LA PLATA, Md. (June 28, 2016)—Charles Co. Superintendent Kimberly Hill is temporarily reassigning new middle school students moving into high growth areas in the Milton M. Somers Middle School zone. Students moving into new homes in the St. Charles neighborhoods of Gleneagles South, Gleneagles North, Villages of Wooded Glen and Villages of Piney Reach after July 15 will attend Benjamin Stoddert Middle School rather than Somers.
The moratorium affects only students moving into newly constructed homes, and not already attending Somers. The moratorium is temporary and intended to limit growth at Somers, which is over capacity, until the school system conducts a comprehensive middle school redistricting. The redistricting will coincide with the completion of a renovation and expansion of Stoddert in 2020.
Earlier this school year, the Board of Education acknowledged the need for middle school renovations and expansions based on the growing student enrollment at some schools, most specifically Somers. The Board approved the fiscal year 2017 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) that includes the renovation and expansion of Stoddert. Renovation will modernize the school; expansion adds capacity. Construction at Stoddert is expected to begin in 2019, at which time a comprehensive middle school rezoning will begin. Renovations should be complete by August 2020.
Until that time, Hill said, Stoddert has the capacity to absorb new growth to relieve additional student enrollment pressures at Somers. The relief is estimated as a reduction of around 30 students per year at Somers and an addition of the same number of students at Stoddert.
Additionally, Hill has recommended a comprehensive elementary school redistricting along with the addition of Elementary School 22 and the renovation of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School. That redistricting process will start in fall 2016, to be phased in and to take effect with the completion of the construction projects.
Description of temporary assignments
The Superintendent plans to temporarily assign all new middle school students from Blocks 2711, 2641, 2643 and 2631, in the St. Charles development area, to Stoddert starting with the 2016-17 school year. The change does not affect students already living in homes or who had secured a use and occupancy permit prior to July 15, 2016. All students moving into homes in blocks 2711, 2641, 2643 and 2631 that do not have a use and occupancy permit by July 15, 2016, will attend Stoddert rather than Somers.
• does not reassign to Stoddert any Charles County elementary school student currently living in a house zoned for Somers;
• keeps bus transportation of students in the designated moratorium areas to a minimum without incurring additional transportation costs;
• allows students moving into an occupied or resale home in the affected blocks to attend school at Somers; and
• initiates a moratorium in blocks where development is planned, but where no residents and students reside. The moratorium only impacts future growth and future homes.
Blocks include the plan are in the St. Charles neighborhoods of Gleneagles South, Gleneagles North, Villages of Wooded Glen and Villages of Piney Reach.