Parents of South Shore Elementary School students threw a victory luncheon yesterday to celebrate the news that 273 children from their community won't have to switch schools this fall.
"We were relentless, but we played the game right," said Karen Liston.
"The school board members heard us."
Wednesday, the board nearly halved the number of children it plans to send to new schools beginning next fall, and South Shore's students were among those allowed to stay in their old schools.
Mrs. Liston, Tina Caplan, Janice Roderick and Ruth Edmonds led the community's fight to keep its children in the schools that feed into Old Mill High.
"We were worried our lunch was premature, though, because there's still a public hearing Monday night," Mrs. Liston said. "And the board won't make its final vote until the 19th."
The board's original plan would have moved about 2,900 students, but 10 amendments passed Wednesday reduced the number of students who will attend new schools to 1,640.
A hearing to discuss the changes to the original proposal has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the school system's headquarters on Riva Road in Annapolis.
The board made five other significant changes in its original redistricting plan:
* About 10 students along St. Stephens Church Road who would have moved to South Shore Elementary will continue to attend Millersville Elementary.
* About 740 students from George Fox Middle School will remain there instead of transferring to Chesapeake Bay Middle School;
* About 77 students will remain at Oakwood Elementary School instead of transferring to Quarterfield Elementary School;
* About 83 students from the Stony Brook and Mount Pleasant subdivisions will remain at High Point Elementary School instead of moving to Sunset Elementary School;
* And about 67 students from the developments of Turf Valley, Mansion House Manor and Dunbrook and the Humpty Dumpty Day Care Center will continue to attend High Point Elementary School instead of moving to Sunset Elementary.
In other action Wednesday, the board approved a plan to send Broadneck High School students to classes in the Severn River Junior High School building during the 1996-1997 school year while the high school is renovated. Students at Severn River Junior, and its companion school, Magothy River Middle School, would attend classes in split sessions for one year in the Magothy River building.
In addition, the school board approved a policy outlining its lack of tolerance for weapons.
The policy includes more specific definitions of items that could be considered weapons. Students caught with a weapon in school risk suspension or expulsion. Students who use a weapon in school will be expelled.
"Weapons have always been banned in schools, but we wanted the school system to clearly indicate to the entire community that weapons have no place in school," said Kenneth Lawson, associate superintendent for student services. "The kids and parents need to know clearly what the rules are and what the consequences are for bringing a weapon to school."