Wednesday, August 14, 2013

School Redistricting Stories: Input Wanted

It's kind of hard to engage in school system business when you're trying to hold on to the remains of summer break. That's part of what makes these next two weeks a bit like a teeter-totter, or a cha-cha.

Anyway, the redistricting committee has finished its work. The plan, as they left it, looks like this:

Redistricting Plan AAC4AA

Those large swaths of color are the various middle school attendance areas. The funky shapes within each color are polygons, used for planning purposes and identified by number. The turquoise dotted lines that run through some polygons denote the walking area for that school. As the key shows, the grey hash-lined polygons are those the committee proposed to move, and the color of those polygons reflects the new school assignment. To look at how the attendance areas are currently defined, go here. 

If you have a fifth, sixth, or seventh grader, this is a good time to learn more about the changes that will take effect next August. The School Planning portion of the HCPSS website had a lot of information on it, including detailed minutes from each of the committee's six meetings. There will be more meetings with the public before a final recommendation is put before the Board. Then the Board will take public input in the form of emails and two hearings. The details are on the website.

You can give your input, now, as well. Complete this survey to share your ideas and questions.

One more thing - there are two public hearings at the Board tomorrow. They are not directly about redistricting, but they will shape the course of future redistricting plans. 

The first hearing is a pre-submission hearing on the Capital Budget. This is when community members can tell the Board about the types of capital projects they'd like to see addressed when the proposed Capital Budget is released in September. Is your school too crowded and not relieved by redistricting? Does the roof leak? Is the music room woefully undersized? Is there a problem with the HVAC system? Do you have questions about temporary classroom trailers/portables/learning cottages? Do you want a natatorium, a planetarium, or a second gymnasium? This is your chance to share those ideas or questions with the Board. 

The second hearing is about purchasing a specific land site in Elkridge for another elementary school. The Board will vote to approve or not to approve the purchase on September 12th. There's a lot of history with this site, so do some reading. Here's the proposal from HCPSS. Here's the most recent Explore Howard article about the site. Here's why the Board didn't build an elementary school there back when they got adjacent land in 2010

The hearings start at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 15, 2013 in the Board room at the Department of Education building on Rt. 108. 


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