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School Board hears presentation on redistricting

July 19, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

A redistricting plan for Washington County Public Schools is finished, and a series of work sessions and public hearings on the topic soon will begin.

The Board of Education heard a presentation Thursday from the committee that drafted attendance zone changes that affect most county schools. The facilities and enrollment advisory committee has worked since late last year to draft the proposal it gave to the board.

A work session has been scheduled for Aug. 7 to discuss the redistricting plan, which will be followed by several public hearings, board Vice President Wayne D. Ridenour said. A timeline for those meetings and other information will be determined at the work session.

Redistricting is necessary to ease overcrowding at many of the county's schools, officials have said, most notably Paramount Elementary School, which could lose 201 students to Maugansville Elementary School, according to the committee's recommendation.

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The redistricting proposal also includes plans to fill a new Rockland Woods Elementary School that is opening in 2008 in the Westfields housing development, and larger replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools scheduled to open that same year.

The committee held four public forums since April to gather feedback from families affected by the redistricting plan.

"We attempted at all times to welcome the public," committee co-chairwoman Leslie LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc called the group's decision-making a "transparent" process.

The proposal includes new attendance zones for Rockland Woods and Maugansville elementary schools, leaving Pangborn Elementary School with its current boundaries.

Officials expected that 158 of Funkstown's 290 students will be reassigned to Rockland Woods. Emma K. Doub (150 of 311 students), Fountain Rock (120 of 368), Boonsboro (23 of 580) and Greenbrier (87 of 340) elementary schools would send students to Rockland Woods, which will have a capacity of 745 students, according to previously released data.

In addition to the 201 students moving from Paramount to Maugansville in the proposed redistricting plan, an additional 16 students would move to Maugansville from Conococheague Elementary School.

Adjustments to other school attendance zones also were proposed.

The committee was thanked by Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and several members of the Board of Education.

Board member Donna Brightman, who served on the committee until her appointment to the board, suggested continuing to use the group's public hearing structure for the upcoming public forums on redistricting.

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