The following letter was sent from Harford County Councilman Joe Woods to Superintendent Robert Tomback and members of the Board of Education. A copy was provided to The Dagger:
President Wolkow, Dr. Tomback, and members of the School Board,
Someone from the school system has made statements that the Harford County Council is responsible for redistricting and has final authority over the issue. At a PTA meeting at YBES; somehow members of the PTA and about 200 parents received information that I’m responsible for an alleged lack of information and lack of the community involvement that your system has been providing. I expect an official statement from the school board correcting this misinformation within 24 hours.
I hope that the reports of no community involvement or input in this redistricting process are false. Furthermore, I expect every constituent to have their voices heard before any final votes. It is also critical that every Harford County constituent those with and without children are informed of the changes to the school boundaries.
Thank you for your attention to this issue,
Go, Joe!! The importance of “information” versus “misinformation” is key to a healthy community and political discourse. Too often rumors sour attitudes and perspectives. Thanks for making a simple, quick and efficient effort to correct these inconsistencies.
Hey Joe Woods. BREAKING NEWS – This is the biggest issue that the Fallston community has faced in the last ten years. The proposed redistricting will basically divide our small Fallston community into two seperate elementary schools. You have not been involved in any of the community meetings, have not led the fight against these actions and generally do not have a clue about how this effects the families of the area.
Instead of asking for an apology from the School Board, why don’t you stand up and fight for the community (like Roni would have done).
I attended the meeting that Mr. Woods is referring to on Monday, Nov 8, 2010 @ YBES. No one there at any time said “Mr. Woods is to blame for lack of information regarding the redistricting in Fallston/Harford County”. Not sure where he is coming from BUT it was mentioned that someone had contacted Mr. Woods’ office/email to ask that he please attend our meeting on Monday regarding redistricting for Fallston. At 7pm on Monday night no one had received a call back from Mr. Woods’ office. This whole process (For all of Harford County – NOT ONLY FALLSTON) is being RUSHED by the HCPS Board. Not sure whom to officailly blame for the lack of information or turn around time for redistricting but communities are very concerned. Interesting how HCPS considers a public school in Harford County ‘AT CAPACITY’ when enrollment is @ 110%. Yes, I stated 110% NOT 100%. Also interesting that when a Harford County Public school is at 110%(+) a BUILDING MORETORIUM is set (ie: can’t build large housing developments) BUT when enrollment at said school falls BELOW 110% the BUILDING MORETORIUM is lifted (can begin to build again). Once the current redistricting plans have been approved by HCPS, Fallston’s (and many other communities in Harford County) elementary school (YBES) will fall BELOW capacity & the BUILDING MORETORIUM will be lifted (BUILDING WILL BEGIN AGAIN). How “convenient” for the Harford County Council and the others (ie: home builders that live in Fallston who don’t care about anything other than money). Just a little SHADY in my opinion – and we are all entitled to one! Don’t forget – Fallston is still “rural” having no water or sewage provided to us. When there is no water or sewage suppiled by a county there are limits to what type of housing/businesses can be developed. Are you following me here? Capacity falls at YBES, the building moretorium is lifted, more developments “arrive”, water & sewage is brought in by the county, McDonald’s and Walgreens end up on every corner of 152, etc… I have lived here in Fallston my whole life. I have watched all of the changes very closely. I attended YBES. I know it’s 2010 – not 1970 but come on! This a lot of info, right? Well, there is a lot that needs to be considered by HCPS and/or Harford County Council before redistricting. Doesn’t Chad Shrodes like being a “good old country boy”? It’s all gonna change, Chad! Help us out over here in Fallston. Keep our school intact and KEEP US RURAL!!!
I was there too and have no idea what Joe is talking about. He’s become a typical politician. Puffing hot air and thumping his chest.
Edmund Picard says
Some observations from afar:
How troubling this most significant issue begins in this vain. Mr. Woods appears an honest yet novice councilmember. However, I recall there was no discussion in his campaign mailings to educate the citizenry on his thoughts on this pending matter. I did learn of his life long commitment to the fire department and his background in safety. Also of note, this matter conviently arose after the election for County Executive. How long has the administration been kicking the can down the road. Be cautious Mr. Woods for somehow they will not be stained by this issue.
John Billings says
The only staining that will be done is to the Board of Education, whose job it is to look at the entire county and make an ubiased decision. Oh, great, now we have elected members of the Board, who can act parochial as well.
dalat 68 says
And they will. Why do you think The Board President supported the weak candidiates for Edgewood and Abingdon. He doesn’t want anyone there that might be smarter than he is. But then again, it woudln’t take much to be smarter. His arrogance and that of the Board is showing! Mr. Grambo and Frisch will be boxed in a corner and they can’t see it comming. The President needs to go!
you assume to much says
Yes I do, and since elected board members will by necessity will have to be more engaged with their constituents citizens will likely be better informed. Do you have such little faith in the voting public?
you assume to much says
The previous post was in response to Monster, Nov. 16.
you assume to much (it is too not to),
Looking at the lack of correct information that I see on this post, I would have to say that I do lack some confidence in the voters. Are these the same voters that elected Barack Obama?
you assume too much says
Monster – I’m sure the Al Gore supporters felt the same way as you feel about Obama. We call it democracy even if we don’t like the result. The reference to the Frisch/Robinson school board race was in response to DALAT 68’s characterization of Frisch as a weak candidate. My mentioning the race was an effort to demonstrate that Mr. Frisch, a complete unknown, overcame considerable obstacles to win. I think this shows a degree of intelligence (he ran an effective campaign), courage (he put himself out there which few are not willing to do), and skill (he stayed true to his convictions and did not allow himself to be used by those with other agendas).
you assume to much says
Weak candidates?! I don’t know about District B or Mr. Grambo but you obviously underestimate Mr. Frisch. He is shrewd, as tough as they come, and is nobody’s fool. He dismantled Jansen Robinson in the general election, who had all sorts of political and financial backing.
You assume too much,
What does Frisch’s dismantling Robinson in the election have to do with making Board decisions. I am not attacking Mr. Frisch, I am trying to figure out your logic.
…and the fights begin with the children in the middle.
Brian King says
I am concerned that these are the FIRST words I have heard from Councilman Woods on this issue. You are a day late sir and you must muster all that you have to make sure you are not a dollar short. This issue is rocking the community and we are going to fight, it is your decision if we have to fight you as well. Make the decision now sir!
If you live in the community and do not see how htis affects you please read the words of Sandy Boyd.
There is a countywide Elementary Redistricting Project that gets voted into place in April. The HCPS system told us that it was going to involve all stakeholders, and this plan has not, nor will it solicit true input from residents to make changes….except for community input meetings that the board will hold, which are just gripe sessions. YOU are all stakeholders in this and here is why:
When they vote this in, YBES will under capacity…therefore the building moratorium will be lifted and all the land can be sold and will most likely be used for new housing developments…so when you pass a farm on your road (think back roads, too) near Fallston, think about what it will look like when a new development sits atop it
The lines have been drawn in such a way that splits YBES right in the middle of route 152 in front of Hemphill’s. One side is Jarrettsville and the other Youth’s Benefit. Going back to #1 above, now developments can be built on both sides because YBES and Jarrettsville are both under capacity… Sounding suspicious to anyone?
They are pushing everyone north. YBES to Jarrettsville…Jarrettsville to Norrisville and North Bend. Those schools are now at a “low” capacity (Jarrettsville 77.5%, Norrisville 67.1, North Bend 73.3). They will be forced over capacity with the influx of students. The new capacities will be 95.1%, 101.6% and 100.8% respectively. Btw, YBES is currently at 120.0% and will go to 95.7%….interesting that the most Northern schools will be over 100%. Why not YBES and Jarrettsville at 100%?…well, because the builders don’t want to build up there…Fallston is where they will get the most money for their projects.
I hope I have shed some light on the dire situation our community is in at this time. PLEASE make calls, inquire, email, etc. This is not just an elementary school boundary issue. We should not let our elected politicians do this to us and our tax dollars be spent supporting this plan!
And just so you all know, my neighborhood and children are not affected (at this time) by this new line. I feel that there is injustice and bad “backdoor deals” out there that need to be exposed!
Thanks for considering getting involved and having your voice heard. Please pass along to all your neighbors…young and old! We will all be affected by this!
A few notes
the 2 of the three schools you mentioned (all though you implied all) are estimated to be over capacity by 4 students each. YBES is actually over capacity by 180 students.
If I follow you and others on here so far you are concerned for the 4 students over capacity but are OK with a school being 180 kids over the limit to prevent further development in Fallston? How is this in the best interest of kids, to be stuffed in over crowded classes? Are people worried that somehow Jarrettsville ES is an inferior school? I was under the impression it too was a good school?
Do you think that advocating for keeping a school overcrowded is a good idea?
As a constiuent of Mr. Woods district who does not live in Fallston I am a little concerned that he is expected to fight for the YBES kids only but not the other kids who go to another overcrowded school.
cdev, I couldn’t agree more. I know when people think about their children they become emotional. That is why there is a Board of Education to look after all of the children in Harford County. As far as Mr. Woods, you all are illustrating my fear of having in-district council elections. Mr. Woods and the other council members should be concerned with the welfare of all Harford County children.
I also have the same fear about indistrict BOE elections. Hopefully Mrs. Beverly will realize she does not represent just Fallston!
cdev, people are going to think we are the same person. I agree 100% with you again. There are so many examples of how this kind of system does not serve us. Congress is the best one.
One other thing you can give input in the form of e-mail on the redistricting page at HCP. I did so on thursday and recieved a e-mail back thanking me for my comments and informing me I would get a response.
Would someone define for me the “fallston community.” Give me the boundaries. If not that, tell me where the community ends. The rest of the county would be interested.
I feel as passionate as Mrs. Boyd does. My child would also “not be affected” by the rezoning of Fallston/YBES. However, if you are a member of a community it is your JOB to help keep your town as it should be. In our case, RURAL. I remember attending a meeting @ Fallston High School back in 2003 for the MTBE issues. I saw a real community effort fighting EXXON, etc. Come on Fallston, muster up the strength to fight another battle together.
Where exactly does your community begin and end?
none of you have answered the question of what is the Fallston community. Please tell us.
Since they do not want to answer I will wager a guess. Anyone who’s house is worth less half a million dollars on route 152 is not in Fallston
I am sure that is why no one has anwered the question. The Fallston “community” (wherever that is) continues to distinguish itself with its isolationist attitude.
and they always get indignant when they are challenged. They want to examine how the redistricting affects them, without looking at the rest of the county.
Kudo’s to KEB
It’s funny how Joe states “Someone” and “Somehow”, yet he is demanding a letter from the school board…get a clue Joe !! All your worried about is saving face !
What you need to be doing is fixing the idiotic rules about 110% capacity and all the payoffs to developers that allow communities to be overbuilt. Unfortunatley this same problem will continue to happen throughout harford county as the shuffle occurs and more golf courses turn into townhomes and postage stamp lots !! Elected officials need to learn how to run govt. effectively and put money where it needs to put first, before you start building houses that you can’t support not only with schools but with public safety, roads and other infrastructure.
Thank you, Joe. My thoughts, Exactly.
Joe, people already in this county probably said the same thing about you when you moved here. In fact, if so many people from Baltimore County had moved here, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
I have lived here my whole life, I remember going from chuchville to the harford mall on a saturday morning, and if I remember right, only went through about 6 or 7 lights (and that may be a high number) and passed mainly cornfields and cow fields, I95 still had toll buckets !!
Development is going to happen, what our elected officials need to do is make sure we don’t outgrow our capabilities, which is obviously happening. When certain developers get all the green lights, and then some, that is also where someone needs to start investigating. Just look at PG county !!
Worse yet look at what happens when it is unplanned like Waldorf!
KEEP THE FALLSTON COMMUNITY TOGETHER says
I find it funny they roll out this whole redistricting plan almost a week to the day after the election! Can any one tell me why it didn’t come out a week before the election? I think we all know why! To Cdev who said we are ok with an over crowded school to keep from further building in Fallston, can you tell me what will happen when in 5 years the school will be over crowded again because of all the houses that was once farm land? This is just another case of the all mighty dollar allowing the Goverment to push people around. We need to pull together and fight this! Mr. Woods I just hope you join in and fight with us not against us.
When you advocate not redistricting you are essentially saying you are fine with 180 extra students or the status quo!
KEEP THE FALLSTON COMMUNITY TOGETHER says
It might drop the numbers for the school temporary, but as soon as the building starts the school will once again be over crowded. Do you not see what is going on here? It is all the $$. They say it is going to help the children, so anyone that opposes it looks like a bad person. My children go to YBES and I have never heard anybody complain that the school is overcrowded.
So you are fine with an overcrowded school to keep them from possibly building in Fallston. I thought this was about children for a second? Do you not see how you are willing to use children as pawns for an alterior agenda?
keep the Fallston Community Together,
I would like to see your answer to Cdev
I suspect I will not get an answer as I havn’t before. This is because I ran across a set of GFA minutes online from 2008 that suggest redistricting should be resisted as a way of preventing building. I infer that some members of Fallston are fine using kids as pawns.
KEEP THE FALLSTON COMMUNITY TOGETHER says
Saying that I am using the children as pawns is offensive. But for an overcrowded school I think my daughters class of 22 children is not overcrowded. I know teachers in the Baltimore county school system that would love to teach a class that only had 22 children in it. HCPS hires enough teachers that the class numbers stay low. If they feel the need for redistricting they need to get community input and not try to rush it. How would you feel living .5 miles away from the school in your community and not attending it, but children living 6 miles away are. FYI Singer Road is 6 miles away from YBES, yet on 152 going the opposite way Jarrettsville Elementry School district starts .5 miles away. Not a well thought out plan.
Where would you send the kids in the Valleybrook country club area? What ES the nearest ES is Joppatowne ES which is 6 miles away too. There are no Elementary schools in between. Additionally using drive times from map quest it takes 13 minutes to get to JOES and 10 to get to YBES!
BTW just calling a spade a spade!
KEEP THE FALLSTON COMMUNITY TOGETHER says
Wow I am guessing that you don’t even have any stakes in this redistricting, do you have kids leaving the school they have been attending in your community? Or are you a developer? Or even better you are on the board that made these great decisions?
Yes I do have a stake. I have a kid who will not be moved by this, even if she was I would understand why it is neccessary. additionally my wife is a teacher and may have to move schools as a result of this. No I was not choosen to be in the focus group. I am not a developer.
I suspect you are simply motivated to keep from seeing building in Fallston and believe that by preventing redistricting you will accomplish that goal. You do realize that temporary classrooms (trailers) cost more then using the empty classrooms that Jarretsville has. This means more money is not getting spent on kids. This hurts all children.
Additionally the kind people in the Jarrettsville PTA in anticipation of this spent money on promethean boards for all the classrooms including the empty ones that will soon be occupied. I also have not heard any of the folks who helped with this and got shifted to North Bend or Norrisville complain about it.
Yes, the Board has some elected members now. The Board wanted to wait until they were elected. Perhaps, O’Malley will appoint one of the winners to take over Robin Rich’s seat. Board members do not get paid and have very limited power. They rely on politicians to fund their requests. Board members who went through the secondary redidstricting, had enough. They were there like an umpire in a game, to be fair and make the best decisions they could.
I had emailed Mr. Woods and he really wants no involvement in this process. Here is his response, “Can you please tell me where you heard that I or the County Council has anything to do with redistricting?
I think someone has giving you some bad information. The county council has no authority over the school board or how they redistrict.
I will do what I can to help and answer any question I can, but you need to understand that the Harford County Council has no authority over the school board or the school system in Harford County. They have full authority and can redistrict the schools anyway they prefer. I would suggest you and any concerned citizen; not just parents; to contact our school board reps and the superintendent of school and express your frustration. Today I requested the superintendent’s office to update the information and inform everyone on the process and how to provide feedback. They informed me that they will have a new information page with a comment form on the web page tomorrow. If you would like please feel free to contact me anytime. Also I attach some information about the school board and their authority.”
In addition to everyone elses concerns about splitting up the community, I have additional concerns. YBES has before and after care and Jarrettsville does not. Are they going to offer this there? Also, working in the city, how is it going to be logistically possible to travel 8 miles north in the morning then back down to Stonewall to drop my 2 year old off and then drive to the city? Furthermore, how come they didn’t touch the residents down in Joppa and put them in Edgewood, Joppatown, Magnolia, etc. And what about those in Kingsville? Why aren’t they districting them to Baltimore County?
So Mr. Woods can not spell Joppatowne! I also think he failed to realize the Joppatowne and Riverside boundaries moved North!
I actually spelled Joppatowne wrong, not Mr. Joe. This point I was trying to make was why didn’t they redistrict those down in Joppa to the schools around route 40? Instead, they are taking a chuck of Fallston and moving them. Isn’t Edgewood schools closer to those on Singer Rd?
The did do redistricting in Joppatowne and those that live on singer road are closer to YBES then Edgewood ES.
On another note I ran across this old article. Perhaps we need to remember we get worked up all the time and hurt feelings. Did these kids in 1991 turn out OK?
Open Minded Dem says
Because schools in that area are already overcrowded. What gets under my skin about this whole issue is that they waited all of last and this year before discussing plans. If they truly wanted community involvement and input, they could have asked for it months ago.
As for Woods, no, he doesn’t have any say. But since he is supposed to represent the people of his district, he could certainly attend meetings and be available to provide information to residents and carry their concerns to the School Board. Not too much to ask.
First off they had no idea where to start because until last year they had no idea where and how many schools they where getting. At which point the focus groups started to set parameters with redistricting. Members got placed on STAC to assit in that. This is the plan that was devised. Now is the time to make thoughful and logical comments. Remember the goals where to 1) Define an area for Red Pump 2) eliminate over crowding at PMES and adjacent schools (of which YBES is one) 3) eliminate over crowding at Emmorton ES and 4) to keep neighborhoods together. Logical comments via the website or the public hearings are welcome but alterior motives and illogical “don’t move my child” syndrome is not. BTW in my dealings with people in the Fallston area during secondary redistricting they view the joppa area as “white trash” yes this is what was suggested as a reason to sign a petition to keep Fallston’s boundary as is. “To keep the white trash from Joppatowne out.” Sorry if my sympathy is non existent for the commmunity after having such members claim to represent them.
Do you mean the kids from Joppa that go to Fallston now? If so, we all know that parents would not stand for their children to be redistricted to Joppatowne or Edgewood! Heaven forbid!
And Kam, that’s not to say I don’t agree that moving them would make sense, just that you’ll notice that no students were redistricted from a non-route 40 school to a route 40 school (as far as I could tell). They could have really shifted things around as some of the Route 40 schools will still be way undercapacity (such as Edgewood Elem. – 57 percent of capacity AFTER redistricting!) but they knew how up in arms parents would get.
Edgewood ES has houses going up across the street as we speak not to mention the ones off Trimble road East of 24.
Kingsville is like Fallston, it is not incorporated. As such does not have definite boundaries. The U.S. Post Office has designated areas for into zip codes for delivery, etc. There are people who have Kingsville addresses, but live in Harford County. Do you consider everyone in the Fallston zip code part of your community?
I guess that you are not aware that there are two “parts” of Kingsville. Part 1 is in Harford County. Part 2 is in Baltimore County. As a child with an Uncle living on the Harford side of Kingsville, this was confusing to me. The Baltimore County side of Kingsville is districted for BALTIMORE County schools. And the same for the Harford County side.
Mr. Woods is smart enough to know there is a need for redistricting and it is not his job. He also knows that there are going to be upset people over this whole process. Talk to your Board representatives.
Why does almost every conversation on any of the topics involved on this site come back to Fallston? ..I’m sorry I thought this was a Harford County site..I have nothing against Fallston there are just other areas in this county….it’s always “their community at risk” their school at risk….
Why is choice allowed with so much of life, yet when it comes to schools it is not even up for debate with the exception of private school? I have the money to go just not into the religious aspect and I’m not a hypocrite.
because Fallston residents are vocal and want to remain isolated from anyone else
The person you need to thank for this mess is REPUBLICAN DICK SLUTZSKY form ABERDEEN.
He was the so called self proclaimed expert in education for the County council. He and Billy Boniface pushed the (BS) Boniface Slutzsky report on the council members and they bought it hook line and developers money!.
Oh BTW the extensive road work being done around the new school area is WAY more that the BS reported in their report. Again the taxpayers foot the bill for the developers..
Aside to that have you noticed all the new electrical infrastructure located at the high tension wire area along Rt 152? Hmm seems like they are putting in a whole lot of new power lines in for some reason! I am thinking just what we need the whole route 152 Fallston area is now going to be developed because of redistricting.
No, Dick Slutzky is not to blame for redistricting. He just made a bad decision, but redistricting needed to be done whether they built at Campus Hills area or at Red Pump. Yes, his facts were slanted. This is what happens when politicians get involved. Now, we have a BOE that is going to made up of elected (political) members. Watch out. We have replaced an appointed Board that did a responsible job with the best interests of the students, with a group that will be involved in the politics of their decisons.
Another Opinion says
The appointed Board members all made great decisions on everything including redisticting? Are you kidding me? They were ready to send over students from Fallston High School when Patterson Mill opened even though Be Air High School was under construction and they had no fields, portables, and an overall mess. Those students had already spent a year at Fallston. The appointed Board members answer as to why they were still going to make the students move was that they had already made that decision and they weren’t going to change it no matter what. They said if they changed it then they would be perceived as weak by the public even though what they were doing didn’t make sense and was not in the best interest of students. Dr. Haas was the one who decided to let the students remain at Fallston and the term “fluid movement of students” emerged as a new phrase in the school system vocabulary.
This is not heresay. This is what happened.
How many Board meetings have you attended? See my response to Joe.
Another Opinion says
I have attended many Board meetings. There may have been a time when the appointed school board system worked but perhaps because of the people who came on the Board together it made for a very dysfunctional group. Once they are on and if there is no leadership on the Board, it can be a huge problem. Average citizens/parents have no say when that happens.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree. But I hope you don’t consider that your opinion is the only one the Board hears and has to deal with, do you? One thing I know is that the appointed BOE will make decisions-right or wrong- for the right reason and not for politics.
Another Opinion says
Maybe not for politics but for their egos. I know many people who have tried to talk to the appointed board members over the years and haven’t ever even gotten a response. There have been good board members and really bad ones. Regardless of what your opinion about the process, that is true. I have only ever asked for them to explain their decisions to the public and to provide transparency.
Another Opinion, and you think elected Board members won’t have ego? You don’t really think that do you?
you assume to much says
What do you know of the newly elected school board members? You make assumptions about their character and motivations without evidence to support your opinion. At least two of the three just elected have no previous political experience.
you assume too much,
This wasn’t an attack on any newly elected BOE member. It was a discussion about elected vs. appointed Board members. Obviously, you disagree. So be it, that’s your opinion and you can read mine.
I agree with you that eventually we will have some of these problems you speak of. I do think they will happen about 12-20 years from now. After the BOE becomes the stepping stone for county council.
First, I say kudos to D. Slutzky for uncovering the manipulation of the school board and D. Craig on the need and placement for schools. I’m not in Slutzky’s district but he brought many things to light in his research and fortunately B. Bonface and J. McMahon and others backed him. I voted to re-elect D. Craig but this whole deal was not his finest hour/moment. And by the way yelling that Mr. Slutzky is a Repub has nothing to do with it. Good Council work would say it all should have been brought to light no matter what. My preference is that the county council should all be non-partisan – Maryland is way too partisian.
Fallston folks sooner or later your little community is going to get broken up a little and not every kids will be in the same school, it’s just the growth we accepted when our leaders said yes we want BRAC to bring us jobs. Good decision (?)- depends on your priortities. Your time for real foresight was when everyone was gaga for BRAC jobs. You should have seen this coming, many others saw these kinds of situations developing as a result of growth (there will be change, we hope not too painful). Just wait another 5 years until the middle school redistrict (or high school redistrict if that is next). Then a decision will have to be made about Bel Air and Patterson Mill Middle schools. And auxiliary questions like should P. Mill stay a high school or only be a high school. So stand by, elememtary school kisds are very resilient but high school and middle school less so – then what?
Me thinks that someone at school district HQ tried to get this building program going last year before he had to lead the school district advisory committee on redistircting so his job would be easier.
Think ahead people.
Dick Sltuzky forced the building of a school that cost the same as the other building would have but in a location that was development friendly. It costs the county more money as the state will not help fund that one but would have helped fund the other one. So essentially he cost the county more money. WHile being lest then truthful about his figures. Either he did so on purpose which makes him a liar or he was to ignorant which makes him incompetent.
But he didn’t cause redistricting. This has been needed for some time.
Not because of that. He caused redistricting in the sense that everyone else and him in the zoning process has been building with no regard for planning or consequences. I do not hold him responsible for redistricting I hold him responsible for the need to spend more money on a school and making the process harder since building commenced on houses before the school was built.
Joe, what school board manipulation are you talking about?
The decisions by the appointed Board of Ed have all been non-decisions. They do what the Supt of Schools tells them to do. God Bless the Board members past and present and future for all the time they put in. In the past and currently they are just a stamp of approval.
-What did they do on block schedule?
-Did you see any creativity and pre-planning on new school construction since 1986 (when building permits skyrocketed in Harford Cty)as to location of the high schools or middle schools that we suddenly had to rebuild in the last decade?
-The split school that is Patterson Mill and the poor design.
-During the N. Harford HS rebuild the statements that we will never do this to students (leave them in place) while we rebuild and then we did it all over again at Bel Air.
-The denial to N. Harford parents from school system leaders about the deficient condition of the HVAC systems at the elementary (or was it middle too) school.
-The way under performing approach to the school district HQ building that got wedged in downtown. And unfortunately for the employees who have now also been wedged in and filled a new building and we have not provided flexibility left for the future.
That is more than a handful for you to ponder about all the great appointed boards for things that fall on their agenda and at their level of the doorstep and it could go on.
I just hope the elected Bd approach will succeed – it can do no worse.
Joe, Does this include firing the Supt. of Schools. The appointed boards have made many decisions, I don’t know what a non-decision is. They have made decisions that do not generate the controversy of redistricting. Is that what you are talking about? I know that education receives the largest part of our tax money in the county, but it is financed by the elected leaders. As far as planning, you are wrong. The question is will the county council, executive fund any new school. Secondly, the state has to approve any school built, unless the County pays for it completely themselves. The state will not approve a future school that can’t be documented at the time with attendance to fill it. Even though, that puts school construction behind. There also has to be an Executive and Council that will spend the money. County Executive Harkins came in already behind the 8 ball on not only new school construction, but school renovation as well. Now, he bit the bullet and began the process. County Executive Craig did likewise to meet the needs. They have all taken heat for doing this and have been labeled by some Republicsns as Big Spenders and RINO’s. Put this kind of pressure on elected members of the Board and watch what happens-no controversial decisions. I can address every item on your list, and I will if you really want me to. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. You need to read more and then you wouldn’t say “I hope the elected bd will succeed-it can do no worse.” Just wait and see. The appointed board is an impartial group for the entire county’s schools and youth. You won’t be saying that about a basically elected board concerned with their district. Let me know if you want me to respond to each of your listed items.
I would like to see you address every issue that Joe brought up. You sound like someone who is currently or formerly on the school board. Very defensive. You have some very valid points and you sound like this is something you have personal experience with. I am not being saracastic – I want to hear them.
I have never served on the Board of Education, but I have attended almost all of their meetings, work sessions for about 6 years. Now to give you Joe’s list:
block schedule- this is a very controversial decision that they made-I agree, however it was made after a lot of study and discussion. It was part of the secondary school reform and it was based on research and endorsed by the Director of Secondary Education. Now, is it a good thing? I have many friends who say NO, and these are teachers. I have also heard from students that aren’t happy either. But, I have heard from sone who are. Now my information from these people is not scientific obviously, and I am not supporting or condemning the block scheduling. However that decision was made with study and wanting to do the best job for our students. Time will tell if this was best. You can get a copy of all of the intems (of which, block scheduling is just one) and the rationale of Secondary School Reform from the HCPS.
Patterson Mill- it is a middle and a high school because that is what money would provide. We need relief in the Bel Air area middle schools as well, and so the idea was to build the combination middle and high school. Future plans call for that to become a high school only, and a new middle school be built somewhere else. Obviously, the economy is not going to permit that anytime soon. Joe’s statement that the school’s design is poor is his opinion, not mine. I toured the building under construction and toured it again when it opened. I see no poor design.
Building North Harford High School around the students- this was an attempt by the Board to placate numerous people who wanted to preserve the old NHHS for sentimental reasons, plus they already had the land. So, they built the school around the students, section by section. Was it a good idea- in light of all of the complaints you would think not. I don’t hear anyone complaining about the school today. There was no place to send the students while the school was being built. So, the Board made the decision. JOE’s comment about doing it again at Bel Air couldn’t be more wrong. They built the new school on a different location on the Bel Air High School campus. They could keep the students in the old building until the new one was built. They couldn’t do this at NHHS because there are wet lands at the back of the school, so they had to put the new school in basically the same place.
HVAC/Water/Septic problems at NHMS- because this school had been built in an area where there was no public water of sewage, it had a well and its own septic. That is not ideal. However, the septic was being pumped very frequently, and the water was being monitored. The water, many times had a bad taste to it, but was safe to drink. The Board allowed bottled water to be brought in for the kids to drink. The septic issue has been handled by a modern sytem at NHHS in which NHMS and NHES are tied in with. The AC/heating was dealt with also by the Board. In fact, I attended a parent meeting there twice as members of the county government, and HVAC experts were explaining the situation and what was done to make sure everything was safe.
School headquarters building- I don’t know what Joe is talking about. That facility was built as a buy-lease facilty that the BOE will own. It saves the taxpayers a lot of money. This replaced old buildings that spread staff all over the town, and that we had to pay rent for. This truly was a highly responsible action on the part of the BOE. Schools cannot be built this way unfortunately because the state will not allow it.
I can elaborate further on each of these items or others if you wish. As I said before I did not serve on the Board, but have observed it for years. I am sorry if I seem defensive, but it really bothers me when someone comes on and states a bunch of bull that isn’t true. Is or has the appointed BOE always been correct in their decisions? Of course not, but they have made decisions in what they consider to be the best for all of the youth in Harford County without having ulterior motives. I worry a great deal about futue decisions being made by elected members from councilmanic districts. The schools serve everyone in Harford County.
Big Bill says
did I address what you wanted?
Big Bill or Monster:
Thank you for explaining your opinions. I guess everyone has a different perspective and you gave yours. I am assuming you worked/work for HCPS. My experience with HCPS has been mixed and most of the good experiences have been with teachers and the school community. As far as I am concerned, that is what makes some schools better than others so I understand why some parents are worried about their kids moving. Schools are not all equal.
Joe, get your facts correct. I never said they made perfect decisions.
you assume to much says
I agree with Joe. Many prior BOE decisions have been mistakes with students, parents, and taxpayers paying the price.
You can agree with whomever you want. You had many incorrect facts and if you read my post, I tried to straighten them out. But you illustrate something very clearly- when it comes to redistricting you aren’t going to have your mind changed. I just hope you remember this down the road.
I am sorry about the second name. I am posting on another site and forgot who I was. I find it interesting that you assume that I worked for the HCPS. Is that because I set the record straight on what Joe was saying? Any citizen that paid attention could have done the same thing. Unfortunately, they don’t pay attention and are the victims of false information, theories and rumors. That is not to say that may opposition to the elected Board is the right answer, and theirs is wrong. But they need to view things with an open mind. You mention that you understand their concern over being moved. So do I. Does that translate into the elected Board will do whatever I want? If they think so, they may be surprised. My guess is that once the Board is mostly elected, they will avoid controversial decisions. Of course, I would rather them avoid them then make them for the wrong reasons. I look at a lot of our elected legislative bodies, and really don’t want education and our students to become pawns.
The Quiet Man says
Some of what is being said here has some truth to it. But for the most part none of you have a clue as to what you are talking about.To Joe above you should do a little research before wasting everyones time typing that dribble.
and you are correct, sir.
Jim Wilson says
Ever watch the county council? State legislature? Congress? You want our schools run like that?
you assume to much says
That is why it is incumbent upon the voters to educate themselves about the candidates running for school board offices. The election could actually get more people to be engaged in what is happening in our schools. Without the vote most were just uninformed because they had no need to keep abreast of the doings of the school system.
Now I see why you call yourself that. Do you really believe that?
Bryan King says
Isn’t it surprising how this information was withheld until after the election? No, I guess not. Luckily my children aren’t effected but a large number of active PTA families are having their kids put on a bus to Joppatowne Elementary rather than walk to Riverside while some kids from Edgewood that currently go to Magnolia are being bussed to Riverside. It doesn’t seen to make sense.