The future of East Middle School, the importance of special programs, the possibility of redistricting and school closures, and the importance of looking at full implications of any decision remain key focuses for the Redistricting and School Closure Committee.

RSCC met Thursday for the first time in a full meeting since April to share work the two subcommittees did over the past month. The subcommittees focused on educational models and grade configuration, and school boundaries and closures.


The educational models committee primarily focused on special programs like the Learning for Independence, autism, PRIDE and BEST programs.

“Our task really centered on looking at existing programs so that as we continue conversations … we have a clearer understanding of what needs to be considered in terms of facility and in terms of special programs and also the grade configuration,” said Margaret Pfaff, the Carroll County Public Schools director of curriculum and instructional resources.

In terms of grade reconfiguration, Pfaff said there is a lot of research out there. Most everything they saw pushed in the same direction, she said, that said some different grade configurations have merit. But, she said, many also summarized there are too many variables to say which is better.

“Grade reconfiguration can certainly be a consideration if necessary,” Pfaff said the subcommittee decided.

Keeping communities together focus of second redistricting, school closure committee listening session

For those in attendance at the Thursday meeting, keeping communities together, considering economic development and birth trends and concerns over potential overcrowding if schools are closed were key issues.

Rosemary Kitzinger, a parent of a Runnymede Elementary School student who was nominated by the Special Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee, spoke about the special programs, and said the subcommittee toured the schools with these programs during the last month.

If there are discussions around school closures and committees, she said, one thing that needs to be considered is keeping small class sizes for these programs.

And, she said, making sure these programs have adequate space. In many of the schools, she said, these programs already have to be creative on space.

“Every program across the board had the need for more space,” she said.

The second subcommittee spent the month looking at different possible scenarios with facilities.

Mike Hardesty, the director of CCPS Transportation Services, said the subcommittee met four times, and focused on two parameters from the school board — adhering to guidelines for facility utilization and rejecting the consideration of school closure of any school that’s a community hub.

Hardesty said in looking at whether a school is a community hub, they looked at seeing if schools had another school within a 5-mile radius, which all of the elementary schools did. If need be, he said, the subcommittee found it would likely be possible to close an elementary school or two, but it would not be possible to close a middle school and they were inconclusive whether a high school could be closed.

Hardesty said the subcommittee also looked at three grade configuration options — bringing sixth grade back to elementary schools, pushing eight grade into high schools or doing something like a kindergarten through eighth grade facility.

Anita Stubenrauch, a transportation analyst for the school system, talked about possible options and their implications. She said if CCPS closed William Winchester Elementary and used it as part of a middle school, those elementary school kids would have to be pushed out to other schools like Cranberry Station Elementary, which isn’t a good option.

If CCPS wanted to use Winters Mill High School as a middle school, there would be a lot of redistricting and moving kids from the municipality of Westminster into outlying schools like Francis Scott Key.


Despite discussions, RSCC acknowledged the problems of just looking at straight numbers and trying to move kids around.

“Those are just numbers on a piece of paper,” said William Caine, facility planner for CCPS.

It may look like there are open seats in schools, but if someone were to actually go in the school, there isn’t open space, he said.

RSCC paid facilitator David Lever said future meetings throughout the summer will be used to try to start working through the range of possible recommendations before a final set is due to the Board of Education in the fall.

RSCC will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28, in the board room in central office.