The redistricting plan Superintendent Terry Alban plans to unveil this week erases crowding at nearly all elementary schools in the Linganore, Oakdale and Urbana feeding patterns.
Alban will announce her recommendation for the LOU — Linganore, Oakdale, Urbana — Redistricting Study at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
“It’s what everyone has been waiting for,” Alban said at the last board meeting. “And believe it or not, we’re actually going to try and do a few other things at that meeting.”
The superintendent’s proposed changes are expected to reduce enrollment numbers for every elementary school in that area except Kemptown, which will remain at 102 percent capacity and Liberty Elementary, which will increase from 96 percent capacity to 102 percent. This aligns with the hope that the study, in addition to establishing new feeder patterns, would also help alleviate crowding at any schools.
For example, based on equated enrollment numbers for the 2018-2019 school year, Deer Crossing Elementary was at 132 percent capacity and Centerville Elementary was at 146 percent capacity. With Alban’s recommendation, both Deer Crossing and Centerville elementary would drop to 79 percent capacity.
Based on documents published on the Board of Education’s “Board Docs” website, Alban will propose the following changes, among others: move areas of Centerville and Urbana Elementary schools to create a new Sugarloaf Elementary attendance area; move areas of Deer Crossing, New Market and Liberty elementary schools to create a new Blue Heron attendance area; and move various areas of the middle and high schools to balance enrollment numbers and align feeder patterns.
Additionally, Alban is suggesting incoming juniors and seniors for the 2020-2021 school year who are affected be allowed to remain at their current high school until graduation. However, these students will be required to have their own transportation to school whether that be themselves or their parents driving.
The announcement comes after nine months of surveys, community meetings and development of different options and concepts.
The purpose of the study was to establish attendance boundaries and feeder patterns for two new elementary schools: Sugarloaf Elementary School on Stone Barn Drive in Urbana, and Blue Heron Elementary School in the Lake Linganore Hamptons West neighborhood.
Sugarloaf Elementary will open in September 2020, and Blue Heron Elementary is expected to open in September 2021.
Several options for new attendance boundaries were developed early this year by FCPS staff and Cropper GIS, a consulting company that was hired to support the study.
After rounds of community meetings and presentation of initial concepts, two options were presented to the public in June.
There has been intense scrutiny and backlash over the study with parents and residents worried over how communities will be split up, how children will adjust to new schools, and how redistricting will affect school transportation. Some students who now walk to school may have to take the bus based on the new boundaries, or others may be left with no school-provided transportation.
Others are worried redistricting will have to be done again in a few years based on the high volume of development in the area.
According to FCPS data, 1,850 students are expected to be affected by any changes.
Following the superintendent’s recommendation on Wednesday, the Board of Education will hold three public hearings at each high school involved in the study. This is meant to allow the school board to receive feedback from the public and have discussion before they make their final decision in October.