Many students in Calvert and St. Mary's counties will be attending different schools, based on redistricting plans approved last week by the Board of Education for each system.
The Calvert school board adjusted high school attendance boundaries in anticipation of the opening of Huntingtown High School in 2004.
Of the three proposals -- designated Plans I, II and III -- the board voted unanimously for Plan I.
"I think [it] accomplishes a very equitable redistricting," said board president Robert L. Gray, referring to school population and public wishes. An 18-member committee of school officials and parents had devised the three options.
Plan II, which would have kept the Chesapeake Beach community split between two high schools, was criticized in two public hearings last month. The third plan was similar to the approved plan except for a change in the boundary line between Huntingtown and Northern high schools.
In the end, the board went with public opinion -- Plan I was favored by most of the speakers and written comments submitted to the board, Gray said.
Huntingtown will open in 2004 with all four grades, though seniors will be able to graduate from their old high school if they apply to stay by Dec. 1, 2003.
In St. Mary's County, school board members had a protracted discussion last week before voting to shift more than 1,600 students in elementary, middle and high schools beginning this fall. The school district needs to move students because of crowding.
Since 2001, 46 parents, other residents and school officials have met to devise the new boundaries, considering issues such as transportation, available space and ensuring that the number of students who receive free or reduced-price lunch benefits -- an indicator of poverty -- is balanced among the schools.
The central debate was over the elementary school plan, which calls for students to move from their current school and into a temporary annex that will house George Washington Carver Elementary School beginning this fall while a new building is under construction. Lexington Park elementary students just moved out of the annex into their new school in January.
Because of the multiple levels involved in the St. Mary's plan, the school board took separate votes on each change. Parents of the children affected by the new plans will receive letters from the school district in March, officials said.
* Middle School -- 167 students move from Esperanza Middle School to Spring Ridge. Board member Mary M. Washington was the lone dissenter in the 4 to 1 vote. But the board voted unanimously that any student who will be in eighth grade this fall can apply by April 15, 2003 to remain at Esperanza if they provide their own transportation.
* High School -- 171 students move from Great Mills High School to Leonardtown; the board voted 4 to 1, with board member Washington in opposition. Students who will be in grades 10-12 can apply by April 15, 2003, to remain at Great Mills if they provide their own transportation; an exception approved 4 to 1, with vice chairman Cathy Allen opposing.
* Elementary School -- A total of 197 students from Oakville Elementary School (59) and Leonardtown Elementary (138) will move to Benjamin Banneker.
A total of 340 students from Greenview Knolls (222) and Lexington Park (118) will move to George Washington Carver.
130 students from Park Hall will move to Carver. However, 45 of those students who live in the Bay Ridge Estates area will not move until the 2005 school year. The board unanimously approved this exception requested by residents because there is room at Park Hall to accommodate the students.
A total of 255 students from Lexington Park will move to Green Holly (137) and Carver (118). However, 83 students in grades 1-4 who attended the Lexington Park annex will not move until the 2005 school year. The board unanimously approved this exception to minimize the number of years a student might spend in the annex.
A total of 292 students will move from Carver to Lexington Park (241) and Park Hall (51).
A total of 137 students will move from Green Holly to Lexington Park (106) and Park Hall (31).
The school board unanimously voted that elementary school students who will be in fifth grade this fall may apply by April 15 to remain at their current school if they provide their own transportation.