Washington County school board to vote on one redistricting proposal

November 14, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Jodi D'Ambrosio heard Tuesday that her children could be moved from Greenbrier Elementary School to a new school opening south of Hagerstown.

The Washington County Board of Education is expected to vote in November whether the Black Rock neighborhood where she lives should be moved into the Rockland Woods Elementary School district. The board came to consensus Tuesday to vote on that change Nov. 20, which would send 56 Greenbrier students to Rockland Woods when school begins for the 2008-09 school year.

That is the year that the new elementary school off of Sharpsburg Pike is scheduled to open, along with two replacement elementary schools for Pangborn and Maugansville.

D'Ambrosio said she is upset by the idea that her third-grader will spend her fourth- and fifth-grade years at Rockland Woods and have to move to another school for middle school. She said that three schools in four years is too much change.


Ambrosio and several other parents who attended a Tuesday work session where redistricting was discussed said the meeting was largely a waste of time. The board again delayed making a decision on two of the more controversial redistricting proposals it is considering.

The board postponed voting on the changes that affect Boonsboro and Greenbrier in early October, and again later that month.

A committee began working on a redistricting plan 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 Rockland Woods Elementary School and replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools. All three schools are scheduled to open in 2008.

Board President Roxanne R. Ober said that the board did not reach consensus to vote on all three proposals because some additional information was needed. Some board members also were considering options.

Board Vice President Wayne D. Ridenour attempted Tuesday to end discussion on one of those options. Ridenour said he wanted the board to stop discussing a suggestion to move Boonsboro Elementary School's magnet program to Rockland Woods. That suggestion was made by Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner during a previous meeting, and it has drawn opposition from Boonsboro parents.

"It makes no sense at this time to pull that program and move it to Rockland," Ridenour said. "I'm not saying there shouldn't be a magnet program at Rockland Woods. I'm saying there should be one at Boonsboro."

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said she was not in favor of moving the magnet program from Boonsboro. Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction Michael Markoe and Board Member Ruth Anne Callaham said they also were against that move.

Wagner said that moving the magnet program from Boonsboro would help relieve overcrowding there and also assist in the redistricting effort. She said that a magnet program with a different focus could be put at Boonsboro.

Redistricting proposals still on the table

The three redistricting proposals that have not been approved by the Washington County Board of Education.

· Establish partial west/north/northeast boundary for Rockland Woods Elementary School by including all current Greenbrier/Boonsboro Middle/High areas east of the current Eastern Elementary School district line to Md. 66 and south to the intersection of Md. 66 and Interstate 70. This would move 56 Greenbrier students to Rockland Woods.

· Establish partial east boundary for Rockland Woods Elementary School starting at the intersection of Md. 66 and Interstate 70 moving south to the intersection of Md. 66 and U.S. 40, moving southwest to the intersection of Mill Point Road and Alternate U.S. 40. This would move 67 Greenbrier students to Rockland Woods.

· Establish partial south boundary for Rockland Woods Elementary School by including all areas of Boonsboro Elementary School north of Mill Point Road, west of Antietam Creek and north of Keedysville Road. This would move 23 Boonsboro students to Rockland Woods.

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