Parents and administrators at Fort Meade-area elementary schools agree they have an overcrowding problem, but differ on what should be done.
The problem is how to best accommodate the area's growing student population. Half of the 10 schools serving the area are currentlyat capacity; the remaining five are expected to be near or over capacity within five years.
The Board of Education will consider one solution at a 9 a.m. meeting tomorrow: Reorganize the grade structure and build a new middle school for the area.
But therein lies the rub. A site has not beenfound for the proposed new middle school, and plans for constructionhave been delayed at least a year by fiscal restraints.
School Superintendent Larry L. Lorton has recommended moving ahead with the grade reorganization, hoping to alleviate some crowding while providingstudents with the "middle school experience" of housing grades six through eight together.
But parents of students in the crowded elementary schools are reluctant to send their children into a school housing more than twice the number of students as the old building.
Lorton's staff last month submitted a plan in which Brock Bridge, Harman, Jessup, Manor View, Maryland City, Meade Heights, Pershing Hill, Van Bokkelen and West Meade elementary schools would teach only kindergarten through fifth-grade classes. Sixth-grade students, beginning with the 1992-1993 school year, would attend MacArthur Middle.
About 100 parents of Meade-area students came to a board meeting last month to say they did not want to see their children "housed" at MacArthur Middle simply to give them the "middle school experience."
Originally, the superintendent's staff had recommended having two middleschools at MacArthur Middle -- with separate administrative staffs -- until the new Meade Middle was completed. However, recent budget cuts have eliminated that plan.
Lorton is recommending that the students be moved into MacArthur. The school would operate under one administration, but with additional staff.
Parents are recommending that students remain at their elementary schools in a kindergarten through sixth-grade program until a site and completion date for Meade Middle School has been determined.
* Also tomorrow, the board will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7:30 p.m. at the Riva Road headquarters.