Plan would shift pupils

Proposal could ease crowded classrooms at Pointers Run

Ahead of 2003 redistricting

About 230 children may move to different elementary schools

Howard County

March 01, 2002|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

Howard County school officials last night asked the Board of Education to consider moving 230 children out of Pointers Run Elementary School next year to free up space in the county's most crowded elementary school.

Although all 55 of the county's elementary and middle schools will be considered for redistricting next year, the board thought it necessary to redraw boundary lines for Pointers Run early because the school is so crowded.

Pointers Run has a capacity of 666 pupils, but has about 1,000 children enrolled. The elementary school is more populated than some county high schools, and teachers have resorted to using closets, stage and hall space to accommodate children.

"They're severely overcrowded to the point where they need relief and they need it now," said David C. Drown, the district's coordinator of geographic systems.

Drown had said in August that 200 to 250 children enrolled at Pointers Run should be moved to nearby schools - such as Clarksville Elementary - for the 2002-2003 school year.

An addition is being built onto the Clarksville school to accommodate the extra children.

Under Drown's plan presented last night, about 30 more children from the Ellicott City neighborhood of Gaither Farm would be sent from Clarksville Elementary to nearby Longfellow Elementary in Columbia to free up seats for the Pointers Run children.

Drown's proposal would send to Clarksville from Pointers Run:

Pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade who live along Trotter Road and have sole access to Trotter Road.

Pupils with access to and including Fall Moon Ride, Indian Summer and Linden Linthicum Lane.

Pupils who live north of Fall Moon Ride with sole access to Great Star Drive, excluding Countless Stars, Pure Sky Place, Ascending Moon Path and Moonsails Lane.

Drown's alternative plan would send about 40 more pupils from Pointers Run to Clarksville - giving the newer, more-populated school more project rooms, special-subject classrooms and teacher planning space. But those additional children won't easily fit at Clarksville, Drown said, because of the school's configuration.

Built in 1991, Pointers Run has many open spaces and classroom "pods" that have center areas and project rooms that can be used for classrooms if necessary.

But Clarksville, built in 1964, is a more traditional building with fewer spaces that can be used for other things.

Drown presented board members with potential building floor plans that the principals at Pointers Run and Clarksville drew up to indicate how well they could accommodate the new boundary lines. The floor plans showed Pointers Run crowded under Drown's recommendation.

Drown's alternative would make Pointers Run less crowded, but might force Clarksville into a pinch, particularly in light of proposed development in Clarksville's Pheasant Ridge neighborhood, he said.

Parent Ann Brinsmead said she and most of her neighbors are prepared for the disruption redistricting causes because relief from the crowding is more important. "It's just a bad situation. It's tough over there," she said. "They're using closets for found space. Those floor plans say it all."

The school board will consider Drown's proposals at a work session March 7 and seek comment at a public hearing March 14 before deciding on new boundary lines March 21.

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