The current proposal for the down county consortium is meeting opposition by the Blair Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). The PTSA fears that the current consortium plan would result in a disproportionate number of students who qualify for Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) plans and students enrolled in the Communication Arts Program (CAP) and the Magnet.
According to PTSA Secretary Betsy Costilo, who has served as a Blair Cluster Coordinator for the past three years, Blair will be losing many of its middle class students to Northwood High School. The Northwood base area was designed with the intention that a new school "really wants and needs a middle class; parents to pitch in, volunteer, so [the school planner] knew from the beginning Northwood would need a middle class."
Costilo believes that under this plan Blair will suffer from having its middle class population lowered significantly. With no middle class, a gap will be created between FARM students and upper level students. The PTSA fears "that [the new base areas] are really going to affect everyone." Without a middle class, Costilo says children of poverty will not be encouraged to take higher level classes. "I feel like we have the guts sucked out of us," says Costilo.
As the plan currently stands, Northwood High School feeder schools would include Forest Knolls Elementary School, Glen Haven Elementary School, Highland View Elementary School, Kemp Mill Elementary School and the western portions of the Sligo Creek Elementary School service area. The base area schools for Blair are East Silver Spring/ Takoma Park / Piney Branch Elementary Schools, Montgomery Knolls / Pine Crest Elementary Schools, New Hampshire Estates / Oak View Elementary Schools, Rolling Terrace Elementary School and the eastern portion of the Sligo Creek Elementary School service area.
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