Despite a rebuff from the Anne Arundel County Council, school board officials said yesterday they have not given up on reopening Adams Park Elementary School and making it a central part of the life in Annapolis' poorest black community.
School officials reaffirmed their commitment to the $5.9 million project, although it dropped on their priority list from 12th to 16th. The board voted in 1993 to reopen the school by September 1997.
If Superintendent Carol S. Parham does not propose boundaries in December for Adams Park and the rest of the Annapolis Senior High School feeder system, the board will consider dusting off a 2-year-old redistricting option that includes a reopened Adams Park, said Joseph Foster, the board president.
The superintendent is not scheduled to take up Annapolis school boundaries until the 1996-1997 school year, but that could change.
In the spring, the County Council said it would not consider the Adams Park project until it saw boundaries for Adams Park and the ripple effect on the under-enrolled Annapolis Senior High School feeder system. Boundaries would take in mostly white neighborhoods nearby.
An unspoken question has been whether parents in those white neighborhoods would balk at sending their children into a troubled black neighborhood. Youngsters in the Adams Park, College Creek and Clay Street corridor attend schools as far as six miles from home.
The $48.2 million capital budget request adopted Wednesday includes $311,600 to plan the renovation, which is one of several revitalization efforts in the Clay Street corridor.
"The old 4th Ward was our hub; it really was the hub of African-American culture in Annapolis," said the Rev. Leroy Bowman, pastor of First Baptist Church.
Proponents argue that a neighborhood school is crucial because many area parents don't have transportation to get their children to school, miss parent-teacher conferences, don't join the PTA and are generally uninvolved in their children's school activities.