Boundary panel puts end to 2 elementary redistricting plans

One and Six for northeast go

Two, Three survive

October 11, 2002|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF

Deeming them "fatally flawed," the Howard County School Boundary Line Committee put two elementary school redistricting plans out of their misery last night during its final meeting.

While there was only one proposed plan for middle schools and elementary schools in the Columbia west and southeast regions of the county, the northeast area had four proposals on the table.

Plan One, which received wide criticism from parents in the Glenmont and Montgomery Meadows neighborhoods, was the first to go after committee members agreed they could not live with its one real defect: filling Thunder Hill Elementary School to 121 percent capacity.

Too many cons

Plan Six, which would have moved many children who were moved in 2000, bit the dust next. It had too many cons and no identifiable pros.

Left standing were Plans Two and Three.

Plan Two stayed in the mix because it does the one thing no other plan could: It gets rid of an "island" of Hopewell neighborhood pupils who now skip over several nearby schools to attend Talbott Springs.

Most committee members expressed deep concerns about this proposal, but kept it to meet the school board's request that they eliminate islands.

Plan Three, which seems to upset the smallest number of parents, is the favorite. It was approved unanimously by all voting members.

Of course, that's not to say that the school board will see things the same way.

"Until the board does its final vote and says here's the final decision, everything's still open for discussion," cautioned committee chairman Tom Grobicki.

Alternate in southeast

Members also created an alternate plan for the southeast region of the county, which gets rid of a troublesome island of Atholton Elementary pupils. It will go forward with the original.

The middle school plan was slightly modified as well, taking children from Roxbury Road, Cat Tail Creek and Shady Lane out of the new Folly Quarter middle school, as was originally proposed, and putting them back into Glenwood Middle.

Another group of pupils near West Friendship Elementary School also was taken out of Folly Quarter and put back into Mount View Middle.

To Drown for review

The plans are now in the hands of district enrollment expert David C. Drown and his office of Geographic Information Systems, which will review - and potentially revise - them before presenting the proposal to the Board of Education as a preferred and an alternate Oct. 24.

The board will then analyze the diagrams and hold public hearings to gauge opinion, making its final decision late next month, potentially calling on committee members for clarification.

"Their input is valued and critical to the final product," Drown said.

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