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School year gets off to a start with 3.79 percent jump in enrollment


A little more of everything marks the 1992-1993 school year in Carroll County.

More students, more schools, more teachers, more programs and more redistricting.

Students go back to class Tuesday, Sept. 8. Later in the fall, parents of children at Taneytown, Uniontown, Mount Airy and Winfield elementary schools will attend meetings on redistricting their children, as new schools and expansions are completed for the fall of 1993.

Officials expect enrollment to be at 23,311 this year, which would be 852 more than last year -- a 3.79 percent increase, said Kathleen Sanner, a facilities planner.

Ms. Sanner said Carroll schools' 3.79 percent growth rate is typical of the past few years. The growth is due partly to steady migration of new residents into the county, compounded by a jump in the birth rate here five years ago.

The office keeps track of births in the county so that it has a five-year warning on how many kindergartners to expect.

More kindergartners

Ms. Sanner said the numbers indicate Carroll schools will continue to get more kindergartners for the next three years, after which the rate will level off.

"We baby-boomers are getting older and we're not having kids anymore," Ms. Sanner said.

But the increase of elementary students will have a domino effect on middle and high schools in the coming years, she said.

Already, that "bubble" is hitting middle schools, said Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary education.

Enrollment in high schools is only 109 more students than last year, but middle schools have 388 more and elementary schools have 355 more than last year.

"Now, the bubble is coming through," he said.

Combined, the new students are like adding a whole new school to the system, which actually is the case.

Friendship Valley Elementary School, on Gist Road in Westminster, opens this fall as the county's 19th elementary school.

Another school, Runnymede Elementary, is under construction outside Taneytown and could be completed as early as next fall, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services for the county.

Also within the next few years, construction will start on a new middle school in South Carroll on Oklahoma Road.

Runnymede, when completed, will take students from Taneytown and Uniontown elementary schools, Mr. Smith said.

Redistricting plans

Later this fall, the school system will begin plans for redistricting those children, he said.

The system will also change the district lines for Winfield and Mount Airy elementary schools, sending more of the Mount Airy children to Winfield in the fall of 1993, when Winfield's expansion is done, Mr. Smith said.

At Sandymount Elementary School, renovations are nearing completion but the school won't be ready until after fall classes begin.

While the entire school was being rebuilt, Sandymount students attended school in portable classrooms on Center Street in Westminster.

When Sandymount is completed sometime this fall, students and teachers will move into their new school and out of the portables, which will then be used by Mechanicsville Elementary School students and staff. Mechanicsville will move over the winter break, while the school begins renovation and expansion.

Construction of a new wing at Winfield Elementary School has continued while students have been attending classes in the old sections, although they had to eat in their rooms while the cafeteria was being renovated last year.

This fall, eight new classrooms in the school will be ready for students and teachers, while workers complete the rest of that wing.

The 1960 section of the school that holds the cafeteria, offices and some classrooms has just been renovated. The 1949 section of the school was demolished this summer, and the 1936 section will be demolished later this year.

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