School boundaries redrawn for Rodgers Forge region

March 25, 2010|By Loni Ingraham | The Towson Times

The yearlong, often-contentious process of creating new school boundaries in the area served by Riderwood and Rodgers Forge elementary schools and the new $25 million West Towson Elementary is over.

It culminated Tuesday in a unanimous vote by the Baltimore County Board of Education, which took less than two minutes to approve a modified version of Scenario G - a plan that had been supported by 70 percent of community members who served on the boundary study committee, according to the school system.

The new boundaries take effect after this school year, in preparation for West Towson's opening in August.

Scenario G keeps Rodgers Forge and the six neighborhoods surrounding it relatively intact, with youngsters from Rodgers Forge attending their neighborhood school and children from nearby neighborhoods attending West Towson Elementary.

The exception is a small section of Rodgers Forge duplexes south of Overbrook Road in the 6400 block of Pinehurst Road.

Children from those eight residences, who now attend Rodgers Forge Elementary, will go to the West Towson School, as will their classmates from Gaywood, Schwartz Avenue, Armagh Village, Pinehurst and Rodgers Forge Apartments.

Scenario G, which was modified to allow students living adjacent to West Towson Elementary to attend that school, relieves crowding that has troubled elementary schools in that area in recent years.

"The teachers and the students will all be in a better situation next fall," said Cathi Forbes, founder of Towson Families United, the grass-roots organization that fought to get an additional elementary school built.

According to current projections for the three schools:

•West Towson, with a capacity of 451 students, will open at 87 percent capacity in August with 392 students;

•Rodgers Forge, which has 722 students and is at 181.3 percent capacity, will have 369 students and be at 93.2 capacity;

•Riderwood, which has 542 students and is at 117 percent capacity, will have 495 students and be at 106.9 capacity.

The process was "particularly challenging," said Barbara Walker, central area schools superintendent, because of the density of houses surrounding Rodgers Forge Elementary and the need to go so far south to boost West Towson enrollment.

After the vote, Dennis King, co-chair of the boundary study committee, said he was relieved.

"It's good to have finality to the process," he said. "When all is said and done, there are going be a lot of happy parents one way or the other."

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