Last week's snow and the rain that followed could mean that the new Runnymede Elementary School won't be ready by Sept. 7, school officials said last night at a special Board of Education meeting to decide the boundaries for Runnymede.
Since the redistricting plan was announced in January, most questions from parents have focused on whether the school will be ready on time, rather than on neighborhoods affected, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.
"It looks as though there's a possibility for it not to be ready," Mr. Smith said. "I am not as optimistic as I was in January that we will be able to occupy the building by the first day of school."
Just in case, he said, Runnymede Principal Barbara Walker and other school administrators will develop a contingency plan.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to send to Runnymede all children who attend Uniontown Elementary School, which will close. Also, about one-third of the children who attend Taneytown Elementary School will attend Runnymede. Boundary lines will be Route 140, Route 194 and Trevanion Road.
Originally, school officials thought the most controversial aspect the plan was that 140 students in the city limits, who now walk to crowded Taneytown Elementary, will ride a bus to Runnymede next year. Those children could be transferred back to Taneytown Elementary in a few years after that school is renovated and expanded.
Few parents voiced objections to that decision, however.
At one of the public meetings on redistricting, a parent appealled for smooth transitions for those children.
Superintendent R. Edward Shilling has said he believes Mr. Smith's candor about the possibility that some children will have to change schools twice was what averted any hostility from parents.
Similarly, Mr. Smith had to bear the bad news last night about delays at Runnymede.
He said the contractor reported in January that at least 1classrooms and essential areas such as the cafeteria, office and gymnasium would be ready by Aug. 15.
"That was in January -- before the blizzard," Mr. Smith said"Things have come to a standstill with construction."