Revised school district lines set

Attendance boundaries affect four elementaries

133 pupils to transfer

`Our community is not there'

April 12, 2002|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Wrapping up another round of redrawing school attendance areas, the Carroll County Board of Education voted Wednesday night to move 133 pupils among elementary schools in the northern and central areas of the county.

The redistricting plan -- scaled back by the board from an original proposal to transfer about 300 pupils -- is designed to ease crowding and to balance enrollments by shifting elementary pupils in the northeastern corner of the county to schools farther west and south. The board's decision does not affect the borders of middle or high school attendance areas.

According to the plan, 69 pupils from Spring Garden Elementary in Hampstead will move to Finksburg's Sandymount Elementary and 64 Hampstead Elementary pupils will shift to Cranberry Station Elementary in Westminster. The changes take affect in August.

The board decided not to accept the redistricting committee's recommendation to also transfer 82 Manchester Elementary pupils to Charles Carroll Elementary in Silver Run and 58 Charles Carroll pupils to William Winchester in Westminster.

Among the people who nearly filled the board room, eight parents spoke against the plan, complaining about the disruption of transferring children from a school where they have friends and routines to one farther away and removed from the community where they play sports, worship and socialize.

"In this day and age, kids try to fit in," Bill Meredith told the board, asking it not to approve a plan that would send his son to elementary school in Westminster before returning him to the Hampstead area for middle and high school. "Some do, some don't. What chance are you giving him to fit in by moving him so often?"

Kathy Crumbaugh, who has spent the past 13 years volunteering in North Carroll schools as her children moved through the school system, spoke against the proposal to move Spring Garden kids -- including her kindergarten-age son -- to Sandymount Elementary.

"Our community is not even there," she said, emotion choking her voice. "I might as well move to Virginia -- we just don't even go there."

Alex Obriecht, chairman of Emory United Methodist Church's childcare center, expressed his incredulity at the board's debate.

The day care center will lose 30 to 40 children -- more than a third of its after-school enrollment -- when the redistricted pupils no longer attend elementary school in Hampstead.

"Thirteen or 14 years ago, I stood at a school board meeting and heard the exact same issues discussed and it would be funny if it wasn't so serious," he said.

"I'm flabbergasted that we're still discussing the fact that we can't figure out how many kids are going to go to what school and when we're going to build those schools and if we're going to build them in time for enough kids to be there and not be overcrowded."

The board unanimously approved a plan last month to move about 360 pupils next year among elementary schools in fast-growing South Carroll and Mount Airy.

As it did last month for that proposal, the board voted 3-2 Wednesday night to allow fourth-graders to complete their last year at their current school if they apply by April 30 and agree to provide their transportation.

Maps of the changes are available on the school system's Web site at www.carr.org/ccps.

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