School boundaries discussed

2 southwestern elementaries may become Windsor Mill feeders

March 16, 2006|By LIZ F. KAY | LIZ F. KAY,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County school board is considering a recommendation to have children from two elementary schools in the southwestern part of the county attend the new Windsor Mill Middle School.

Under the proposal, which was the subject of a sparsely attended hearing last night, Dogwood and Winfield elementary schools would become feeder schools for Windsor Mill.

School board members are expected to make a decision about the attendance-area proposal at their March 28 meeting.

Steve Whisler, president of the Westview Park Improvement & Civic Association, told school board members that he believed the boundary-line process was not "community based" and urged them to reject all four concepts that were developed.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's Maryland section about proposed attendance boundaries for Windsor Mill Middle School stated that children from Dogwood and Winfield elementary schools would attend Windsor Mill. Under the proposal, some children at Randallstown Elementary School also would attend Windsor Mill Middle, Baltimore County school officials said.
The Sun regrets the errors.

But the other two speakers last night, both members of the committee, said that the community had many opportunities to get involved.

Windsor Mill, scheduled to open in August, was built to ease crowding at middle schools in the northwest and southwest areas, according to school officials. The $32 million building can accommodate up to 715 children, based on state formulas.

A boundary-line committee met five times between November and last month, Southwest Area Assistant Superintendent Manuel Rodriguez said at a school board meeting last month. In addition, 182 people attended a community forum in January, according to a report given to the school board.

The committee considered four boundary-line scenarios and recommended an attendance area for Windsor Mill that is bounded by Liberty Road, Old Court Road, the Patapsco River and parts of Rolling Road. School officials expect that four nearby middle schools would be under capacity with the recommended boundaries.

Under the proposal, children from Dogwood and Winfield elementary schools would attend Windsor Mill Middle School. The school system projects that about 500 students would attend Windsor Mill, if its proposal is accepted by the school board.

The recommendation also sends all children from Edmondson Elementary to Southwest Academy Middle School. This year, a few Edmondson students went to Woodlawn Middle, said Pam Carter, boundary specialist in the school system's Office of Strategic Planning.

Also, all Powhatan Elementary children would attend Woodlawn, although a small number go to Pikesville now, Carter said.

Whisler said he and other community association presidents were not invited to participate in the boundary-line process. He also said that of the 37 members of the boundary committee, 25 were faculty, school administrators or school system representatives. The others came from PTAs and the southwest- and northwest-area advisory councils. Two were community representatives.

"The majority of people who have been involved have been educators," Whisler said. "To me, that doesn't satisfy the requirement that they go out into the community."

But Liberty Road community resident Emily Wolfson described the process as "fair and reasonable a process as can be developed."

She has been involved in four boundary-change processes, and some group is always dissatisfied, Wolfson told the board.

Most children from Westview Park attend Southwest Academy Middle School, which has 1,115 middle school children.

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