Fi­nal hear­ing on school bound­ary changes held

Board to vote on pro­posal at June 13 meet­ing

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

Nine­teen peo­ple shared their opin­ions on Charles County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Kim­berly Hill’s pro­posed re­dis­trict­ing plan dur­ing the third and fi­nal pub­lic hear­ing Mon­day night at West­lake High School.

Ap­prox­i­mately 80 peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing, and although 25 peo­ple signed up to speak, sev­eral did not come for­ward when their number was called.

The re­dis­trict­ing hear­ing comes as the school sys­tem grap­ples with bound­ary changes due to school over­crowd­ing and the con­struc­tion of a new school, Billings­ley Ele­men­tary, which is ex­pected to open in White Plains in the fall of 2018.

On May 9, Hill an­nounced her choice of two op­tions pre­sented by the school sys­tem’s Ele­men­tary School Re­dis­trict­ing Com­mit­tee: Op­tion A. Op­tion A will re­lo­cate an es­ti­mated 2,221 stu­dents and will im­pact all but six of the county’s ele­men­tary schools.

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion is ex­pected to vote on the su­per­in­ten­dent’s pro­posed plan at its June 13 meet­ing. The new bound­aries would go into ef­fect at the be­gin­ning of the

2018-19 school year.

Layla John­son, a first grader at Mary Mat­ula Ele­men­tary School, asked the board not to make her leave her school.

“I have a lot of friends at Mat­ula and I love my teach­ers. I do not want to move to a new school be­cause I work hard at Mat­ula and get good grades,” Layla said. “Please don’t make me leave my school.”

Sean McLeod of Wal­dorf said the cit­i­zens of Charles County are be­ing forced to pay the price for de­vel­op­ment in the county.

“[Washington] D.C. is push­ing ev­ery­one fur­ther south, and we’re the ones pay­ing the price, and the price is our chil­dren,” McLeod said. “We need to tell these builders that they need to bring more money back into the county and build bet­ter schools to serve the peo­ple who are al­ready here.”

Karen Bran­des of La Plata said stu­dents mov­ing to a new school for fifth grade will not have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in clubs and ac­tiv­i­ties as they would at their cur­rent schools.

“I un­der­stand that when a new school is built, some amount of re­dis­trict­ing needs to oc­cur, but mak­ing fifth graders move can be detri­men­tal to their ed­u­ca­tion and well-be­ing,” Bran­des said. “Aca­demic groups will have al­ready been formed, and they will not be able to be of­fi­cers in any of the clubs that they take part of, be­cause those po­si­tions will al­ready be filled, and even if they’re not, it’s un­likely a new kid will get to be in that po­si­tion.”

Tara John­son of La Plata said her son, who cur­rently at­tends Wal­ter J. Mitchell Ele­men­tary, would be forced to move to Mat­ula.

“When mov­ing in 2014, I chose to pur­chase my home in the es­tab­lished sub­di­vi­sion of El­len­wood, be­cause they have at­tended Wal­ter J. Mitchell for the last 40 years. I chose this house and this school sys­tem be­cause I wanted my chil­dren to at­tend the same ele­men­tary school I did,” Tara John­son said. “You’ve left us without a voice, without a choice and without hope.”

Janet John­son of Wal­dorf said the school sys­tem should put in some sort of waiver for stu­dents who will be en­ter­ing their fi­nal year of ele­men­tary school when the re­zon­ing goes into ef­fect.

“What you’re ask­ing of fu­ture 10-year-olds — to move two times in two years — in my eyes is unacceptable and ir­re­spon­si­ble of the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion,” Janet John­son said.

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

Although there will be no fur­ther pub­lic hear­ings, com­ments can still 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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.