Su­per­in­ten­dent rec­om­mends re­dis­trict­ing Al­ter­na­tive A

Plan will re­lo­cate ap­prox­i­mately 2,221 stu­dents, af­fect all but six county ele­men­tary schools

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­

Charles County Su­per­in­ten­dent Kim­berly Hill is rec­om­mend­ing an ele­men­tary school re­dis­trict­ing plan that will re­lo­cate an es­ti­mated 2,221 stu­dents and im­pact all but six of the county’s 36 cur­rent ele­men­tary schools.

At the school board’s May 9 meet­ing, As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of Sup­port­ing Ser­vices Michael Heim said Hill was rec­om­mend­ing Al­ter­na­tive A, one of two plans put forth by a re­dis­trict­ing com­mit­tee es­tab­lished last year.

The re­dis­trict­ing com­mit­tee was tasked with cre­at­ing new ele­men­tary school at­ten­dance zones to ac­count for the new Billings­ley Ele­men­tary School in White Plains, which is sched­uled to open at the start of the 2018-19 school year. Its con­struc­tion is meant to ad­dress over­crowd­ing in neigh­bor­ing schools.

Cur­rently, all but seven ele­men­tary schools have stu­dent pop­u­la­tions above their State Rated Ca­pac­ity, Heim said. Un­der Al­ter­na­tive A, all but seven will be un­der their SRC.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Kathy Per­riello, prin­ci­pal at Henry E. Lackey High School, said ear­lier that the team that de­vel­oped Al­ter­na­tive A went beyond the maps and trav­eled the neigh­bor­hoods to be af­fected in their plan.

The school sys­tem held two pub­lic meet­ings last month for com­mu­nity mem­bers to share their thoughts on the plans. More than 50 peo­ple spoke, many ask­ing the school sys­tem to min­i­mize the im­pact on stu­dents.

“We re­ally did lis­ten to the com­ments that were pro­vided to us by the pub­lic dur­ing the two pub­lic hear­ings that have al­ready been held, and we tried to make our de­ci­sions based on what’s in the best in­ter­est of chil­dren, and also on the best in­ter­ests of the par­ents who came be­fore us,” Hill said.

A pub­lic hear­ing on the su­per­in­ten­dent’s pro­posed plan will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 22 at West­lake High School. The board is ex­pected to

vote on the plan at its June 13 meet­ing.

Com­ments can also be emailed to re­dis­trict@ or mailed to Charles County Pub­lic Schools, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646. The dead­line for com­ments is June 1.

Al­ter­na­tive A will re­lo­cate ap­prox­i­mately 400 fewer stu­dents than Al­ter­na­tive B, Heim said.

Al­ter­na­tive A would have the new Billings­ley Ele­men­tary School draw pri­mar­ily from neigh­bor­hoods cur­rently as­signed to Berry Ele­men­tary east of Mid­dle­town Road and Dr. James Craik east of Mid­dle­town Road and south of Billings­ley Road but also draw­ing from neigh­bor­hoods cur­rently as­signed to Arthur Mid­dle­ton and Wil­liam B. Wade ele­men­tary schools.

Heim said Al­ter­na­tive A cre­ates a smaller ge­o­graphic zone for Billings­ley, with lower trans­porta­tion costs.

Gale-Bai­ley, Dr. Thomas Hig­don, In­dian Head, Mal­colm, T.C. Martin and Mt. Hope/Nan­je­moy ele­men­tary schools’ at­ten­dance zones would not be af­fected un­der Al­ter­na­tive A, but all other ele­men­tary schools will be.

Un­der Al­ter­na­tive B, all but three of the county’s ele­men­tary schools would be im­pacted, Heim said.

“There were some glar­ing dif­fer­ences and con­cerns we saw look­ing at Plan A and B, and Dr. Hill felt that A was the bet­ter plan,” Heim said.

More in­for­ma­tion on the su­per­in­ten­dent’s pro­posed ele­men­tary school re­dis­trict­ing plan can be found on the school sys­tem’s web­site at www.­dis­trict­ing.

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