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Elkridge School Construction Spurs Redistricting

New elementary, middle school construction in Elkridge part of impetus to redistrict nearly 3,000 students.

Elkridge School Construction Spurs Redistricting

Nearly 3,000 students in Howard County may have to shift schools in 2013, in part because of developments in the Elkridge area, according to a plan proposed at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting.

Each June, school planners present the Feasability Study, a document containing enrollment projections and recommendations for the next year.

For the second year in a row, school officials are recommending redistricting students. Last year's recommendation was to redistrict 1,157 students. This year's recommendation is to move 2,866 students.

"The primary goal of the proposed 2013 redistricting plan is to relieve the Northeastern Region with the new capacity at ES #41," according to the study.

ES #41 refers to the  on Ducketts Lane, which can hold 600 students.

The new elementary school is needed to accommodate current school overcrowding, which is perhaps most pronounced at , which was designed for 762 students and has 952 enrolled.

With the fall 2013 opening of the school on Ducketts Lane, shifting students is necessary to ensure seats are filled, according to school planners.

Other areas where capacities need adjustment are in Columbia, according to the study.

The plan recommends that the following schools, which are at or above 110 percent capacity, be realigned:

Elementary: , , , Talbott Springs, Veterans, Waterloo
Middle: Bonnie Branch, Ellicott Mills, Murray Hill

One board member was not pleased with the numbers.

“...I know firsthand what the proposed 3,000 students and their friends and families will experience with this proposed redistricting,” wrote Board of Education member Brian Meshkin on his blog. Meshkin said he witnessed "tears and sadness" as a result of the process, which he has gone through with three of his children.

Another board member also expressed concern. The Howard County Times reported that Frank Aquino, the school board's vice chair, said the number of students who would be impacted "made me cringe."

The redistricting committee will hold its first meeting on June 19 and will convene on Tuesdays throughout the summer. There will be hearings and presentations on the issue before the Board of Education approves a redistricting plan on Nov. 15. See the schedule of redistricting meetings.

For the 2012–2013 school year, the Board of Education voted last November to approve the redistricting of 1,289 students, mainly in the southeastern portion of the county, reported the Howard County Times.

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