By Natalie Adams
The Board of Education (BOE) for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) voted to adopt the Option one redistricting proposal for Crofton Area High School at their meeting on Wednesday, April 17th. This option will relocate students in the Two Rivers and Waugh Chapel communities to the Arundel feeder system starting the 2020-2021 school year.
Option one will make a few major changes. Currently, students from the Two Rivers (1038B) and Waugh Chapel (1038C) neighborhoods attend Crofton Elementary, Crofton Middle, and Arundel High. Option one will redistrict these students to Piney Orchard Elementary until West County Elementary opens and on to Arundel Middle and Arundel High, effectively transferring them to the Arundel feeder system. Students from the Crofton Elementary, Nantucket Elementary, and part of Crofton Meadows Elementary attendance zones currently attend Arundel High, and students from the Crofton Woods Elementary and part of Crofton Meadows Elementary attendance zones currently attend South River High, but they will be relocated to Crofton Area High starting the 2020-2021 school year. Students will be phased into Crofton Area High, with only 9th and 10th graders the 2020-2021 school year, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders the 2021-2022 school year, and 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders the 2022-2023 school year.
The biggest differences between Option One and Option Three are that the Waugh Chapel (1038C) community would remain at Crofton Elementary and Crofton Middle and attend Crofton Area High when it opens in 2020 and students from various Crofton neighborhoods who attend various Crofton schools would be shuffled around within Crofton. Two Rivers (1038B) would still be moved to the Arundel feeder system and students living in Crofton who currently attend Arundel High or South River High would still be redistricted to Crofton Area High when it opens.
Option Four would allow students from Two Rivers (1038B) and Waugh Chapel (1038C) to choose to remain in the Crofton feeder system or switch to the Arundel Feeder system.
There was an Option Two, but it was not mentioned at the meeting.
Redistricting was not open to public comment at the meeting, but it had been open to public comment for 30 days prior. However, board members had the opportunity to share their thoughts and information about each of the proposals before voting commenced.
Melissa Ellis spoke in support of Option Three, stating that Crofton Middle School, “just [doesn’t] present to me the same concerns as Arundel Middle School,” and “no longer do I see Route 3 as a natural boundary.”
Ellis claimed that it would be better to increase the population at Crofton Meadows Elementary than at Arundel Middle because Crofton Meadows has more space for portables. She also stated that the parking lot can be reconfigured to allow for more buses, whereas Arundel Middle’s cannot. Ellis continued by claiming that development has stopped in Crofton, but continues on the west side of Route 3.
Michelle Corkadel countered Ellis by explaining that a new parking lot at Crofton Meadows Elementary would cost around $1 million, and that this money would be better spent on renovations and expansions to schools like Arundel Middle. Corkadel claimed, “spreading a little bit of the pain is not going to result in a positive outcome,” and explained that she supports Option One because it will break the cycle of redistricting now. She also stated that she disagrees with Ellis’ claim that development in Crofton has stopped.
The vote was called after a comment from Candace Antwine about keeping diversity in mind, Robert Leib stated that he believes Option One will establish a sustainable Crofton feeder system, and Julie Hummer expressed her concern of creating a “white high school.”
Option One with Option Four received four votes, just Option One gained three votes, and Option Three with Option Four and just Option Three each garnered one vote.
Option One with Option Four would impose all of the changes from Option One, but also allow students from Two Rivers (1038B) and Waugh Chapel (1038C) to choose to attend either Crofton or Arundel schools. Option Three with Option Four would impose all of the changes from Option Three, but also allow students to choose to attend either Crofton or Arundel schools. Both of these options were counted as separate from just Option One and just Option Three.
Since a minimum of five votes were needed for one of the options to prevail, none of the options received the necessary number of votes and the BOE had to vote again.
Before the second vote, Ellis proposed an amendment to Option Four that would add a clause stating that transportation would not be provided by the county to students who choose to attend schools in the feeder system opposite from which they are assigned. However, amending the option after voting had commenced would mean the entire voting process would have to start over, so the amendment was not added.
The vote was called and this time Option One with Option Four received four votes and just Option One prevailed with five votes.