More boundary options proposed for new Timonium elementary

A committee charged with drawing up boundaries for the new elementary school in Mays Chapel and relieving overcrowding at the surrounding central-area Baltimore County schools continued its work Wednesday night, when the consultant presented a new set of boundary options drafts based on feedback from the first set.

Several proposed boundary changes included in all three previous proposals were changed in the second set, most notably in the Towson area. Previous drafts saw West Towson Elementary students east of York Road moved to Hampton Elementary, and Riderwood Elementary students north of Seminary Avenue sent to the new school.

"That is one community that had expressed some concern," Matt Cropper, of the consultant Cropper GIS, who is leading the redistricting meetings, said during the meeting held at Cockeysville Middle School. Because adding a neighborhood boundary to Cromwell Valley Elementary would likely affect elementaries such as West Towson, Hampton and Riderwood, "the district feels we should minimize the impact on these schools," Cropper said.

West Towson, Riderwood and Hampton's boundaries were all restored to their current zones in the new drafts of boundary options.

Cropper detailed several other community concerns he and the committee had received, including concerns about walkability at Padonia International Elementary. Cropper said Principal Melissa DiDonato, who is on the committee, heard from community members that they'd like as many students within walking distance to remain at the school.

As a result, Cropper said some students who were moved in other scenarios will stay at Padonia International in the newest set of draft options. He said that puts the school "a little bit over" capacity, but that a new gym would add classroom capacity in the near future.

Cropper said he also heard from parents north of Shawan Road who wanted their children to go to Sparks Elementary, a request reflected in one of the three newest options. Some parents in that area were worried about a long bus ride, but Cropper said the ride to the new school in Mays Chapel, Pinewood Elementary or Sparks Elementary would be shorter than their current ride to Pot Spring Elementary.

Cropper could not, however, say how the upcoming magnet audit would affect Lutherville Laboratory Elementary's enrollment.

After addressing the concerns expressed at the previous meeting, Cropper went into describing the three newest options.

(For a full list of impacted students from each school, see the accompanying list.)

He also provided information on diversity, the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches, and the number of students from each school who would be affected.

With those in mind, he gave the committee members a scoring rubric and asked them to grade options four through six on six criteria: building utilization, geography, transportation efficiency, student impacts, demographics and socioeconomics.

The three scenarioss from the first meeting were not included for ranking because they all include changes in the Towson area, although Cropper said elements from those three would be brought back in even new options at the fourth committee meeting Wednesday, Nov. 20.

At the next meeting on Nov. 20 — the fourth and final committee meeting before a larger community meeting takes place in December — Cropper said his goal was to have several new options, then review them to whittle them down to a final group of between two and four final options to present to the community.

The public meeting is scheduled for Dec. 11 at Dulaney High.

All of the materials from the first three meetings, including enrollment data for each option and an interactive mapping tool, are available at Feedback can also be submitted by non-committee members using that page.

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