School enrollment up slightly

some schools full

October 31, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County schools showed only slight growth this year, adding 110 students to its enrollment, according to school officials.

The increase to 19,574 students is "pretty weak" given that Washington County is generally considered to be a growing area, said Dennis McGee, director of Facilities Management for the Washington County Board of Education.

Officials recently reported that building permits have increased 28 percent in the last five years, but McGee said people seem to be just moving around in the county.

School enrollment has grown must faster in other areas. In Frederick County, for example, about 800 new students were added to the roster this year, according to McGee.


Although enrollment is relatively flat, six elementary schools in the county are over capacity, according to McGee. Clear Spring, Hickory, Maugansville, Potomac Heights, Sharpsburg and Williamsport are from 3 percent to 22 percent over capacity, although only Clear Spring is considered to be too crowded, said McGee.

McGee said the age of 43-year-old Clear Spring coupled with its 37 extra students makes it too crowded.

School officials are currently putting together a plan to add about 5,000-square-feet to the school, a project that will cost about $4 million, said McGee.

Although the other schools are "full on paper," they are not uncomfortable for students, said McGee. At Sharpsburg Elementary, for example, where there are 56 extra students, the school has extra rooms for special education, gifted students, and physical education, which makes it a roomier building, McGee said.

Some parents agreed that the schools were not too crowded.

"We're handling what we have," said Linda Tritsch, president of the Hickory Elementary Parent Teacher Association.

School officials say Washington County is experiencing strong growth on the "crescent" around the east side of the city and along the Interstate 70 corridor toward Frederick.

Contained in the area is Eastern Elementary and Doub Elementary, and school officials say they might have to consider redistricting "in the near future" to offset the growth, according to the recently released Capital Improvements Program put out by the Board of Education.

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