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Boonsboro CAC voices fears of school crowding

April 21, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - According to Diane Clingan, the mother of a first-grader, Boonsboro Elementary School is a pair of pants bursting at the seams.

About 25 parents, including Clingan, addressed Washington County Public Schools officials Wednesday during a meeting at Boonsboro High School organized by the school's Citizens Advisory Committee.

Clingan, whose oldest child is in a class of 31 first-graders at the elementary school, and other parents told officials they are concerned about the impact of rapid growth on the school system. Parents, who represented Boonsboro and several other area elementary schools, also raised concerns about facilities and academics during the meeting, which lasted more than two hours.

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Parents said they want to see their children get the same opportunities as students of families moving into areas where new schools are planned.

School system Chief Operating Officer William Blum said he would support the adoption of a strict adequate public facilities ordinance to control development and provide resources for the schools.

According to projections by the Washington County Board of Education, the system's enrollment will grow by about 500 to 600 students a year between now and 2010.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said the system's request of the County Commissioners for about $28 million to build and replace school buildings represents an aggressive plan to address facility concerns long deferred.

County Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell suggested the system might not receive the full amount.

"Give or take $5 million," he said when Morgan talked about the $28 million request.

Boonsboro parent Kim Austin told Blum concerns about older buildings are as important as making sure new facilities look "pleasing to the eye," a description she recalled hearing at a meeting about new building plans.

When Blum responded by asking if anyone would want an ugly building, several parents replied, "We're sitting in one."

The board earlier this month approved a supplemental capital improvement request for funding for a slate of projects, including lighting upgrades at Boonsboro High School.

Michael Peplinski, supervisor of operations and maintenance, told parents the system has many pressing projects.

"If you look at all the schools and how they compare, I don't think Boonsboro has been slighted in any way. There are a lot of schools that need a lot of work ..." Peplinski said.

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