The proposed changes to redistrict Loch Raven Village and bordering communities to Halstead Academy at the current Loch Raven rec council building will negatively impact our community for numerous reasons.
If the redistricting occurs, it is likely that the demographic shifts will force Pleasant Plains Elementary School to lose its Federal Title I funding due to a loss in diversity among students. The loss of funding will mean Pleasant Plains could become a greater economic burden to the school system, county and state.
But the proposed changes will not answer the real overcrowding needs. It is Rodgers Forge and West Towson that are experiencing overpopulation. Renovations need to be completed within those communities for their current enrollments.
The proposed changes will be an expensive outlay of Baltimore County's budget to deal with the previous site of Loch Raven Elementary School's asbestos, lead paint and even potential mold issues. Also, because the building has historic status, renovations would have to meet stringent historic standards and if not followed could likely result in legal challenges. The large capital expenditure would be better spent and have a greater effect within existing overcrowded schools.
Forcing an increased population on an already academically struggling school such as Halstead Academy is not fair to the existing students, teachers or staff and is not a recipe for success. Loch Raven Village and Loch Raven Heights residents have said that if the redistricting occurs, they would likely move farther into Towson, only further overpopulating Towson's elementary schools.
While the Board of Education prides itself in reaching out to the communities it serves, the fact is, that our community has not been represented. Neighboring communities knew of these changes in June. Parents of Pleasant Plains Elementary first learned of this in September. Also, Loch Raven Village Association did not receive any notice whatsoever of these potential changes nor provide them an opportunity for their concerns to be heard and considered for input.
Making large expenditures in the short-term such as a build-out at the current Loch Raven rec council will not have a large impact on the real overcrowding and will risk losing Title I status for Pleasant Plains Elementary.
Federal, state and county resources would be better used in making improvements where the actual overcrowding problems exist.
Loch Raven VillageCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun