Road.

Shifting from Clarksville to Triadelphia Ridge 150 students whose streets empty onto and who live north of Triadelphia Mill Road and those who live on parts of Ten Oaks Road.

Transferring from Forest Ridge to Gorman Crossing 148 students who live west of Interstate 95.

Assigning to Gorman Crossing 153 Laurel Woods students who live in the area known as High Ridge, which is bounded by Route 216 and I-95.

Moving from Lisbon to Bushy Park 28 students who live south of Interstate 70, east of Morgan Station Road and whose streets empty onto and are east of Carrs Mill Road.

Shifting from Pointers Run to Clarksville 135 students whose streets empty onto Trotter Road between Route 108 and Red Clover Lane and whose streets empty onto South Wind Circle and Red Clover Lane.

Transferring from West Friendship to Triadelphia Ridge 123 students whose streets empty onto and live south of Triadelphia Road, including parts of Rosemary Lane.

Last night's decisions came after months of discussion, work sessions and a contentious public hearing.

In January, school officials proposed redistricting about 760 students. In the weeks that followed, board members discussed the plan and some dissatisfied parents formed committees and drafted counterproposals.

This month, parents from Lisbon Elementary submitted to school officials a 13-page document that proposed moving students in neighboring schools. The so-called Lisbon Plan outraged parents in nearby communities.

Ultimately, board members reduced from 62 to 28 the number of students who would leave Lisbon.

They also left Atholton Elementary School unaffected. It was slated to lose 140 students.

Board members also added the crowded Pointers Run, which was not named in the original proposal, to the plan. The school is in an area of intensive housing development and has enrolled about 100 new students in each of the past seven years.

"I have been to Pointers Run and I've talked to teachers and seen the tired look in their eyes," said Sandra French, a board member. "Something's got to be done."

Many of the students leaving Laurel Woods live mostly in single-family homes in the area -- and their transfer is expected to change the face of a campus where student turnover is among the highest in the county, board members and school officials said last night.

"That is a school that already has a challenging population," Bounds said.

"The school community has asked us [to reduce enrollment], but I am doing it reluctantly."

Pub Date: 3/27/98

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