Community Input Needed Now on Redistricting Scenarios

Frederick County Public Schools and consultant Matthew Cropper, president of Cropper GIS, rolled out three proposed scenarios for Linganore-Oakdale-Urbana redistricting at a community meeting held March 19 at Urbana High School. The school system is asking the community to review Initial Concepts 1, 2 and 3 and complete an online survey by April 5.

“There’s a lot of time still to be had and a lot of work still to be done with the concepts and the maps being drafted,” Cropper said. “You may have a gut reaction to these maps, and it may elicit some anxiety, but just know that we’re still working through it.”

A third round of community meetings is planned for June 4, 5 and 6. FCPS will deliver a recommendation to the Board of Education on Sept. 11. The Board will conduct hearings and workshops and then take a vote on the redistricting plan in November 2019.

Implemented for the 2020-21 school year, redistricting will utilize two new elementary schools—the new Urbana Elementary, anticipated to open in 2020, and a new elementary school in the Lake Linganore area—as well as an Oakdale Middle School expansion. Overall, it will address balance and utilization issues at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

A lot of the elementary schools are at over 100 percent utilization, and the entire study area is over 100 percent right now, Cropper said. “There’s no space to work with. … With the new added space, your study area capacity goes to 83 percent.”

Each Initial Concept has advantages and disadvantages, Cropper said, and local feedback will help to determine the best plan.

Concept 1 impacts the fewest number of elementary school students, and all elementary schools—with the exception of Centerville Elementary—feed 100 percent into a middle school. The most sixth to eighth grade students are impacted by Concept 1, but there are no additional splits of middle to high schools proposed. Urbana High School gets capacity relief and all high school students in non-transported areas remain in non-transported areas, but Concept 1 does impact the most ninth through twelfth graders.

Concept 2 splits Urbana Elementary between Urbana Middle and Windsor Knolls Middle and does not provide capacity relief to Urbana Middle, but overall the fewest number of elementary and middle school students are impacted. Urbana High School gets capacity relief, but more of the Kemptown Elementary School area is assigned to Linganore High School.

Concept 3 keeps all students within the Centerville Elementary non-transported area attending Centerville, but Centerville remains more than 100 percent utilized. No additional feeder pattern splits are created from middle to high school, and all middle school students in non-transported areas remain in non-transported areas. Windsor Knolls Middle becomes nearly 100 percent utilized. Urbana High School gets capacity relief, and all high school students inside non-transported areas remain in nontransported areas.

During a question-and-answer period, many residents voiced concern about the social and emotional welfare of students, especially students who would begin middle school at one school only to transfer to another school for their seventh and eighth grade years in 2020 when redistricting occurs. The option of staying at their current school for rising twelfth, eighth and fifth graders—grandfathering—was raised.

Residents of the Carriage Hill Villages of Urbana neighborhood spoke about how their area is especially impacted. Some students living near Centerville Elementary and Urbana Middle might be sent to Sugarloaf Elementary and Windsor Knolls Middle.

To explore Initial Concepts 1, 2 and 3 and see how each would affect you, visit www.croppermap.com/fcpsmdredistrict. More detailed information can be found on the Linganore-Oakdale-Urbana redistricting website, www.fcps.org/facilities/loumeetings. To complete the FCPS community feedback survey by April 5, visit www.fcps.org/facilities/lou-meetings and look for “Initial Concepts Survey” under March Community Meetings.

A community petition that opposes Concept 1 and Concept 3, which would move Urbana Middle students to Windsor Knolls Middle, has been created. You can find this at www.change.org; search “Urbana.”

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