Proposed Boundaries

Will Divide a Community

You may be aware of the proposed changes to the existing school boundaries for University Park Elementary School in Prince George's County. If these changes occur, our community as we know it will be completely fractured.

Children in College Heights Estates, who are now walkers, would be bused deep into College Park. College Heights Estates is part of our geographical neighborhood regardless of the boundaries of University Park proper. Kids from College Park and University Hills would also be bused farther from their homes. We are one community and do not want to be divided. Having lived through redistricting in the 1970s as a student in this county, I witnessed firsthand the devastation and decline of many local communities.

Children need to attend their neighborhood schools. Communities need quality neighborhood public schools to thrive. Thriving counties need thriving communities. Prince George's County is thriving in our area, and I don't want to see that hard-fought progress start to unravel. These proposals are the result of the opening of a new school, West Hyattsville Elementary. Our overall numbers at University Park Elementary will actually increase as the result of this proposal, and, because we are a "performing school," we are already getting many children from out of our district as their neighborhood schools are failing to meet their needs. We are being blindsided by the short notice, the coinciding holidays and the county Board of Education's Dec. 15 decisive vote. We barely have time to gather our facts, and I resent the way this unelected school board has decided to work with our community.

Michele P. Leonardi

University Park