Ready or not, elementary school redistricting is coming to Harford County Public Schools. At a September 27, 2010 school board meeting in Bel Air, Chief of Administration Joe Licata gave an update on plans to move students into the new Red Pump Elementary School and to relieve elementary school overcrowding across the county.
Proposed changes to elementary attendance areas are in the works and will be made public sometime in November or December, after feedback is gathered from focus groups at each elementary school.
In addition to filling Red Pump, the goals of redistricting are to relieve overcrowding at Prospect Mill and nearby elementary schools; to relieve overcrowding at Emmorton Elementary, and to reduce enrollment to 90 – 95% of capacity at the remaining public elementary schools in the county.
Prospect Mill and Emmorton are the most overcrowded of the 32 Harford County public elementary schools, operating at approximately 134% and 128% of capacity, respectively.
Without providing specifics, Licata said that some students currently at Emmorton ES may be moved further south. He also said that Youth’s Benefit ES in Fallston will need relief due to the deferral of that school’s modernization.
Additional capacity will come from 696 seats at the planned Red Pump Elementary in Bel Air, and from 216 added seats in the newly modernized Deerfield Elementary in Edgewood, Licata said.
Past redistricting efforts have generated heated public debate, when parents and other property owners have objected to changes in their assigned school attendance areas. Licata stressed that middle and high school attendance areas will not change, regardless of changes at the elementary level.
Once the elementary redistricting proposal is made public, and after a series of public hearings, the Harford County Board of Education will vote to finalize the redistricting plan. The redistricting vote will come on or before March 1, 2011, in time for the opening of Red Pump Elementary School the following August.
For more information about the redistricting process, go to www.hcps.org and click on “Elementary Redistricting”.