Harford board approves plan to redistrict Bel Air schools

March 26, 2002|By Lane Harvey Brown | Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF

The Harford County Board of Education voted last night to move 548 students next year to alleviate crowding in three Bel Air-area schools.

The board approved all 15 points of a redistricting plan presented last month by school administrators to reduce crowding at Forest Hill Elementary, Southampton Middle and C. Milton Wright High schools.

Ninth-graders will be allowed to stay at C. Milton Wright High through graduation. The board also amended other proposals to allow fourth- and seventh-graders to stay at their schools - if parents provide transportation.

By 2008, close to 1,100 children will be moved as the "grandfathering" provisions expire.

The board passed the plan with little discussion or opposition. After the votes on each point, however, Robert B. Thomas Jr., a board member, spoke about his unhappiness with the process.

"I don't think redistricting is the long-term solution," he said. "I'm very frustrated. The bottom line is we're going to have to do this until the county finds the wherewithal not to build one school, but two or three."

State education officials have said the county needs a new middle school, and County Executive James M. Harkins announced this month - without notifying the board or Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas - that he was appointing a panel to choose a site for a middle-high school complex.

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