Officials unveil plan for schools

Redistricting would shuffle pupils to relieve crowding

September 21, 2005|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,sun reporter

The annual rite of Howard County parents fretting over their children moving to a different school has begun as the school system unveiled to the public last night a redistricting plan to fill a new elementary school in Dayton and relieve crowding at neighboring schools in the west.

The preliminary redistricting proposal not only takes into account the opening of the 788-seat elementary school in August 2006, it also considers a new Ellicott City elementary school in 2007 and several other elementary school projects in the county's western region.

"We make adjustments now considering what the future holds and taking a long-term look rather than a short-term look," David C. Drown, the district's manager of school planning, said in an interview last week.

Drown is to present the plan to parents and community members at 7:30 p.m. today at Hammond High School.

The Dayton elementary school would draw pupils from two schools: Triadelphia Ridge and Clarksville. Triadelphia Ridge would move the most pupils, 433, with Clarksville Elementary moving 222.

The moves create space at both schools and would provide relief at Manor Woods and West Friendship elementaries, Drown said. About 120 pupils from Manor Woods and 102 from West Friendship would transfer to Triadelphia Ridge.

Clarksville would get 109 pupils from Pointers Run.

To relieve crowded Fulton Elementary, 138 pupils would transfer to Pointers Run Elementary.

The most crowded elementary school, Bushy Park in Glenwood, has been left untouched because a replacement school is scheduled to open next to it in 2007, Drown said.

In addition to adjusting elementary boundary lines, the school system is making moderate changes at the middle school level -- particularly to relieve crowding at Patapsco Middle and fill open seats at Burleigh Manor.

Patapsco pupils from the Kaiser Farm property off U.S. 40 and the High Ridge neighborhood in Ellicott City would move to Dunloggin Middle.

Dunloggin would then need relief, so 104 pupils there would transfer to Ellicott Mills Middle.

To fill available seats at Burleigh Manor, 63 Mount View Middle pupils, who live along Bethany Lane and in the Pine Orchard neighborhood, would move there.

Another move would shift 52 pupils who attended Manor Woods Elementary from Folly Quarter Middle to Mount View.

Unlike previous years, when preliminary proposals for redrawn boundary lines were first revealed at community meetings, a variation of a plan for the Dayton elementary school had been circulating since July -- a move that school officials hope will reduce the anxiety associated with the task.

"People are a little bit more informed about what the base plan looks like," Drown said, noting redistricting on the elementary school level is less contentious than adjusting boundary lines for high schools.

Under a revamped redistricting process, the school system released a feasibility study that outlined an early look at possible attendance areas for the new elementary school.

Over the past two months, the school system's planning office has been modifying the initial plan with the help of a citizens advisory committee, Drown said.

Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin is scheduled to present his recommendations to the school board Oct. 27.

The school board is set to hold several work sessions and a public hearing before it makes its decision Nov. 22.

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