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Anne Arundel school board sets attendance zones for new Crofton high school

Lauren Lumpkin
Contact Reporterllumpkin@capgaznews.com

Anne Arundel County school board members adopted on Wednesday a redistricting plan for Crofton, the final step in a months-long process to determine which students will attend the new high school when it opens in 2020.

Members approved Superintendent George Arlotto’s recommendation after weeks of deliberating four different options. The measure marks the district’s first attempt in 30 years to create new high school boundaries.

According to the new plan, the following changes will take effect starting fall 2020:

  • Crofton Elementary School students in the Two Rivers/Forks of the Patuxent and Waugh Chapel communities will be redistricted temporarily to Piney Orchard Elementary School, until West County Elementary School opens in the Arundel feeder system. Those children will attend Arundel schools.
  • Students in the Riverwalk at Crofton community will be sent to Crofton Woods Elementary and the Crofton-area high school.
  • Arundel High School students who live east of Route 3 in the Nantucket, Crofton Meadows and Crofton elementary school attendance zones will attend Crofton High School.
  • South River High School students in the Crofton Meadows and Crofton Woods elementary school zones will attend Crofton High.
  • Redistricted Arundel and South River high school students will be phased in at Crofton High School by grade level

This option does not include any grandfathering provisions.

Members considered three other options. Almost half the board wanted to implement Option 1, along with another plan that would have provided students in the Two Rivers/Forks of the Patuxent and Waugh Chapel communities the choice to stay at Crofton Elementary or attend Piney Orchard, feed into the applicable middle schools and attend Arundel High.

Melissa Ellis, District 4, staunchly supported Option 3, which would have kept students from the Waugh Chapel community in Crofton schools. She cited crowding issues, particularly at Arundel and Crofton middle schools.

Many schools in the area are nearing, or have already passed, capacity.

That option garnered two votes — from Ellis and District 5’s Dana Schallheim — in the first round of voting.

Wednesday’s vote was the first major decision in the redistricting process since January, when school board members decided to bundle four redistricting options to move forward to public comment. Members of the community were invited to weigh in at a meeting March 19.

Samantha Weaver, president of Nantucket Elementary School’s parent-teacher association, danced as she left the Wednesday night meeting.

“Option 1 brings stability and consistency to students that has been missing for 21 years,” Weaver said. Past redistricting efforts moved students in the Nantucket area out of Crofton schools.

“We’re excited for there to be stable boundaries for the area. It’s encouraging that we finally get to come together as a community.”

Jonathan Boniface, a member of the redistricting committee and longtime Crofton high school advocate, watched as board members cast their votes.

“It’s a big weight off my chest,” Boniface said. He said he’s already toured the new “state of the art” building.

“I think that it’s going to be good for our community moving forward.”

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