The Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) ended the final HCPSS redistricting work session last evening by taking straw votes on the plans for high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. All votes were approved 5 – 2 (voting Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Mavis Ellis, Jennifer Mallo, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu and voting Nay: Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small). Here is a video of the votes:

I have seen it reported that the plans will move “5,320 students for the 2020-21 academic year”.

One motion made last night could change the final numbers “Move to direct the Superintendent to provide costs for exempting rising 8th and 5th graders“. That motion passed 4-3 (voting Yea: Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Jennifer Mallo, Chao Wu and voting Nay: Kirsten A Coombs, Mavis Ellis, Sabina Taj). This is something to keep a close eye on before the final vote.

I very much hope we get the following well in advance of the final vote planned for November 21st:

  • New maps for high, middle and elementary schools based on what was decided in all of the work sessions.
  • A full listing of polygon moves between schools with number of students in each of those moves.
  • An updated listing of estimated capacity for each school.
  • An updated listing of estimated students on FARMs at each school.
  • An updated listing of feeds for each school.

Capacity, students receiving FARMs and feeds were all big discussion items throughout the work sessions and I look forward to seeing the final outcome on paper before the vote happens on Thursday.

Here is the HCPSS Boundary Review page: https://www.hcpss.org/school-planning/boundary-review/

Here is the page with a listing of motions and documents from the work session on November 18th:  https://go.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BGUNZQ620390

I was disappointed at the reaction of the crowd at the end of the session. I understand being frustrated at some proposed moves, I understand some were frustrated at the process…but we can be better than booing those elected officials that worked hard on this process. This was not the first time that the crowd in the work session has been less than civil…and we have to be better than that in public sessions.

I was also disappointed at the tone taken by some board members at times when addressing those in our community attending the sessions. I understand how frustrating this must have been for board members during the redistricting process but there were a couple of times that I thought the tone directed to those attending the session was a bit much.

Nothing about this process has been easy…but I think we all knew it was going to be difficult from the very beginning. I am not sure anyone thought it would be this divisive or difficult or get the kind of attention locally, regionally or nationally that it has received over the past many months.

I full well expect everything to pass on Thursday (based on the straw votes tonight) and we will need to move forward as a community.

As more information is released about the final plans I will be sure to follow up on the blog with that information.

Scott E

2 COMMENTS

  1. You are disappointed that the crowd booed the elected officials, who worked “hard”.

    You do realize that they worked hard on something that nobody wanted in the first place, right?

  2. Working hard at a destructive task doesn’t earn you accolades. The BOE had the opportunity to limit the disruption to students but chose to move over 5,000 students with a primary goal of meeting their ideals of integration. Once the housing market settles and prices adjust the same dividing lines will reassert themselves, we will just have longer bus rides to show for it.

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