After examining maps, county history and numerous suggestions, a committee has recommended naming Howard County's new northeastern elementary school Veterans Elementary School.
Co-chairs of the committee presented the name to the Board of Education on Thursday and said it was inspired by the fact that the new school is being built next to the Yingling-Ridley VFW Post 7472 in Ellicott City on land that the post sold to the school system. The committee also received feedback that citizens were eager to honor men and women in the armed forces.
"There is much support for this name," said Marion Miller, administrative director of elementary schools and a committee co-chair. The panel has received 118 letters of support for the use of "veterans" in the name, she said.
Although the first-choice name does not adhere closely to the school system policy of naming schools after geographical features, several school board members said they would support waiving the policy, if necessary.
Honoring veterans is "a proper thing to do and particularly now," said board chairman Joshua Kaufman, the board chairman.
There will be a public hearing on the name Oct. 26. The school board will make a final decision - which does not have to reflect the committee's recommendations - in November.
The school system will present its suggested attendance area adjustments for elementary and middle schools for the 2007-2008 school year at two meetings this week.
No adjustment to high schools is proposed this year. Many of the system's proposals will focus on tentative boundary lines for the new northeastern elementary, including the following:
153 pupils from Hollifield Station to St. John's Lane;
105 pupils from Northfield to the new elementary school;
33 pupils from Northfield to Thunder Hill;
35 pupils from St. John's Lane to Centennial Lane;
453 pupils from St. John's Lane to the new elementary school;
147 pupils from Waverly to St. John's Lane;
193 pupils from Worthington to the new elementary school.
The system is also proposing 84 pupils move from Bellows Springs to Waterloo, and 66 pupils move from Bryant Woods to Running Brook.
Middle school adjustments focus on Glenwood Middle School, where pupils in three areas are proposed to move to Folly Quarter Middle School and on Elkridge Landing from which 118 students are proposed to move to Mayfield Woods. Joel Gallihue, manager of school planning, said he would discuss the plans in more detail at the two meetings and then let attendees offer input.
"I want to orient them to what the staff has recommended," he said. "Then I need to step out of the way and gather up the rest of the ideas."
The first meeting will be Tuesday at Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City, and the second will be Wednesday at Hammond High School, 8800 Guilford Road, Columbia. Both meetings begin at 7:30 p.m.
Dance studio debated
School board members were sympathetic to Centennial High School dancers who lack a proper studio, but with no unused space in the school and no large renovations planned, board members found it would be difficult to accommodate the growing program.
At a capital budget work session Thursday, several parents described a dance program that has 120 students and gets bumped from the auditorium stage when drama productions take over. Classes are taught with no barres and tattered portable mirrors, and dance troupes and drill teams often have to practice in cramped hallways.
Centennial and Hammond high schools lack dance studios. Centennial's last renovation was planned before the program was added to the school curriculum five years ago.
New studios are "something we would very much like to do, but I don't see the place for it in this year's request at all," said Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin.
Kaufman said such a glaring inequity between schools highlights the need for a comprehensive facilities study.
The board indicated that renovations to Glenelg High School and a new maintenance facility that would allow the system to vacate the Harriet Tubman School in Columbia - both of which were advocated in public testimony - remain priorities.
The board is scheduled to hold another work session and approve the fiscal year 2008 capital budget Oct. 3.