Board agrees on majority of plans for redistricting

October 03, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Washington County Public Schools is one step closer to having a redistricting plan that will affect nearly half of the county's schools.

The Board of Education reached consensus Tuesday on all but three of the 20 proposed attendance zone changes. Board members said they expect to be ready to vote on whether to make those proposals permanent during an Oct. 16 meeting.

Board members postponed reaching a consensus on several of the more criticized redistricting proposals. They included moving more than 100 Greenbrier Elementary School students to Rockland Woods to ease overcrowding at that school, and moving 23 students from Boonsboro Elementary School to Rockland Woods.

Board Vice President Wayne D. Ridenour said the board postponed reaching consensus on those changes in order to get more information.


The board hopes to reach consensus on those remaining issues during a meeting next week.

A committee began working on redistricting for many county schools earlier this year, and proposals were presented to the board in July.

Officials have said redistricting is necessary to relieve overcrowding at many of the county's elementary schools and also to fill a new Rockland Woods Elementary School and replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools. All three schools are scheduled to open in 2008.

"We're trying to disrupt as few students as possible," said Boyd Michael, assistant superintendent for school operations.

Among the changes the board could vote on this month is a proposal to move 201 students from Paramount Elementary School to Maugansville Elementary School to relieve overcrowding at Paramount. The board also could vote to delay the closing of Conococheague Elementary School and to enroll only prekindergarten and kindergarten students at Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education. Students now attend the school through second grade before moving to Emma K. Doub for third through fifth grades.

If the change is approved, Emma K. Doub will remain Funkstown's partner school, officials said.

Board member Donna Brightman said she was concerned about possibly splitting up the Greenbrier community.

"I just have a real problem splitting this community up," she said. "It's just something I'm having a hard time justifying. When we talk about Bester being a close-knit community, I would say Greenbrier is just as close-knit a community. These are community-based schools."

Michael said that if the more than 100 students are not moved from Greenbrier during the redistricting effort, it could be years before any relief is available for the overcrowded school.

Know more in 30 seconds

The issue: Redistricting is possible at many Washington County Public Schools as officials act to relieve overcrowding and fill new schools scheduled to open in 2008.

What's new: The Washington County Board of Education reached consensus Tuesday on all but three of the 20 proposed attendance zone changes.

What's next: The board will discuss the proposed changes they did not reach consensus on during an Oct. 9 meeting. The board is scheduled to vote on the redistricting plan Oct. 16.

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