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Redistricting plan approved in Berkeley County

March 22, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - About 100 students who attend or would attend Hedgesville Elementary School this upcoming school year instead will attend other schools under a plan approved unanimously Monday night by Berkeley County Board of Education members.

Students from other nearby areas also are affected by the plan.

During the meeting, two parents spoke against the idea. Both have children who will be moved from Hedgesville Elementary School to Tuscarora Elementary in Martinsburg, W.Va.

One of the women, Michele Reynolds, cried when she said her daughter will have to move to a "citified" school that has an open floor plan and where about one-third of the students are in the Title I program.

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Title I students are those cited as needing additional help with their math and reading skills.

Reynolds said she moved to the Ridgefield subdivision from a rural area and wants her children to continue attending rural schools, such as those in Hedgesville.

Under the redistricting plan, her daughter will attend Tuscarora Elementary School for third grade, and then will attend Eagle School Intermediate in Martinsburg for fourth and fifth grades, rather than Potomack Intermediate School in Falling Waters, W.Va. She will attend Hedgesville Middle School and Hedgesville High School.

Reynolds' daughter is one of 25 students who will attend Tuscarora Elementary rather than Hedgesville Elementary. Along with those from Ridgefield, students from Welltown Road and Stribling Road are included in that figure.

Twenty students who live in the Ridgefield community, along Welltown Road and Stribling Road, who now attend Potomac Intermediate will instead attend Eagle School Intermediate.

Thirty-eight students who live in the Rocky Glen mobile home community who attend Hedgesville Elementary School will attend Marlowe Elementary School.

Thirty-five students who live in the Spring Mills Commons housing development and attend Hedgesville Elementary School will attend Bedington Elementary School.

Lastly, 101 students who live in the Berkeley Station Road area and attend North Middle School in Martinsburg will be moved to Spring Mills Middle School.

Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon said he has only heard opposition from the parents of Hedgesville Elementary students.

He apologized to the parents who attended the meeting, but said a growing population requires such adjustments.

Every time a new school opens, boundary adjustments are needed. The county built seven new schools in the last eight years, he said.

"We just can't ignore growth," he said. "Is readjustment something that I enjoy doing? Absolutely not."

The county's student population has increased by about 4,500 students since 1990, with 1,200 of those students added in the past two years.

Hedgesville Elementary is at capacity with 538 students, and a large housing development is being built around it, making adjustments necessary, Arvon said.

Arvon said one objective of boundary adjustments is to ensure students attend the schools closest to their homes to make bus rides shorter.

Arvon said he drove around Monday, measuring certain distances.

He said the ride from Ridgefield to Hedgesville Elementary is 3.8 miles, but it is 2.5 miles to Tuscarora Elementary.

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