This topic started floating around on social media yesterday and I thought it might make for a good article on the blog this morning. High School #14 (HS #14) will be something continued to be talked about locally for some time…especially with the significant overcrowding that still exists in some of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) high schools…even after the recent redistricting process. You can find the source of information for this blog post HERE. Here is part of the text of that post:
The following pages are handwritten notes from a meeting between Councilman Opel Jones & his staff (Michael Harris & Najee Bailey) with Superintendent Martirano, Jahantab Siddfiqui (HCPSS Chief Administrative Officer) and Scott Washington (HCPSS Acting Chief Operating Officer) at 4:00 PM on August 13, 2019, right before Councilman Jones held a press release for his CR-112 resolution with fellow Councilmembers Christiana Mercer-Rigby & Deb Jung.
Article Update: Councilmember Jones reached out with a couple of clarifying facts:
- He did not write the notes noted in this article (see below)
- He did not run the press release about CR-112…that was done by another Councilmember.
Here is the first graphic of hand written notes shared in that post:
The BIG thing that stood out to me after seeing the post and the notes was the mention of High School #14 (in the Questions & Answers section at the end of the notes)…and it being noted as “pushed back to 2028 due to lack of quantitative need in Elkridge”. Wow…want to upset a WHOLE lot of folks in Elkridge…say that in public at some point.
The question I have for everyone…what does “lack of quantitative need in Elkridge” mean and who made that statement / comment in order for it to be noted in the notes listed above? I am guessing this will be asked by many in our community. Will those that think “due to the lack of quantitative need in Elkridge” start advocating for a high school in another part of the county? One has to ask that question after seeing that statement in the notes.
This post has nothing to do with CR-112…this post has nothing to do with the past redistricting process…this is all about High School #14 and how we as a county are approaching it now and going forward.
So that is what we know from the notes at this point. Sticking with the HS #14 theme…I went and looked again at the FY2021 HCPSS Capital Budget document to see what it says about HS #14 and when it will begin to receive funding in the Long-Range Master Plan…nothing good to report in that document:
As you can see in that document there is no anticipated funding for HS #14 between 2021 and 2030…so pushed back to 2028 is maybe not correct…pushed back beyond 2030 might be the correct statement today based on the documents presented to the county from HCPSS and the Howard County Board of Education (yep…the HCPSS FY2021 capital budget was approved and sent forward with this page in it as far as I know).
Now in the FY2020 HCPSS capital budget document it is noted that HS #14 was on the list for funding to begin as early as 2024 and continue through 2029 and the meeting between Councilman Opel Jones and Superintendent Martirano did happen before the FY2021 document was completed (December 2019) so that is the difference in those notes and what I noted above (based on the information I have at hand today).
We know that County Executive Calvin Ball and his staff have continued to meet with community members about High School #14 (Howard County Government officials to meet with community advocates about High School 14) and the county continues to look for land for this high school (Progress on Identifying Location of High School #14 Continues as Environmental Assessment Study Released). So that progress has not stopped or been significantly delayed at this point.
Will there be money for this school in the short term…probably not…that is just me being realistic. Do we need this school…heck yeah we do for capacity reasons. Should it be in Elkridge…I think so.
I go back to the “lack of quantitative need in Elkridge” and really want to know who that statement came from? What is actually behind that statement? Who in that meeting is willing to make that statement in public?
This is now a question for candidates running for Howard County Board of Education in 2020 at future forums. You can bet I will be writing this on index cards handed out to the attendees at candidate forums…I hope you do as well.
I am going to be very interested in the thoughts from elected officials like Councilmembers Liz Walsh and Opel Jones, Maryland State Delegates Courtney Watson, Eric Ebersole, Jessica Feldmark and Terri Hill and Maryland State Senators Katie Fry Hester and Clarence Lam on this topic. I will keep an eye out in case any of those elected officials (or others) make statements about HS #14 in the near future.
Have your own thoughts on this topic…let me know in the comments.