At some point after my article yesterday (“Two Options Abandoned In Overcrowding Update from Howard County Public School System“) the Howard County Public School System did provided an update on their website about this topic. You can find that update here: https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/2019/01/update-on-centennial-and-howard-high-school-overcrowding-options/. Here is the information on that page as of right now:

Update on Centennial and Howard High School Overcrowding Options

January 7th, 2019

After reviewing community feedback, HCPSS will allow students zoned for Centennial and Howard high schools to request reassignment to Glenelg or Marriotts Ridge high schools for the 2019-2020 school year through Policy 9000 Student Residency, Eligibility, Enrollment and Assignment procedures. Additionally, these students can pursue opportunities through Career Academies at the Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL), work-based options, and JumpStart dual enrollment options at Howard Community College or the ARL.

Reassigned students would be immediately eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics and other activities as members of the Glenelg or Marriotts Ridge community, as reassignment would fall under a Board of Education approved special exception. Families requesting reassignment would need to provide their own transportation to school. Students and families should email student_reassignment@hcpss.org for additional information.

Additionally, students zoned for Centennial and Howard high schools can choose to participate in academic programming opportunities. Based on interest, HCPSS may add sections of overenrolled courses at ARL. Additional sections of courses, including GT Intern/Mentor, Apprenticeship, Site-Based Work Experience and Work Release, may be offered at Centennial and Howard based on student interest. Through HCPSS JumpStart, students attend high school for one period per day and then spend the majority of the school day at Howard Community College. Rising 11th and 12th graders interested in enrolling in these courses can work with their school counselor.

HCPSS offered three community information sessions and online interest forms to welcome family and student input to best address school overcrowding. Other options that were under consideration proved to be financially infeasible due to low interest.

This update replaces the previous overcrowding options page that clearly provided the five options the school system was offering at the end of 2018 (read more here)…and now provides just text on the information or options available to students.

The key part of the statement above (to me) is the “low interest” comment in the final paragraph. I find that very interesting…and concerning…because this was the direction the HoCoBOE and the HCPSS went in…and it did not work…and we still have significant overcrowding issues for next year with no relief in sight at the moment.

According to the 2018 projected feasibility study some schools are going to be significantly overcrowded next year…here are the worst in terms of projected overcrowding per the report:

  • Howard (138.9%)
  • Centennial (128.3%)
  • Mt. Hebron (114.6%)
  • Hammond (112.8%)
  • Long Reach (112.4%)

Here is a series of articles I have written on the topic:

August 2018: Howard County Board Seeks Public Input on Options to Relieve High School Overcrowding

September 2018: Howard County Board of Education Votes 4 to 3 Against Redistricting in 2019

November 2018: HCPSS to hold meetings on overcrowding options for Howard and Centennial High Schools

January 2019: Two Options Abandoned In Overcrowding Update from Howard County Public School System

The big questions I have are…will the Howard County Board of Education actually take up redistricting considerations now that this past plan did not work? Will the four newly elected members work with the three other members and come up with a plan to address this issue? Will they skip redistricting again and look for other solutions…like they did this year? When will they start this process?

I will be reaching out to all seven members of the HoCoBOE in the near future for comments…and I look forward to hearing what they all have to say. Stay tuned…I will be working on that article soon.

Scott E

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