Parents are united on need for new school to relieve crowding

Montgomery Road group to petition school board for another elementary

May 19, 1999|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Fed up with crowded schools, a group of parents in northeastern Howard County resolved last night to fight for a new elementary school.

The Montgomery Road Corridor Citizens for Education, representing Deep Run, Elkridge, Ilchester, Rockburn, Waterloo and Worthington elementary schools, met last night at Rockburn to discuss problems caused by development and alternatives to redistricting as a remedy for crowded schools.

The group decided to mount a petition drive to persuade the Board of Education to consider building a new school. The group hopes to meet with the board in June.

"If we unite, we can effect change," said Barbara Harrison, an organizer of the meeting and a Rockburn parent. "The goals are for the citizens to unite as one as opposed to being a school-to-school neighborhood effort."

In March, the board voted to forestall redistricting in the northeast after some parents opposed it.

Harrison said she decided to form MRCCE after the March meeting because she had concerns about the redistricting process.

Recently, the county imposed a ban on development in the northeast until 2009. But the school district must devise solutions to a problem that has four of the region's six schools at least 22 percent over capacity.

A school had been slated to open this year, but it was shelved several years ago because of concerns over cost and whether it would be needed.

The alternative -- trailers or additions -- is frowned on by MRCCE.

Another possible solution was to redistrict students into the Columbia East district. But schools there that are under capacity probably won't have the extra space because of the school board's new initiative for a 19: 1 student-teacher ratio.

"We don't have the seats because of the 19-to-1 initiative ," said Ilchester parent Courtney Watson. "So we think it's reasonable to re-institute the new school."

Pub Date: 5/19/99

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