Parents oppose school transfer

Proposal could divert 90 students from Howard High

November 30, 2007|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,Sun reporter

A proposal that would send close to 90 students from Howard High School to Long Reach High School for the 2010-2011 school year has struck a nerve with some Elkridge parents, who say they moved to the area with the understanding that their children would attend the Ellicott City school.

Joel A. Gallihue, the school system's manager of school planning, said it's too early to say what will happen in 2010.

"It's so far out," Gallihue said. "And because the decision has not been made yet, I hesitate to say what neighborhood [would be affected.]"

Between 80 and 90 students who live around the northern part of the U.S. 1 corridor would be moved from Howard High to Long Reach High, according to the school system's feasibility study.

The topic dominated a two-hour PTA meeting Monday for parents from Elkridge Landing Middle and Elkridge Elementary schools, which are located next to each other on Montgomery Road, according to PTA member Nancy Pfeffer. The meeting was held at the elementary school.

"When people bought their homes, they were told that they were going to Howard High," Pfeffer said.

Some parents want the school system to build a new high school to accommodate the overflow of students in the area, Pfeffer said. The parents have pointed to portable classrooms at Howard High as a sign that another high school is needed, she added. Howard High officials say they have two portable classrooms at the school, but they are not being used.

Even though the proposed plan would not take affect until 2010, Gallihue said he recently received several calls from parents who oppose the proposal.

"You are talking about people's kids," he said. "People get anxious."

The redistricting process for the 2010-2011 school year school is slated to begin in the summer of 2009, according to Gallihue. It must go through a public input process and then be approved by the Board of Education.

Although several parents were scheduled to address the board last night at its regularly scheduled meeting, it might be a moot point because three board seats will be up for election next year. Chairman Diane Mikulis said she will leave the board when her term expires in 2008, and members Janet Siddiqui and Ellen Flynn Giles are running for re-election.

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