A coalition of concerned citizens plans legal action to halt cuts in school bus service and the implementation of pay-to-play fees in the school year that begins Monday in Harford County Public Schools.
The system-wide cutbacks in school bus transportation and the new fees for students to participate in extra-curricular activities were approved by the Harford County Board of Education in June as a budget-balancing move for the fiscal year 2014 that began on July 1, 2013.
Edgewood Community Council President Jansen Robinson said on Friday that he is among the leaders in a group of more than 300 parents who believe the transportation cuts will be harmful to children. He said that the coalition leadership has contacted an attorney with plans to file for an injunction to halt the cuts. A meeting of interested citizens is planned for Tuesday that Robinson said will include the attorney and an outline of next steps. Additional meeting details appear below.
Regarding the pay-to-play fees, which were set by the School Board at $50 per sport and $25 per extra-curricular activity, Robinson said that he has also contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to determine if the fees violate Maryland’s constitutional provision for a free and adequate public education. He said that other Maryland public school systems charge the fees, but their constitutionality had not previously been challenged.
Below is the Tuesday meeting announcement:
ATTENTION PARENTS, TAXPAYERS, CONCERNED CITIZENS NEGATIVELY AFFECTED BY THE HARFORD COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION’S TRANSPORTATION POLICY
WHAT: SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION “ACTION” MEETING
WHEN: TUESDAY AUGUST 27, 2013
TIME: 6:30 PM
WHERE: HARFORD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE/SOUTHERN PRECINCT
1305 PULASKI HIGHWAY, EDGEWOOD MARYLAND 21040
PURPOSE: TO IDENTIFY HARFUL EFFECTS THIS POLICY WILL HAVE ON CHILDREN, AND OUTLINE OUR NEXT STEPS.
PLEASE DOCUMENT ANY/ALL HARMFUL EFFECTS THAT YOU BELIEVE OUR CHILDREN WILL SUFFER AND BRING THEM TO THE MEETING WITH YOU. WE WILL NOT WASTE ANY MORE TIME DEBATING THIS MATTER.