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Decision on proposal to move Boonsboro-area students to new school expected today

February 21, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Education is expected to decide today whether 160 Boonsboro Elementary School students will be moved to a school being built south of Hagerstown.

Parents have said the school is too far from their homes. Boonsboro and Keedysville families have described the new Rockland Woods Elementary School as a "Hagerstown school." Keedysville Mayor Matthew Hull has said moving all of the town's elementary school children to the new school will break up the community.

The school board decided last week to move forward with the proposal that affects students to the west and northwest of Boonsboro, including Keedysville. The board could vote to make those changes effective in August during tonight's public business meeting.

A committee began working on a redistricting plan for many county schools about a year ago, and proposals were presented to the school board in July. Officials have said redistricting is necessary to relieve crowding at many of the county's elementary schools, and to fill the new Rockland Woods and two replacement schools for Maugansville and Pangborn elementary schools.

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In November, three proposals to move 23 children from Boonsboro and 123 students from Greenbrier Elementary were dismissed, and the committee was asked to draft a redistricting plan, but only to relieve crowding at Boonsboro.

Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael has said that Rockland Woods does not have to be filled. If the school opened with its existing boundaries, about 470 students would attend the school, which is designed to hold about 750, he said.

Cynthia Myers, who lives in the Cannon Ridge development in Keedysville, said the school should be filled with children from the Westfields housing development and the surrounding community. She and her husband, Stephen, have two children in Boonsboro Elementary, and a 4-year-old she hopes to enroll there.

Myers said officials should give more thought to the plan to move her family and others who live more than 12 miles from Rockland Woods, which is about a 20-minute drive. She said a trip to Boonsboro Elementary takes her no more than a few minutes.

When Keedysville resident Lorraine O'Connor went to register her twins for kindergarten, she found out they might not be attending Boonsboro Elementary.

O'Connor lives in Cannon Ridge. She said she wants her family to remain part of the Boonsboro community. She recommended that the board make planned additions to schools in the Boonsboro complex or build a new elementary school in Southern Washington County.

"This area is going to continue growing," O'Connor said.

She said she started a petition, which Hull presented to the Board of Education, and gathered more than 500 signatures. It asks that Keedysville children not be moved to Rockland Woods.

"We are part of Boonsboro," O'Connor said. "And that's where we want to say."




If you go ...



What: Washington County Board of Education business meeting where a vote on a redistricting proposal could take place

When: Today, 6 p.m.

Where: Washington County Public Schools central office, 820 Commonwealth Ave., Hagerstown

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