The process of drawing attendance boundary lines for the new 700-seat elementary school currently under construction in Mays Chapel began Wednesday with the first of four meetings.
Representatives from 10 elementary schools, which compose the committee charged with developing possible redistricting scenarios, met at Cockeysville Middle School Oct. 16. No one was more ready to start the process than Steve Coco, principal of the new Timonium area school.
"I've been waiting for this night for months," Coco told the committee. "I couldn't be more excited to begin to develop an understanding of what our student population is going to be."
Lutherville Laboratory, Padonia International, Pinewood, Pot Spring, Riderwood, Timonium and Warren elementaries are represented by a principal, a staff member and a parent. Hampton, West Towson and Sparks have only a principal and a parent on the committee.
The meeting was led by Matt Cropper, project manager of the consulting group Cropper GIS, hired to help Baltimore County Public Schools with the redistricting process. Cropper outlined the county schools' standards for redistricting and also outlined a set of online mapping tools and resources that the committee would use.
Cropper said the second meeting on Oct. 30 would include a presentation with baseline scenarios generated by the county and the consultant to get the committee's "gut reaction" on the plans. For most of the following two meetings, on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, committee members would likely be working through drafts and scenarios of how the redistricting could go.
By the time the fourth meeting ends, Cropper said, the group should have a set of three or four draft options to bring to a public meeting scheduled for Dec. 11 at Dulaney High School. At that meeting, community members can see the draft plans and comment on them online afterward, he said.
The committee will reconvene in January to discuss the feedback, and ultimately pass a choice on to the Baltimore County School Board. According to a timeline put forth by Cropper, the board would then vote in March on the what the attendance boundary lines would be for new school zone. The new school is slated to open in August 2014.
All of the meetings are open to the public and the information from each meeting will be posted on the BCPS website shortly after each meeting. Beginning with the third meeting, the proceedings will be available via live-stream on the BCPS website. Those in attendance who aren't on the committee, however, may not participate in the discussion.
Cropper outlined some of the county's guidelines for redistricting, which is outlined in the BCPS Policy 1280. According to the policy, the committee should consider future enrollment projections and honor natural boundaries like roads and creeks, among other things.
During the presentation, Cropper stressed that the committee would try to minimize the impact to students.
"We want to try to keep it as minimal as possible and move as few students as possible to accomplish our objectives," Cropper said.
All meetings take place on Wednesdays and begin at 5:30 p.m. at Cockeysville Middle School, 10401 Greenside Drive. They are slated for Oct. 30, Nov. 13 and Nov. 20.
Below are the schools and their representatives who are a part of the committee:
Lutherville Laboratory Elementary School
Principal-Steve Buettner; teacher-Anne-Marie Kanwisher; PTA/parent-Kelly Ozbolt
Padonia Elementary School
Principal -Melissa DiDonato; teacher/staff -Reyes Vera; PTA/parent-Peter Fitton
Pinewood Elementary School
Principal-Franchesca Brown;teacher/staff-Sheldon Lebowitz; PTA/parent-Felicia Emry