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Committee's first meeting on southwest Baltimore County school boundaries is Sept. 16

Construction of a new Westowne Elementary in Catonsville, as well as new buildings planned for Catonsville Elementary and Relay Elementary, means new boundary lines will be drawn for the new, larger schools in the southwest area.
Construction of a new Westowne Elementary in Catonsville, as well as new buildings planned for Catonsville Elementary and Relay Elementary, means new boundary lines will be drawn for the new, larger schools in the southwest area.(Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The first meeting of the southwest area boundary change committee will take place Sept. 16 in the Catonsville High School cafeteria.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 7:30 p.m.

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It is the first in a series of six meetings that will be held this fall and winter at the high school to address overcrowding at many schools in the area.

Of the six elementary schools in the Arbutus and Lansdowne area, all are over state capacity, with enrollment at four the schools exceeding that mark by more than 130 students, according to Baltimore County Public Schools records.

Five of the area's elementary schools have trailers on campus being used as classrooms.

Six of the seven elementary schools in the Catonsville area are over state capacity, with the enrollment of three exceeding that mark by at least 100 students, according to county schools data.

Only Woodbridge Elementary and Edmondson Heights Elementary do not require some students to attend class in mobile trailers.

The initial redistricting meeting is expected to include the introduction of committee members. Each of the 11 elementary schools in the southwest area affected by the construction of three new school buildings in the area will be represented by a teacher, parent and community member, as well as the school's principal.

New buildings are planned for Catonsville Elementary School, Westowne Elementary School and Relay Elementary School and a 200-seat addition to Westchester Elementary School.

Committee members will be given guidelines for the boundary change process, criteria for decision-making and background analysis from the school system, including population and demographic information about the communities affected, in order to help them make a decision on where to draw new boundaries for each of the schools.

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The meeting will be closed to public comment, but the community is invited to attend and observe, according to a release from Baltimore County Public Schools.

The second meeting will be held Sept. 30. There are two meetings scheduled for October and November as well as one in December.

The committee will present its recommendations for new boundaries for the schools at the Feb. 2, 2016 meeting of the school board.

The board will then have until March 1 to announce its final decision on boundary changes.

By Heather Norris

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