There is one week until a final decision is scheduled to be made (November 21st) on the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) redistricting plans from the Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE). I kind of feel like the person in the photo above while trying to figure out where things stand right now in the process.

On November 5th the HoCoBOE made the decision / announcement not to share information relating to board member proposals on social media. It was stated that the repository of official information is BoardDocs and that we should use that resource for information going forward. I tell you I have tried…have you…feeling frustrated at the lack of information on that platform? I am.

Now the HCPSS website relating to School Boundary Review Process was updated with links to videos and documents related to the Board Public Work Sessions…that is a good thing. I wish it was updated this morning with the information from the work session yesterday…but I am sure it will be at some point today.

I guess if you have a spare 4, 6 or 8 hours (depending on the session) you could watch every second of every meeting relating to the decisions and get a general idea…I am betting most residents in our community do not have that kind of time…and yet they still are interested in how things are progressing forward…especially this late in the process.

We know some “polygons” that were slated to be moved may not be moved…it appears that some “polygons” that were not part of the “proposed plan” may be moved in the final decision. I am doing my best to track it all but I am finding it difficult with the information provided publicly from HCPSS and the HoCoBOE on BoardDocs.

I recognize and applaud all of the HoCoBOE members for the work they are doing to make the best decisions for our community. We all know that this is not an easy job. I just wish the school system could find a way to communicate decisions or proposals better than what I am seeing today. I think the last thing anyone wants is for the community to be surprised at the final decision(s) made or why those decisions were made regarding school boundaries in the future.

When this is all said and done we will be looking to do this again in a couple of years when High School #13 is ready to come online. I do not expect it to be a full redistricting plan like what we are seeing today but I do expect a modified version affecting multiple schools on the eastern side of the county. I hope the school system can adjust / improve their communication processes in order to better inform parents, students and the community.

Have thoughts…let me know in the comments.

Scott E

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for highlighting what the process has become. I recognize the BoE has a tough job, but even for someone actually watching and following the sessions it is very difficult to discern any coherent methodology in making these sweeping changes. This has now largely become a seat of the pants operation with moving goal posts and changes largely driven by how forcefully individual members of the board push for them. Moving up to half the students in several elementary schools in the last minute with many parents not even being aware or just becoming aware is not the sign of a healthy or even intact process. I am afraid a redistricting version of Beggar Thy Neighbor will become reality if they persist down this patch.

  2. My son ask me every few days where he’s going to go next year, he’s in eighth grade now. All I can tell him is, I don’t know. it’s frustrating, because the answer changes every time I hear a little bit of information dribble out of their meetings.

  3. This entire process has devolved into a mummer’s farce. The board working sessions are displays of unjustifiable guesswork in which Mallo and Wu preside over the random march of the polygon’s off the cliff. With the concerns of the West being effectively protected by their champion Delmont-Small, swaps take place between Glenelg (“won’t someone think of the toilets!”) and River Hill. The well off in Reservoir and Atholton get their River Hill life raft, and as sacrifice Atholton is rent into an unrecognizable pulp. A plan that somehow was supposed to address equity and capacity simultaneously addresses neither, further concentrating poverty at Oakland Mills, Wilde Lake, Hammond, and Long Reach and markedly increasing capacity utilization at these schools. No net relief happens in the East as, in Dr. Wu’s own words, problems for Howard are turned into problems for Long Reach.

    Marintino’s proposal was untenable, but to it’s credit, it was at least coherent and achieved it’s objectives. Instead we are left with a Frankenstein proposal stitched together from the bodies of the basest PTA politics the county could muster. Good job all, who knew we could put together a process that would make me pine the days of faceless but competent bureaucracy.

    • Brent – I have friends in Philly who are Mummers, do the parade every New Year’s Day. Comparing this process to mummers is an insult to mummers everywhere… 🙂

    • “The well off in Reservoir and Atholton get their River Hill life raft” This is an assumption and false narrative. I have written multiple letters begging not to be moved to RHHS. All of us opposed to this plan have had false accusations leveled against us. I dont think we should start leveling them against each other.

  4. This whole thing gives me a headache and bad taste in my mouth– even when it is over it will not be over. We need more qualified people making these big decisions as well as people who are beter at planning for the future of our County. This big fail is causing chaos among us and it’s just not fun for anyone.

  5. Thank you for a fair, coherent summary. As I’ve tried to follow along via BoardDocs over the past several days, there’s one word that consistently comes to mind as I see a year’s worth of prep being undone and redone over the final week: Haphazard

Comments are closed.