Leonardtown, MD — The St. Mary’s County Board of Education has received a proposal for redistricting elementary school boundaries to accommodate the new Capt. Walter Francis Duke Elementary School opening in August. Students currently attending Leonardtown, Hollywood, Evergreen and Town Creek elementary schools will be affected. The new school is expected to have 565 students on opening day.

The redistricting proposal was crafted by a 16 member advisory committee whose composition was 50 percent school administrators and 50 percent citizens. They met four times and created ten different plans before settling on the one presented to the board at its January 16 meeting.

A public hearing on the redistricting plan is scheduled for Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the board meeting room in the school system’s office on Moakley Street in Leonardtown. The plan is available for viewing on the system’s website www.smcps.org

At the school board meeting Deputy Superintendent of Schools and Operation Brad Clements and Director of Capital. Planning and Green Schools Kimberly Howe explained some of the guidelines used in coming up with the final document. One consideration was minimizing the numbers of schools affected and also the impact on the middle schools being fed by the various elementary schools.

There also is another new elementary school in the southern part of the county scheduled for later in the decade and the plan tried to prevent areas likely to feed that new school from being impact during this round of redistricting.

At the board meeting’s public comment section, Evergreen parent Erin Anhalt complained that the military housing complex called Columbia Colony was being transferred from Evergreen to Hollywood. She said there are many families in the subdivision who have family members deployed. She noted that military families have to cope with numerous transfers and another school transfer would be traumatic.

Anhalt observed that Evergreen had a military family counselor and a transfer to another school could leave those families without support. But Dawn Simpson, the Navy’s liaison with the school system, said the counselors, who are paid for by the Department of Defense, could be moved or could share time between schools depending on the numbers of military families in the schools.

Simpson also held open the possibility of a fourth counselor being assigned to St. Mary’s County. Now there is one each for elementary, middle and high schools.
The plan allows a grandfathering for the military families but they would have to provide their own transportation if they wished to have their children continue to go to Evergreen. Anhalt said that would be a burden especially when a family member was deployed.

One of the highlights of the plan is the assigning of students in the new Clark’s Rest subdivision to Leonardtown Elementary instead of the new school. Clements said those prospective students were needed to populate Leonardtown, which is losing some of its students to the new school. A connection is being built between Clark’s Rest and Leonard’s Grant, which is adjacent to the new school.

The following are the recommendations included in the redistricting plan:

Recommendation

Submit Plan 10 to the interim superintendent as the proposed redistricting plan with the following considerations:
• Based on continued growth at Evergreen Elementary School do not allow transfers into the school, except as outlined in this recommendation.
• Grandfathering all rising fifth grade students affected by the redistricting effort, without transportation for the 2015-16 school year, utilizing a special form and process developed by St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS).
• Provide support for students of active duty military families within the Evergreen, Hollywood, and Leonardtown elementary school communities by:
• Grandfathering students who currently attend these schools through the end of the 2014-15 school year and their siblings, without transportation for a three-year period through the 2017-18 school year. Students and their siblings will be able to attend the school based on their registration for the 2014-15 school year.
• Allow new students who register from the time of approval of the redistricting plan to the last day of the 2014-15 school year and are redistricted to Hollywood Elementary School to attend Hollywood Elementary School for the remainder of the 2014-15 school year, without transportation.
• Effective July 1, 2015, all new active duty military students will attend the school based on their residence and the approved redistricting school boundaries.
• SMCPS will develop a special transfer form and process for the active duty military transfers outlined in this proposal, which must be utilized.
• In order to address transportation resources, the Sunshine Daycare Center will be limited to continued transportation service to Benjamin Banneker Elementary School and Leonardtown Elementary School, as currently served.
• School start times will be finalized as a result of the approval process and establishment of new bus routes. It is anticipated that the start time will be between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School and between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. for Leonardtown Elementary School.

The following is the narrative of the impacts on each of the affected schools:

Capt. Walter Francis Duke Elementary:

From Leonardtown Elementary School to Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School:

Maryland Route 5 northbound from and including Cedar Lane Court to and including Maryland Route 245 to and including Barnsby Lane and all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.
McIntosh Road from the intersection of Maryland Route 245 to but not including Jones Road, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. St. John’s Road from the intersection of Maryland Route 245 to but not including Abell’s Run Drive, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

From Hollywood Elementary School to Capt. Walter Francis Duke Elementary School

Maryland Route 245 from but not including Barsnby Lane to the intersection of Maryland Route 235, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. Northbound Maryland Route 235 from the intersection of but not including Old Three Notch Road and Three Notch Road to and including Jones Wharf Road, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. Southbound Maryland Route 235 from the intersection of Jones Wharf Road to and including Airport View Drive, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

Evergreen Elementary School

From Hollywood Elementary School to Evergreen Elementary School:
Southbound Maryland Route 235 from but not including Airport View Drive to and including Airport Road, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

From Town Creek Elementary School to Evergreen Elementary School:

Johnson Pond Lane, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

From Evergreen Elementary School to Hollywood Elementary School:

Southbound Maryland Route 235 from the intersection of Maryland Route 4 to and including Old Rolling Road, and all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. Maryland Route 4 from and including the intersection of FDR Boulevard to Maryland Route 235, excluding the Settler’s Landing development.

Hollywood Elementary School

From Hollywood Elementary School to Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School:

Maryland Route 245 from but not including Barsnby Lane to the intersection of Maryland Route 235, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. Northbound Maryland Route 235 from the intersection of but not including Old Three Notch Road and Three Notch Road to and including Jones Wharf Road, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. Southbound Maryland Route 235 from the intersection of Jones Wharf Road to and including Airport View Drive, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

From Hollywood Elementary School to Evergreen Elementary School:

Southbound Maryland Route 235 from but not including Airport View Drive to and including Airport Road, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

From Evergreen Elementary School to Hollywood Elementary School:

Southbound Maryland Route 235 from the intersection of Maryland Route 4 to and including Old Rolling Road, and all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. Maryland Route 4 from and including the intersection of FDR Boulevard to Maryland Route 235, excluding the Settler’s Landing development.

Leonardtown Elementary School

From Leonardtown Elementary School to Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School:

Maryland Route 5 northbound from and including Cedar Lane Court to and including Maryland Route 245 to and including Barnsby Lane and all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. McIntosh Road from the intersection of Maryland Route 245 to but not including Jones Road, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes. St. John’s Road from the intersection of Maryland Route 245 to but not including Abell’s Run Drive, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

Town Creek Elementary

From Town Creek Elementary School to Evergreen Elementary School:

Johnson Pond Lane, including all auxiliary roads, drives, courts, and lanes.

Contact Dick Myers at news@thebaynet.com