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Final Washington County school redistricting proposals shelved

November 21, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Three proposals that would have moved students from Boonsboro and Greenbrier elementary schools to a new school opening next year no longer are being considered, at least for the moment.

Washington County Board of Education members did not vote Tuesday to approve those changes, which were the most controversial of the 20 original redistricting proposals being considered.

Board President Roxanne R. Ober said that those schools could be affected by additional recommendations the board asked school system staff and a committee to prepare. Seventeen proposals were approved earlier this year, affecting 17 schools.

"I don't see these specific things coming up again with this board," Board Member Ruth Anne Callaham said.

She was referring to the three proposals that were not approved Tuesday. Those changes would have moved 123 Greenbrier students and 23 Boonsboro students to Rockland Woods.

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"Remember, there is a child behind every number," said David Manganaro, who lives in the Black Rock community.

He was one of several parents of Greenbrier Elementary students who spoke out Tuesday against the plan to move students from that area to Rockland Woods.

The board did vote to have staff and a committee revisit redistricting and look for ways to relieve overcrowding at Boonsboro Elementary School.

That vote was 6-1, with Ober opposed.

"I wanted it to be on a broader scale," she said, adding that there is overcrowding at many of the county's schools.

Board Vice President Wayne D. Ridenour said he expects new proposals and discussion on this topic by January.

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 and replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools. All three schools are scheduled to open in 2008.

If no other redistricting changes are made, Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael said Rockland Woods will open with about 500 students and about 245 empty seats.

He said that the board could take no more action at this time on redistricting and revisit the topic again in about one year.

"(I'd like to) come back next September with new numbers, new data and see where we are," Michael said.

The board last week postponed 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.

Dr. Rebecca Bye said she and other parents were cautiously optimistic and said that some board members and staff seemed reluctant to consider alternative solutions.

She suggested that elementary school students in the Black Rock neighborhood go to Smithsburg Elementary, or allow them to stay at Greenbrier.

"There is a concern about whether there is actual overcrowding at Greenbrier," Bye said.




Redistricting proposals not approved



· Establish partial west/north/northeast boundary for Rockland Woods Elementary by including all current Greenbrier Elementary and Boonsboro Middle/High areas east of the current Eastern Elementary 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 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 Elementary students to Rockland Woods.

· Establish partial south boundary for Rockland Woods Elementary by including all areas of Boonsboro Elementary 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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