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Meetings planned on school redistricting

July 07, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A draft of attendance boundary changes for Washington County Public Schools is almost complete, and a committee that is drafting those changes is planning several public information sessions as soon as September.

No dates have been set, but the committee, which is considering redistricting changes countywide, is expected to discuss some possibilities during its meeting later this month.

Adam Lewis, co-chairman of the committee, said the group's work is about 75 percent complete. The committee met Tuesday to discuss possible redistricting changes for schools in and around Hagerstown.

The possible changes discussed Tuesday would move about 600 students to Eastern Elementary and a new Eastern Primary School opening in 2011. Many of those students would come from schools in downtown Hagerstown.

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Deputy Superintendent Boyd Michael said many of the redistricting changes being considered by the committee could only occur in the fall of 2011, when the 625-seat primary school is to open. However, there are other changes that could be made as soon as the 2010-11 school year if they are approved by the Washington County Board of Education.

Washington County Public Schools staff makes recommendations to the committee, which votes on which proposals to take to the school board for a final decision.

On Tuesday, the committee preliminarily agreed to move forward on proposals moving 64 students from Conococheague and Winter Street elementary schools to Lincolnshire Elementary. It also agreed to a proposal moving about 120 students from Maugansville Elementary to Paramount Elementary. Those students were among 200 who moved from Paramount Elementary School to Maugansville Elementary School during a redistricting effort in 2008.

The committee also agreed to a proposal moving 49 students from Paramount Elementary School to Pangborn Elementary School.

Committee member Bert Iseminger said that as the group begins planning public information sessions, members should consider the best ways to allow public comment.

Iseminger suggested a public hearing-style gathering that would restrict the public to three minutes of oral comments, but allow them to submit additional comments in writing.

He said the public sessions would allow the public to "vent" and urged the committee to schedule public information sessions soon, saying they cannot keep "these guys from being able to talk to real people too much longer."

"Under no circumstances do you debate these people," Iseminger told his colleagues. "Just listen."




If you go



What: Committee meeting to discuss redistricting changes for Washington County Public Schools

When: July 21, 6 p.m.

Where: Washington County Public Schools Central Office, 820 Commonwealth Ave., Hagerstown

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