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Petition started to keep West End children in current schools

Billy Williams, president of Neighborhoods First, said he recently received redistricting notice

March 17, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

A leader of a neighborhood group this week told the county school board that it has started a petition drive to ask the school system not to send students from the West End to Eastern Elementary and Ruth Ann Monroe Primary schools in the next school year.

Billy Williams, president of Neighborhoods First in Hagerstown's West End, said Wednesday that he recently received a notice in the mail informing him that as a result of redistricting, his children were being moved from Winter Street Elementary to Eastern Elementary and Monroe Primary east of Hagerstown.

Williams said after a Washington County Board of Education meeting Tuesday that he heard something about redistricting last September or October, but was not aware it had been approved.

On Jan. 19, 2010, the school board approved redistricting 100 students from Winter Street Elementary and 26 students from Salem Avenue Elementary to the Eastern complex starting with the 2011-12 school year.

The Eastern complex consists of Eastern Elementary and the new Monroe Primary, which is scheduled to open next school year.

Williams said there are three elementary schools closer than Eastern.

Other than Salem Avenue and Winter Street, Fountaindale Elementary is nearby. The board approved redistricting 77 Fountaindale students to the Eastern complex next school year as well.

The board also approved moving 50 fifth-graders from Salem Avenue Elementary to Winter Street Elementary starting in the next school year. Winter Street has not had a fifth grade for several years.

Williams said about 1,700 people have signed the petition, which has not yet been presented to the school system.

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