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BOE approves redistricting

September 08, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

The Maryland Board of Education has approved a controversial school resdistricting plan that was passed more than a year ago by the local school system, an official said.

Eleven Williamsport-area parents had appealed the plan, which called for moving some Hagerstown-area students to Williamsport.

The parents had alleged that the school board violated procedures by voting to accept the plan on April 23, 1996, a week before a public meeting on it was held.

In May, an administrative law judge for the state board upheld the county school board's plan.

The decision then had to go before the state Board of Education, which heard arguments on the case July 29.

On Aug. 18, the state Board of Education ruled that the parents who appealed the plan "failed to meet their burden of showing that the local board acted arbitrarily, unreasonably or illegally," according to Richard McGrory, an attorney for the local board.

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McGrory said the parents have 30 days from the date of the ruling to appeal the decision to Washington County Circuit Court, although no appeal has been filed.

The plan, which went into effect last year, was expected to affect about 100 students at South Hagerstown High School and about 300 students at five county middle schools - Northern, E. Russell Hicks, Western Heights, Smithsburg and Springfield, school officials said.

At the time, Williamsport area schools were at 57 percent capacity, while classrooms in the other schools were crowded, officials said.

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