St. Mary's Board of Education Schedules Redistricting Hearing for Jan. 16

118 students could be moved from Leonardtown Middle School to Margaret Brent Middle School

LEONARDTOWN, Md. - A hearing has been scheduled for January 16 to obtain public comment on the redistricting proposals that will be submitted to the St. Mary's County Board of Education during their January 10 meeting.

In accordance with St. Mary's County Public Schools Policy, the Superintendent of Schools annually evaluates the need for school boundary realignment. The actual task is delegated to the School Boundaries Advisory Committee. The committee is co-chaired by J. Bradley Clements, Chief Operating Officer and Lori Werrell, St. Mary’s County Council of PTA’s. Members of the Development Team include: Kimberly Howe, Supervisor of Capital Planning; Reed Walker, Supervisor of Transportation; Kathleen Lyon, Executive Director of Student Services; Kelly Hall, Director of Elementary Instruction, Administration & School Improvement; and Scott Smith, Director of Secondary Instruction, Administration & School Improvement.

The redistricting proposals to be presented to the board on Jan. 10 are not scheduled to be released to the public until Jan. 11. However, the following proposals were outlined in the Committee's meeting that was held on Nov. 15, 2006:

1) The first plan redistricts two students from Mechanicsville Elementary School to White Marsh Elementary School. This addresses a commercial area where there were formerly no students.

2) The second plan is a text and map clarification that redistricts six students to Greenview Knolls Elementary School based on new development since the last redistricting.

3) The second and third plans are text clarifications to elementary and middle schools that address a new road that did not exist at the time the districts were established. There are currently no students residing in the area.

4) The fifth redistricting plan addresses the potential shift of students along the northern boundary of Leonardtown Middle School to Margaret Brent Middle School. The recommended option would move 118 students from the seventh and fourth election districts from Leonardtown Middle School to Margaret Brent Middle School. It was noted that 13 students from this area are already at the school based on transfer request. Other options discussed included moving students in the Queentree and Sandgates areas. The discussions on this plan included an analysis of the bus transportation as well. There is not a significant difference in either distance or time if this plan were implemented.

Officials have stated that the official proposals will be available on the Advisory Committee's website at on Jan. 11.

The public hearing is scheduled to take place on January 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education Meeting Room of the Central Administration Office at 23160 Moakley Street, Leonardtown, MD.

A sign-up sheet will be available at 6:00 p.m. Individual public comment will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be limited to three minutes. Speakers are encouraged to provide comments in writing, even if presented at the forum, to allow the Board to give full consideration to all input.

The final plans are scheduled to be presented to the Board of Education for approval on Feb. 14. In March, the school system will distribute to parents the final school assignment for students affected by the new boundary plans.

For more details, please call Mrs. Kimberly Howe, supervisor of capital planning, at (301) 475-4256, extension 6.

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