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Boonsboro parents want magnet school to stay

October 16, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO ? Several Boonsboro Elementary School parents spoke out Tuesday against a suggestion that the school's magnet program be moved to a new school under construction.

The suggestion was made by Board of Education Member Bernadette M. Wagner as an incentive for parents to voluntarily move their children to Rockland Woods Elementary instead of forcing them to attend the school through redistricting.

"Most of the families at Boonsboro will be staying at Boonsboro if the magnet program is taken away," said Jen Poffenberger, the school's PTA president.

Poffenberger, who said her son participates in the school's world languages magnet program, said that if the board's intention was to create space at Boonsboro, it was not going to happen by moving the program.

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Some board members have said that parents would no longer be opposed to a proposal that their children be moved to the new school scheduled to open in 2008.

"I think that's where my idea to move Boonsboro's program ... not only would it take out the 18 students currently there in the magnet that are going to Boonsboro out of district, but it might attract one-third of the students there who might be willing to go to Rockland Woods," Wagner said.

Board members said Tuesday they would continue to look into the possibility of a magnet program or some other specialized program at Rockland Woods.

Board Member William H. Staley has suggested putting an arts enrichment program there.

"We do not want the magnet program to move," said Jenny Sarnecki, whose children have benefited from the magnet program. "If it does, we will remain in Boonsboro. There has to be another way to address the overcrowding in Boonsboro."

She said that the school has benefited from many advantages that come with the magnet program, like new technology.

Heidi Welsh said her two children enjoy the magnet program at Boonsboro.

She presented a petition to the board Tuesday signed by about 80 parents to keep the magnet program at Boonsboro Elementary. About two-thirds of the parents who signed that petition said their children would not follow the magnet program if it were moved to Rockland Woods.

She said that moving the program from Boonsboro would create an inequity for South County residents.

Welsh said she expected to get more signatures later that evening, which would be shared with the board.

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