Residents discuss school redistricting plans

May 30, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Michele Grove of Hagerstown said she likes the idea of her child attending a brand new school.

Her first-grader goes to Conococheague Elementary School, which she said suffers from water and sewer problems. But she doesn't want her child to be moved to a new school with only 15 other students from Conococheague.

Grove's home is included in a proposed redistricting plan that would send 16 students from that school to a new replacement school for Maugansville Elementary School opening in 2008.

More than 50 parents and community members attended a meeting Tuesday on that topic. Changes to boundaries around Paramount Elementary School also were discussed.


"I'd like them to go with a larger group," Grove said. "All of his friends will stay (at Conococheague)."

A redistricting effort of many Washington County Public Schools has been ongoing. Officials have said redistricting is necessary to relieve overcrowding in some schools and to fill a new Rockland Woods Elementary School opening in 2008. Replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools also will open that year.

In the proposed plan presented Tuesday, 201 students would move from Paramount to Maugansville. Including 36 students expected to be added to the school due to growth, the enrollment at Paramount in 2008 would be 376, officials said.

The proposal also includes moving 16 students from Conococheague to Maugansville, which would leave that school with 291 students.

School officials said that the need to provide immediate relief for enrollment stress at Paramount means that the closing of Conococheague should be delayed.

Cherie Phillips of Hagerstown said her daughter is a first-grader at Paramount and will be moved to Maugansville in 2008.

"I'm excited about a new school," she said.

Julie O'Connor of Hagerstown said she has two children at Paramount. Her oldest, who will be a fifth-grader when the new Maugansville school opens, would like to stay at that school for his last year of elementary school, O'Connor said.

Boyd Michael, assistant superintendent for school operations, said fifth-graders can apply to be "grandfathered in" and remain at their current school for their last year.

But O'Connor said that won't be practical with another student enrolled at Maugansville.

Committee members said they will meet again, and possibly hold another public meeting to discuss changes that have been made to the proposed boundaries.

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