Redistricting committee members plan to present two possible high school redistricting proposals to the Board of Education, 3 p.m., April 9 during the Board's monthly meeting at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in La Plata. The public may comment on the proposals at one of two public hearings, scheduled for April 22 and April 23.
The 16-member redistricting committee developed two rezoning alternatives for each high school in order to develop an attendance zone for St. Charles High School, which opens in August 2014, and to reduce overcrowding at the other county high schools. Superintendent James E. Richmond asked the committee to give due consideration of anticipated growth while reducing student enrollment at each high school to at or below state-rated capacity. Three county high schools, North Point, La Plata and Westlake, are over state-rated capacity.
Both proposals allow for growth at St. Charles, according to the committee report. Proposal A transfers more students than Proposal B, moving 1,398 ninth and tenth graders in A versus 1,233 in B. Proposal A offers the most immediate relief to North Point High School, the county's most overcrowded high school. The Board is completing redistricting a year in advance, and it does not take effect until August 2014 when St. Charles opens. Visit http://www2.ccboe.com/parentscomm/transportation/hsredistricting.cfm, for more complete descriptions of the alternatives and maps.
St. Charles High School
St. Charles High School is under construction and will open in August 2014 with grades 9, 10 and 11. It will include a senior class in school year 2015. Located on Piney Church Road in Waldorf and next to Regency Furniture Stadium, the committee is proposing creating an attendance zone for the new school by moving portions of the existing La Plata, Maurice J. McDonough and Thomas Stone high school zones. State-rated capacity is 1,600, and both proposals allow for future growth.
Proposal A would open St. Charles with 963 students in grades 9 through 11, with 651 students transferring in from other high schools. The student population would increase to 1,275 students in 2015 with the addition of a senior class.
Proposal B opens the school with 956 students, with 648 transferring in from other schools. The student population increases to 1,262 the next year.
Henry E. Lackey High School
Henry E. Lackey High School is located in Marbury and could see a decrease in enrollment due to redistricting. Proposals A and B both move areas of the Lackey attendance zone to Maurice J. McDonough High School. Both proposals decrease the student enrollment to 1,104 in 2014.
La Plata High School
La Plata High School is located on Radio Station Road in La Plata and is over its state-rated capacity of 1,162. Both proposals reduce the attendance zone by moving areas to St. Charles High School. Proposal A decreases La Plata's student enrollment to 1,184 in 2014 and proposal B would reduce enrollment to 1,194. The school enrollment would be at or below state-rated capacity in the 2015 school year.
Maurice J. McDonough High School
McDonough is located in Pomfret with a 1,200 state-rated capacity. Redistricting proposals create a new attendance zone for McDonough by including areas from Lackey, North Point and Westlake high schools. The proposals also move students from McDonough to the new high school. Proposal A would decrease student enrollment by 4 percent to 1,081 and Proposal B would reduce student population by 14 percent to 969 students.
North Point High School
Located off Davis Road in Waldorf, North Point is at 141 percent of its 1,600 state-rated capacity with 2,240 students. Both plans immediately reduce overcrowding by moving attendance areas from North Point to Westlake and McDonough high schools. Proposal A reduces enrollment to 1,772 in the first year and to 1,462 in 2015. Proposal B would decrease enrollment 19 percent to 1,832 in 2014 and to 1,602 in 2015. Students accepted in the Science, Technology and Industry programs are not included in the redistricting.
Thomas Stone High School
Located in Waldorf off Leonardtown Road, Thomas Stone's student enrollment is under its state-rated capacity of 1,513. Proposal A would increase student enrollment, while Proposal B decreases the number of students. Both proposals move students from Thomas Stone to St. Charles and students from Westlake zones to Thomas Stone. Proposal A would increase the student enrollment to 1,360 students, while Proposal B would decrease enrollment to 1,307 students.
Westlake High School
Westlake is located on Middletown Road near the intersection of Smallwood Drive in Waldorf, and is over its state-rated capacity of 1,203. Both proposals reduce student enrollment; however, the school population does not decrease to state-rated capacity or below until the second year. The new attendance zone, in both proposals, would include areas from North Point and move areas to Thomas Stone and McDonough.
Proposal A decreases enrollment by 11 percent to 1,269 students in 2014 and to 1,127 students in 2015. Proposal B transfers less students and reduces student enrollment by 7 percent to 1,331 in 2014 and to 1,200 in 2015.
How to comment on the proposals
The Board and Superintendent receive the Redistricting Committee report at the April 9 meeting, and have scheduled two evenings – April 22 and April 23 – to accept public comment on the proposals. The first public hearing is 6:30-9 p.m., April 22, at North Point High School. The second hearing is 6:30-9 p.m., April 23, at La Plata High School. The Board is limiting speakers to commenting at one of the two hearings in order to maximize speaking opportunities for the highest number of people. Speakers have three minutes to comment. Following the public hearings, the Superintendent will develop recommendations to the Board for each high school based on review of the plans and public comments. The Superintendent can recommend one of the proposals or modified versions. A separate public hearing on the Superintendent's recommendations will be held 6:30-9 p.m., Monday, May 20, at Westlake High School. The Board will take a final vote on the high school redistricting on June 11 at its regular monthly meeting.
Residents may also mail or e-mail comments. E-mail comments to email@example.com or mail to Redistricting, Charles County Public Schools, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646.
The 16-member redistricting committee includes 10 parents, three community members and three school principals. Parent representatives include one from each high school, two from middle schools and two from elementary schools. High schools accepted applications and selected representatives by random drawing. Middle and elementary schools accepted interest from all parents, held a random drawing and each submitted one parent name to the Board of Education. The Board selected two middle and two elementary parent representatives by random drawing during its October meeting. Community members also applied to serve on the committee and were selected by the Board in a random drawing.
Once formed, the committee divided into two independent groups to develop an alternative. The committee members met eight times before submitting their proposals to the Superintendent. The committee first met at the Board's Nov. 5 redistricting information meeting in order to hear community questions and comments.
Maps and more complete descriptions of each proposal are posted on the school system website at www.ccboe.com. Click on the High School Redistricting link under resources.
The school system is mailing a fact sheet outlining the redistricting proposals to parents of ninth and tenth graders and all middle school students. Elementary schools will send the fact sheet home with students the week of April 8.
Board meetings are televised live and aired on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12. The meetings also stream live on the school system website at www.ccboe.com.