From Harford County Government:
At a press conference in Bel Air this morning, Harford County Executive David R. Craig, joined by Superintendent of Schools Robert M. Tomback, as well as members of the County Council and Board of Education, announced that for the first time in two decades, the county now has no schools that exceed the Adequate Public Facilities capacity standard of 110 percent.
“This achievement has been a long time coming, and is the result of the determination and the cooperation of Harford County Government and Harford County Public Schools to address and alleviate overcrowding,” stated County Executive Craig. “I identified this as a priority of my administration when I first took office, and with the support of the County Council, we forward-funded a number of school construction projects that helped make this possible. While less than one-quarter of the nearly $300 million that the county funded for the construction of five schools has been reimbursed by the state, we know that it is an investment in our children that was worth the cost.”
“The school system was integral in identifying and completing projects to build, expand, and improve school facilities in our county,” County Executive Craig continued. “Furthermore, the comprehensive redistricting that the school system undertook after the infrastructure improvements were made, while difficult, has allowed for our classroom resources to be utilized more effectively and has created the best possible learning environment for our children. I thank the Superintendent, the Board of Education, and the County Council for their efforts in working to eliminate overcrowding in our schools.”
In 2005, the Board of Education began several initiatives, with the support of County Government, to provide additional building capacity and to balance the enrollments in the school district. Decisions were made to build the new Patterson Mill Middle-High School at a capacity of 1,600, and to replace Aberdeen, North Harford, Bel Air, and Edgewood high schools at 1,600 capacities. Additional capacity was also provided with the replacement of Deerfield Elementary School, the modernization of Joppatowne Elementary School and the construction of the new Red Pump Elementary School.
Concurrent with those efforts, the Board of Education initiated a comprehensive secondary school redistricting program, followed by a comprehensive elementary school redistricting program. The successful results of those efforts provided long-term relief of overcrowded schools at all levels. A byproduct of those efforts helped eliminate the need for more than 90 percent of the 66 existing relocatable classrooms that were used for capacity positioned at many of Harford’s schools.
“The willingness of the County Executive and the County Council to forward-fund the new and replacement school buildings in Harford County allowed us to increase our State Rated Capacity by approximately 4,000 seats,” said Superintendent Robert M. Tomback. “With the additional seats, the Board was able to shift students throughout the county resulting in a successful balance utilizing all available capacity in the most efficient manner possible.”