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The following are frequently asked questions about the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) elementary school redistricting.

  1. Why is CCPS redistricting elementary schools?
    The elementary school redistricting establishes an attendance zone for Billingsley Elementary School, which opens in September 2019. It also relieves overcrowding at most elementary schools. The Board of Education approved the redistricting on June 13, 2017, after a year-long process that included five public hearings and a year before it would take effect. Originally, the redistricting was to take effect at the start of the 2018-19 school year. Construction delays postponed the opening of Billingsley until September 2019. The Board voted on Sept. 25, 2017, to defer the opening of the school and the accompanying redistricting of elementary school students until September 2019. The redistricting affects about 2,500 elementary school students and includes students in prekindergarten to Grade 5.

  2. Why doesn't the school system fill the new school with one or two grades at a time, with the oldest children being in the second grade the first year?
    Billingsley will help relieve overcrowding at the elementary-school level. The state only funds construction of a new school once a school district has at least three-fourths of the new school capacity at elementary schools. There are a number of elementary schools exceeding state-rated capacity. The intent of opening the school is to provide relief to overcrowded schools as quickly as possible. Additionally, the cost of double busing over the four years it would take for Billingsley to grow into a full elementary school through a phase-in would be cost prohibitive.

  3. Will the Board “grandfather” fifth graders so they can finish out their last elementary school year at their current school?
    No, the Board’s vote includes redistricting rising fifth graders.

  4. Can you give more notice when redistricting will occur?
    The Board held a public information forum in October 2016 to notify residents of the redistricting process. Prior to the forum, the Board advertised for volunteers to serve on the redistricting committee, which worked on alternative redistricting plans between November 2016 and March 2017. There were two public forums to receive comments on the committee’s two proposals and two more public forums after the Superintendent’s recommendation to the Board. Following the original schedule, there would have been a year’s delay before implementing the redistricting. Construction delays postponed the redistricting a second year. The school system sent four fact sheets home with all elementary school-aged students.

  5. Will you grant waivers or special exceptions for a child affected by redistricting?
    CCPS Rule 5126 states the reasons a student may or may not be granted a special exception. It states: “special exceptions will not be granted for issues to large numbers of families, such as the need for a particular schedule, sibling enrollment, redistricting or typical day care issues.”

  6. Why are you opening an elementary school when the middle schools are overcrowded?
    CCPS has a five-year capital improvements program that evaluates the construction needs of the school system. As of the 2015 school year, elementary schools were 618 students over capacity. Middle schools were under-enrolled by 311 students. The plan recognizes overcrowded conditions at isolated middle schools, and plans include the renovation and expansion of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School. Once the state and county approve plans and funding for Stoddert, the school system will begin a comprehensive redistricting process at the middleschool level.

  7. What is the difference between Title I and non-Title I schools? Do the schools offer the same level of instruction and programs?
    Title I is designed to help students served by the program to achieve proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards. Title I schools are schools with percentages of low-income students of at least 40 percent. Additional federal funding is used to operate a schoolwide program to upgrade the instructional program for the whole school. CCPS has seven elementary Title I schools. Other benefits of a Title I designation include, but are not limited to:
    • All teachers and instructional assistants must be certified as highly qualified.
    • Schools must create a targeted family engagement plan with parent input. Parents give input on how to spend funds on parental involvement.
    • Students receive more instructional materials to use at home, such as the summer backpack program.
    • More classroom materials are purchased. For example, students do not have to share leveled readers. Everyone gets their own book.
    • Funding provides for subscriptions to web-based programs for students which are differentiated for students by ability levels (Istation, Reading AZ, RazKids, Dreambox, Reflex, etc.). Many programs have a home component.
    • Schools must develop a comprehensive needs assessment based on the needs of all students.
    • Teachers receive more professional development. Schools must provide their teachers with quality professional development designed to improve areas identified in the needs assessment.
    • It is a requirement that Title I schools use evidence-based instructional strategies.
    • Title I schools receive additional staff such as Title I tutors and interventionists.

  8. Why are teachers’ children allowed to attend the schools in the zone where a teacher works?
    As a benefit of employment, a full-time CCPS employee may ask for a transfer for their child to the elementary, middle or high school zoned for that parent/guardian’s primary work location. Employees who live outside Charles County and hired after Jan. 1, 2013, pay part of the tuition required for out-of country students.

  9. Why was there no transparency in the redistricting process?
    We believe the redistricting process was transparent. There have been many communications about the process, committee membership was open for all to apply and there have been ample opportunities available to residents to offer comments.

  10. Does my child’s middle school change if he/she is moved to a different elementary school?
    No, the elementary school redistricting impacts only the elementary school zones. A middle school redistricting would be needed to change your child’s middle school. In rare instances, the school system places a temporary moratorium on a school, changing the attendance zone for new areas of growth in that school’s zone until a redistricting can occur. An example of a moratorium is the one placed in effect at Milton M. Somers Middle School in 2016 and changes middle school assignments for new students moving into specific areas of St. Charles, including Gleneagles South, North Villages of Wooded Glen and Villages of Piney Reach.

  11. Will waivers be considered for students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs)? Waivers are not considered for students with IEPs except in instances where the IEP requires special placement of a student.

  12. Why is Billingsley Elementary School so large? High growth in the northern part of the county necessitates building larger elementary schools. Billingsley’s capacity is similar in size to the last two schools built, Mary B. Neal and William A. Diggs elementary schools. Billingsley’s state rated capacity is 766, Neal’s is 791 and Diggs’ is 816. Most of the smaller elementary schools are older facilities or those in more rural areas of the county.

  13. Why didn’t my real estate agent tell me about the redistricting when I bought my house? I bought my home in an area zoned for a particular school. We can’t answer for your agent; however, Charles County is a growing community, and except for a few years during the last economic downturn, the school system population has grown each year. As long as growth continues and we need to build or expand schools, redistricting will be necessary to manage overcrowding. The CCPS student population grew by 501 in 2017-18 and another 217 students in 2018-19.