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Students may be moved to offset crowding

December 20, 2001|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

Students may be moved to offset crowding



The Jefferson County Board of Education may consider transferring some elementary students to offset crowded conditions developing at schools such as Wright Denny Intermediate, Shipley Elementary School and Page Jackson School.

If the school board does not change attendance zones, Wright Denny is expected to pick up at least 30 more students next year, board member Pete Dougherty said.

Although Page Jackson School will no longer have a third grade next year, it has experienced student population growth due to residential development in the southern part of the county, Dougherty said.

Page Jackson is near the site where the controversial 3,300-home Huntfield development is to be built. Huntfield is not causing immediate concern among school officials because that project is years down the road, Dougherty said.

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In subdivisions like nearby Crosswinds, however, hundreds of new homes are being built, adding students to the school system, he said.

C.W. Shipley School, which is "bursting at the seams," is also in a high growth area, said Dougherty.

Although he would not say how attendance zones might be changed, he said that process might affect many of the county's nine elementary schools. Once school officials start changing an attendance zone for one school, other changes often may be required, Dougherty said.

School board members began discussing the possibility of redistricting during their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Dougherty said the local school system tries not to redistrict often, noting that attendance zones in the county have not been changed in 10 years.

Neighboring Berkeley County changes school attendance zones more often, Dougherty said.

"Nobody gives us credit. So we might as well do what's good for the long run anyhow," Dougherty said at Tuesday's meeting.

Dougherty said he wants the administration to look at the issue and come back with a plan.

Schools Superintendent Jud Romine said Wednesday that school officials will examine the student population at the elementary schools to get a better idea whether redistricting is needed.

Romine said they should report back to the board in early January.

School Board President Larry Togans said it is important for the board to get the facts on school population numbers before everyone "gets too excited."

Togans said he received two letters from the School Improvement Council at Wright Denny regarding crowded conditions at the school on Congress Street in Charles Town.

School Improvement Council members said in the letters they were "deeply concerned" about over-crowing at Wright Denny. They said specialists, such as art and physical education teachers, are being "squeezed into inadequate space" at the school.

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