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Parents' protests bring hearing on redistricting issue They want children taken out of mostly black school


After more than a decade of complaining, residents of five neighborhoods just south of Annapolis inched closer yesterday toward getting their elementary schoolchildren out of overwhelmingly black Mills-Parole and into predominantly white Edgewater Elementary.

The Anne Arundel school board amended its redistricting proposal for Annapolis to send children from mostly white Gingerville, Ginger Hill, Poplar Point, Wilelinor, and possibly Dorsey Heights, across the South River to Edgewater.

The board scheduled a public hearing on the proposed change for Monday. The parents in those communities consider getting a hearing a victory.

"I'm so happy. We have a lot of work ahead of us," said activist Cheryl Martin, mother of a preschooler.

Parents in the affected communities have told the board that even though they live north of the South River, their family life, from recreation leagues to houses of worship, is focused more on Edgewater than Annapolis.

Martin said she and her neighbors had been debating whether to send their children to private schools or seek transfers to other elementary schools if they couldn't get out of Mills-Parole.

The largest private schools in Anne Arundel County are in Annapolis, Crownsville and Severna Park. St. Andrew's Elementary School is on Wallace Manor Road, south of Gingerville. The only private school south of the South River is in Lothian.

If the change is approved, it could bring even more students into Edgewater, which is 10 percent over capacity. The school has one portable classroom and has asked for a second.

Board members said they voted for the proposed change not because they favor it, but because they want the subject aired. Michael J. McNelly, who proposed the move, said it was a matter of hearing parents and getting official figures.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Board of Education building on Riva Road in Annapolis. The board must vote on a redistricting plan this month.

A second proposed change, offered by board member Janet Bury, would allow current sixth- and seventh-graders at George Fox Middle School to finish middle school there rather than move to Chesapeake Bay Middle School.

The board has proposed moving 270 children -- all those in Riviera Beach Elementary attendance area and some in Sunset Elementary -- to Chesapeake Bay Middle School to relieve crowding at George Fox. Those students return to the Northeast High School feeder system for high school.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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