Graphic by Will Nauman
Board Of Ed Approves Crofton Redistricting Proposal
On April 3, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the Crofton school redistricting plan set forth by a committee of local parents last October. The new districts, which will shift the elementary school assignments for several hundred students annually, will balance the lopsided student population at the four Crofton-area schools and alleviate severe overcrowding at Nantucket Elementary.
Despite opening just five years ago, Nantucket Elementary currently stands at 120 percent capacity, with 819 students attending a school designed to serve 684. The school needs five mobile classrooms to handle the overload, and by 2017, the student body is projected to grow to 880, nearly one-third over capacity. Meanwhile, Crofton Elementary is only projected to reach 86 percent in 2017, while Crofton Meadows will stand at just 68 percent.
As a result, the board approved a plan that would move students from the Walden neighborhood, which currently sends 59 kids to Nantucket, to Crofton Elementary starting in August 2014, when an addition on the school is completed. The students would continue to attend Crofton Middle and Arundel High schools.
Students living in the area of Chelmsford Drive and Johns Hopkins Drive, commonly referred to as East Walden, will move from Nantucket Elementary to Crofton Meadows in August of 2015, when a project to add six new classrooms is complete. The East Walden students – there are currently 110 attending Nantucket – will also continue to attend Crofton Middle and Arundel High.
In addition, the proposed community of Wilson’s Grove, also known as The Enclave at Reidel Pond, is redistricted from Crofton Meadows Elementary, Arundel Middle and Arundel High School, to Nantucket Elementary, Crofton Middle and Arundel High for August 2014, and the currently undeveloped area south of Chelmsford Drive and east of Underwood Road will send students to Crofton Meadows, Crofton Middle and Arundel High.
The redistricting plan was developed by a 16-person committee composed of two parents nominated by each principal from the eight schools potentially affected – Nantucket, Crofton Meadows, Crofton Woods, Crofton Elementary, Crofton Middle, Arundel Middle, Arundel High and South River. The group held public meetings throughout late September and October, where they heard over five hours of testimony from hundreds of parents on the best ways to redraw the maps.
Ultimately, the plan they submitted to the superintendent offered as little impact on students and families as possible, with the committee opting not to alter the middle school or high school assignments for the vast majority of those affected.
While either the superintendent or the school board could have modified the committee’s plan however they wished, both ultimately chose not to alter their recommendations in any way.
“In this case the superintendent saw no reason to do anything differently than the community proposed,” said AACPS Public Information Officer Bob Mosier, who added that the affected residents are often best suited to decide on a plan. “In any redistricting venture we take, the committees are absolutely critical because members provide information that a school district official, who doesn’t live on those streets, doesn’t use those shops and doesn’t see the traffic around those schools on a daily basis otherwise wouldn’t have.”