Parents of elementary school-age children don’t like having their children transferred to a different school and they don’t envy the individuals who have to make such a decision. That much remains clear from a well-attended public hearing Tuesday, Feb. 11 at The Mary Harrison Center in Owings. What is still unclear is which of the four options for redrawing elementary school district lines is the best choice. Some of the individuals who commented on the issue stated they would like to see more options.
The process is being undertaken to relieve the overcrowding at Beach Elementary School (BES) in Chesapeake Beach. The school, which is currently Calvert’s oldest elementary, has the largest enrollment of students and is approximately 200 pupils over its state-rated capacity (SRC). While there are plans in the pipeline to either renovate or replace the nearly 60-year-old school building on Route 261, the project is scheduled to occur until much later in the decade.
“It’s distasteful but it has to be done,” said Calvert County Board of Education (BOE) President Dr. Eugene M. Karol of the redistricting process. Besides BES, enrollments at six elementary schools in the north and central areas of Calvert County would be impacted by redistricting. The redistricting process was started last year with a smaller number of schools involved. A majority of the BOE subsequently decided to halt the process and start over, expanding the number of schools involved. Three transportable classrooms were placed at BES in an effort to temporarily mitigate the overcrowding.
Calvert County Public Schools’ (CCPS) Director of Student Services Kimberly Roof said a committee comprised of representatives from each of the schools, the Town of Chesapeake Beach, school system administration and county agencies spent many hours analyzing data and subsequently “drafting plans in the best interest of our students.”
Under Option 1 all schools would remain under their SRCs. Option 2 would put Plum Point Elementary School over its SRC and children from the town subdivision of Chesapeake Village would be bused to that school. The third and fourth options would significantly ease overcrowding at BES but the enrollment would not go below the school’s SRC.