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Board wants magnet school in south end

The Washington County Board of Education proposed creating the Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts and Technology.

The Washington County Board of Education proposed creating the Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts and Technology.

March 19, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday voted 6-0 to take to a public hearing a proposal to combine elementary schools into an arts and technology magnet school beginning in the next school year.

School officials proposed creating the district boundary line for The Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts and Technology by drawing a line around Funkstown and Emma K. Doub elementary schools' existing borders and then removing the line that now separates them.

A public hearing on the redrawn district line is to be held following the School Board's April 1 business meeting.

The Facilities and Enrollment Committee, made up of some central office staff, representatives from the schools that feed into South Hagerstown High School and parents from the two schools, looked over enrollment projections for the next seven years to make a redistricting recommendation to the School Board.

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With the new magnet school, which falls within South Hagerstown High School's feeder pattern, Funkstown Elementary would be renamed Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education and would serve pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students from both schools, said Roger Giles, schools director of funded and special programs.

Each of the nine classes there would have a student-teacher ratio below 22-to-1, said Dennis McGee, the school system's director of facilities management.

Emma K. Doub would serve the second- through fifth-graders of both schools. The school would start with four second-grade classes and three classes of grades 3, 4 and 5, Giles said.

Full-day kindergarten would be provided to students from both schools under Funkstown's roof beginning next year. Funkstown Elementary wasn't scheduled to get all-day kindergarten until 2005, and Emma K. Doub in 2006, McGee said.

This new plan would require the school system to place two additional portable classrooms at Emma K. Doub over the summer to be ready for the magnet program next school year, he said.

The combined enrollment of the two schools is projected to be 467 for the next school year, which McGee said can be accommodated by the schools and two new portables. But McGee said that over the next seven years the School Board might have to continue adding portables to accommodate a growing population.

The schools are two miles apart and an additional bus route may be added, McGee said.

"Didn't we send 40 students from Eastern to Funkstown last year?" School Board Member Paul W. Bailey asked. "Is it going to play out that they'll be in three different schools in three different years?"

McGee said it is possible some students will attend three different schools in the elementary grades, but most will be with the same classmates or end up at the same middle school.

The Fountaindale School for the Arts and Academic Excellence this school year became the first magnet school for academically gifted students in the county.

Prospective Emma K. Doub magnet school students from across the county would go through an admissions application process like the one used at Fountaindale, Giles said.

As a whole, Fountaindale, which feeds into North Hagerstown High School, works under a fine arts model, meaning that all students enrolled at the school will receive an enriched curriculum in fine arts.

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