A funny thing happened when Carroll administrators unveiled redistricting plans for the new Piney Ridge Elementary School to parents in the southeastern part of the county.
There was little or no opposition among the more than 100 parents who attended each of the meetings-- one last night at Eldersburg Elementary and one Monday night at Carrolltowne Elementary.
There were concerns, mostly about transportation. But the emotional exchange that erupted over redistricting plans for Spring Garden Elementary in Hampstead earlier this year didn't occur.
Lisa Waysack, whose daughter attends second grade at Eldersburg Elementary, saidshe had no concerns about the transfer to Piney Ridge, which is only 1/4 mile from their Sykesville home.
"The teachers here are remarkable," Waysack said. "I think I'm going to miss
that, but I hopethat isn't the case."
Why were parents so calm about Piney Ridge redistricting?
"I have asked myself that question, too," said Kathleen E. Sanner, assistant in school facilities planning. "All the comments brought forth were positive or constructive. People were looking for information or trying to address specific concerns. There was very little animosity."
Redistricting is an issue that school officials recognize can generate high emotion. Even so, the concerns of Eldersburg parents ranged from the heavy volume of traffic near Piney Ridge on Freedom Road to child care.
James L. Doolan, Carroll's supervisor of transportation, noted that school officials are working with state and county highway officials to post school signs and reducespeed limits near Piney Ridge.
Some parents wanted to know whether the school system would transport pupils to or from day care centers in surrounding areas to Piney Ridge.
"Our recommendation would be not to because of all the implications for transportation," said Sanner, noting school officials do not generally transport students outside their school boundaries.
School officials attributed the lackof animosity to the fact that none of the three redistricting options would transfer students from one existing school to another.
"The close geographical location of the schools allowed us to only redistrict students to Piney Ridge," said Vernon F. Smith Jr., director ofschool support services.
The redistricting plans will affect students at Carrolltowne, Eldersburg and Freedom Elementary schools. Redrawing boundary lines, school officials said, is necessary to alleviate overcrowding and balance enrollment at the four schools.
Eldersburg Elementary parents did indicate which plan they preferred. Generally, Carrolltowne parents supported Option A, which would use the Route 32 corridor, the Freedom Avenue connector, the township limits of Sykesville and the Gaither Road area to create an attendance area forPiney Ridge.
Under that plan, Piney Ridge would open in Septemberwith an enrollment of about 500 students and a capacity of 600. School officials want to allow room for some growth because the school site has limited space for portables.
Wanda Semies, a Carrolltowne Elementary parent, asked educators to keep in mind school activities, such as faculty games and farewell assemblies, as they begin new traditions at the school.
The other plans would expand the aforementioned attendance area. Option B would include Obrecht Road east of Route 97 and White Rock Road south of Martz Road. Option C would include all of White Rock and Streaker roads east of Patrick Drive.