Redistricting committee to modify school plan

Parents' criticism pushes back final proposal

February 27, 2000|By David L. Greene | David L. Greene,SUN STAFF

Facing harsh public criticism, a Carroll school redistricting committee is reconsidering aspects of its plan to move more than 4,000 students to new schools.

The committee of parents and school administrators was scheduled to present final recommendations to the school board at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Westminster High School. That public meeting has been postponed, school officials announced, and will likely be rescheduled for next week.

Kathleen Sanner, Carroll's director of school support services, said the committee has redrawn some boundaries in its draft proposal, which had angered many parents. They complained their communities were being split, their children were being moved too often and their children would attend schools too far from home.

Sanner would not discuss details of the committee's changes. She said members -- who have had long meetings in the past week -- need extra time to fine-tune and study how their changes will affect enrollment countywide.

The committee will meet in private Tuesday to vote on a final proposal, Sanner said.

"They're just looking at every little detail," Sanner said. "And the changes will reflect some of the public comment."

The time frame for approving redistricting is uncertain, school officials said. The school board, after it receives the final proposal next week, is scheduled to make its revisions before taking action March 27.

Sanner said the public can attend the meeting when the committee presents the final proposal to the board and the public will have at least one more opportunity to comment. If a public forum cannot be held in mid-March, Sanner said, the redistricting committee will likely recommend the board hear from the public March 27, then take a final vote at its April meeting.

The committee was charged with redrawing school boundaries to balance enrollment across the county. It unveiled a draft proposal Jan. 24. Many parents voiced strong opposition to the plan during two forums this month.

Sykesville residents complained that town residents would have to attend two elementary schools, a first for the community. Winfield-area parents were angry their children would be redistricted for the second time in three years.

"You can't listen to everything," said Cynthia M. Parr, a Finksburg parent who chairs the committee. "Some of it is emotion -- you've got to change this or that. But some things do make sense."

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