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Washington County Public Schools officials quizzed about redistricting plan

April 23, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Nicole Ingram of Hagerstown speaks to the Washington County Board of Education Tuesday during a public hearing about the proposed redistricting of Pangborn and Paramount elementary schools, which would affect two of her children.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

Focusing on issues such as adequate school staffing, two parents Tuesday evening raised issues regarding a plan to change attendance boundaries for Pangborn and Paramount elementary schools.

Pangborn’s enrollment in the fall of 2012 was 810 and the state-rated capacity for the school is 745. The school’s enrollment is expected to climb to 842 for the coming school year, school officials said.

To address the situation, the Washington County Board of Education is considering a proposal that could move 50 to 60 students from Pangborn to Paramount.

During a public hearing on the proposal at the board’s central office, Stephanie Wilkinson asked board members and Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox if there are plans to add more staff at Paramount, including adding an assistant principal’s position.

Wilkinson said she is a teacher in the county and has a child at Paramount.

Wilcox said school officials have limited their planning for the proposal because it is unclear how the board will vote on it. But Wilcox said school officials have started to assess possible needs such as reading remediation or gifted services for affected students.

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Nicole Ingram, who has two children at Pangborn, said she moved to the area recently.

Ingram said when she first started talking to school officials about her plan to move into Cortland Apartments — a residential area affected by the proposal — school officials told her that her children would go to Paramount.

Ingram said by the time she moved here, she was told her children would attend Pangborn.

Ingram asked school board members why her children are now being sent to Paramount.

Wilcox said it’s “fair to say” that the school district’s estimation of the number of kids that would be coming from Cortland Apartments was not accurate.

“We were way off on Cortland,” Board of Education member Wayne Ridenour said. “There’s some reasons for that we are aware of now that we weren’t aware of at the time.”

Ridenour said school attendance zones is an ongoing challenge for the board because Washington County’s student population is increasing.

Board member Donna Brightman said the attendance zone proposal is a serious issue and she expects there to be discussion among board members when the board considers it May 7.

The proposed redistricting would shift Cortland Villas’ residences, Cortland Manor’s 138 homes, and 11 of Cortland Apartments’ 36 apartment buildings from Pangborn to Paramount school districts. The Little Elliott Drive addresses for the potentially affected apartment buildings are 12915, 12916, 12920, 12923, 12927, 12931, 12935, 12939, 12940, 12943 and 12944.

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