BOWIE, Md. — Whitehall Elementary school is overcrowded, according to Prince George’s County Public Schools.
The district’s solution? Re-zone that area to funnel students into one of the four other nearby elementary schools starting in 2020.
Some parents, however, are not happy about the potential change.
“The way that they rolled out this proposal is just in poor taste,” Emebet Booker, parent of three, said. “People made a big investment. I mean, we’re paying a premium to live in the school zone that we’re in.”
Booker has children in fourth and first grade at Whitehall, and one in pre-school. She said if the changes go through, she’ll have to take her kids to three different schools.
Another parent, Ericka Moten, said she and her husband closed on their new house last Thursday because of it feeding into Whitehall.
She has a four-year-old child, who would be starting kindergarten there in 2020.
“We were strategic in our decisions in fact-finding for our house,” she said. “We picked the house—we love the house—but also because it’s zoned for Whitehall.”
Parents said Whitehall Elementary consistently outperforms other schools in the district. It earned five out of five stars on the Maryland State Department of Education’s 2018 report card.
The proposal would redirect students to one of four other elementary schools:
- Northview Elementary
- Rockledge Elementary
- Tulip Grove Elementary
- Yorktown Elementary
Parents said they agree that overcrowding is a problem that needs to be addressed, but some are unhappy with the pace at which the district is addressing it.
“I’m for addressing that issue, but there needs to be a task force,” Booker said.
The school board representative for her district, Raaheela Ahmed, said she plans to suggest a task force to the superintendent in a letter she’ll be sending this week.
“I think there’s a sense of urgency around this, because it’s such a permanent decision that needs to be made,” said Ahmed. “And, at the end of the day, it lies with all of us that are in education, that are in public service.”
The next discussion session will be held on October 24.
The first reading of the proposal to the Board will be on November 7.
Via WUSA 9
Later PGCPS School Board Member Raaheela Ahmed later issued a statement decrying the lack of due process in Prince George’s County School district. Her request for a committee comprising of parents, students, teachers and community members to help address the issues is attached below.