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Magnet school plan is praised at hearing

April 02, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A Washington County Board of Education public hearing Tuesday on the proposed boundary lines for The Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts and Technology drew mostly praise.

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

Dennis McGee, the school system's director of facilities management, led the hearing by telling the audience of between 25 and 30 people that combining the schools will help to even out the class sizes between them.

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He also spoke to alleviate any concerns parents might have that combining the two schools is a way of accelerating the closure of Funkstown.

McGee told them the school system has no plans to close the school in its Capital Improvement Plan.

Rebecca Collinson, a reading teacher at Funkstown, said she knows many of the staff members are excited about the program.

With the new magnet school, which falls within South Hagerstown High School's boundaries, Funkstown Elementary School would be renamed Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education, Roger Giles, schools director of funded and special programs, has said.

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 has said.

Bridget Pearl, a parent in the Funkstown district, said she is concerned about where school staff will be placed next year.

The combined enrollment of the two schools is projected to be 467 for the next school year.

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

The School Board is accepting written statements on the boundary lines through April 8, and will vote on the proposal at its April 15 business meeting.

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