From Mary Archer:
I am writing you because of a letter I got from Harford County Public Schools. The gist of the letter, which is also available on the HCPS website under “Transportation”, is that my magnet school children will no longer be provided the transportation to and from school that they were promised when they applied for and were accepted to these programs. I have one child who is a junior at North Harford HS in the Natural Resources and Ag Science program, and one freshman in the Science and Math Academy at Aberdeen High School. This year, instead of my children being picked up at our home near Churchville, I must transport them to and from their “depot” bus stop at Havre de Grace HS. From there, their magnet school bus will take them to the magnet schools, and, at the end of the school day, will return them to Havre de Grace HS.
My husband and I both work till after 4PM. Schools dismiss at 2PM. My children have no way to get home from their “depot” bus stop that is about 20 minutes from our home. The “depot stop” is also in the opposite direction of both of their magnet schools and my place of employment. If fact, I would be driving past Aberdeen HS to get my child to the bus that will take her back to school! When I read the letter, I was instantly nauseated. We chose to allow our children to apply to these magnet schools, in part, because of the transportation. If I could drive my children to school, I would already be doing so. Like many parents, I have to work outside of the home and rely on the bus to get my children safely to and from school. I pay the same taxes as everybody else and now am being discriminated against because my children are enrolled in magnet schools. This situation will not only anger a bunch of parents (and cause some severe anxiety), but it will discourage students from applying to the magnet schools. Our children are being penalized for being bright and ambitious, wanting more that their home schools could offer them. They are being discriminated against because, at a young age, they already have an idea about what education they want and what career tract they are interested it.
This new policy affects hundreds of Harford County magnet school families, not to mention the bus companies that abruptly had bus routes cut. This impacts a lot of people and may force some children to withdraw from the magnet programs. I honestly don’t know what we are going to do if this doesn’t change. With only a little more than a month till school starts, this kind of drastic change is hard to deal with and took everyone by surprise. The School Board will be getting many complaints. We all want the money in the school budget to be spent wisely, but this is not the way to do it. They need to find another way.