Combining all revisions announced to date with a handful of minor adjustments, the Superintendent’s Technical Advisory Committee presented a final comprehensive elementary school redistricting proposal to the Harford County Board of Education during a board work session held on February 7 at Bel Air High School. The school board will review the plan for possible modifications before voting on February 28 to approve new elementary school attendance boundaries for the 2011-12 school year.
Affecting nearly all of the county’s 33 elementary schools, the final redistricting proposal moves just 14% of the total elementary population, according to Joseph P. Licata, HCPS chief of administration and chairman of STAC. The final plan also brings enrollment below capacity at all county elementary schools.
Grandfathering and Boundary Exceptions
Saying that his first reaction was not to allow grandfathering, Board Vice President Leonard Wheeler asked Superintendent Robert M. Tomback to make recommendations regarding the impact of allowing 4th and 5th graders to remain at their current school.
The cost of transportation associated with grandfathering was not included in the school board’s FY12 budget request, but was estimated by STAC Chairman Licata to be in the range of $130,000 to $160,000 to grandfather fifth graders only.
Tomback said he would prepare a matrix of pros and cons, along with recommendations for board members to review. Board Member Bob Frisch said that he was interested in proposals to help grandfathering move forward.
Regarding boundary exception requests, Board Member Frisch said that they would increase for childcare as a result of redistricting and “might cause us to have to look at our policy.” Frisch said later that if grandfathering was disallowed, the board might be more liberal in allowing for boundary exceptions. Board President Wolkow said that an implementation plan for boundary exceptions might be needed, not a change in policy.
The full STAC presentation, a chart including the latest utilization rates and links to the final proposed attendance area maps for all county elementary schools appear below. A final public hearing is scheduled for February 14 from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the HCPS A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. Public comment will also be accepted at the February 28 board business meeting where the redistricting vote will take place, but Board President Wolkow encouraged parents to make public comments or send email to board members prior to that evening at firstname.lastname@example.org